Better late than never: Green Forest claims 1-3A Conference crown after beating West Fork
GREEN FOREST -- It took 60 minutes on the clock for Green Forest to secure at least a share of the 1-3A Conference title Friday night as the Tigers beat West Fork 22-13 in front of a home crowd at Tiger Stadium.
It took another 15 minutes after the game to learn that the Tigers were conference champs when news of Greenland's 22-21 win over Elkins spread around the concourse surrounding the field house.
There were congratulatory hugs and pats on the back as the good news spread. But the Tigers still have work to do according to senior wide receiver Clayton Watson.
"We feel like if we don't undefeated then we haven't earned the conference championship," Watson said. "We are going to go into the last game and do our best to win."
Watson played a role in Friday's win with a catch for 51 yards and 51 yards on three rushing attempts. The All-Conference receiver has eight carries for 61 yards, 32 receptions for 637 yards and 12 touchdowns and 106 return yards, including a touchdown.
Senior quarterback Treyton Anderson completed 9-of-12 passes for 104 yards and added nine carries for 91 yards. Anderson has accumulated 1,736 total yards this year. He has completed 54-of-88 passes (61.3 percent) for 1,024 yards and 16 touchdowns while rushing 82 times for 712 yards and 14 scores.
The Tigers scored all 22 points in the first half and appeared to be on track for another mercy-rule performance against West Fork before the visiting Tigers applied second-half pressure with 13 points in the second half.
Watson opened the scoring with an 11-yard touchdown reception and Mackenzie Arciga followed with a 72-yard interception return for a touchdown with 6:53 left in the first period. Carl Roberts scampered in from 6-yards out for a 19-0 Green Forest lead at the end of the opening frame and Eric Perez kicked a 24-yard field goal at the end of the first half for the Tigers final points.
"We had too many penalties in the second half," Green Forest coach Jay Martin said. "But we ended that four quarters. We needed to have some adversity."
After offering little resistance in the first half, West Fork rallied in the second half with 13 unanswered points. The visiting Tigers failed to convert on an extra point with 3:56 left in the game to trail by two scores at nine points. Green Forest ran the clock out after Watson picked up 24 yards on a fourth-and-3 from midfield with just over a minute left on the clock.
Dalton Ewing led the Tigers on defense with 9.5 stops while Santiago Martinez added seven tackles and Cody Delozier tacked on 6.5.
The Tigers travel to Elkins this Friday before hosting a first-round playoff game next week.