Tigers look to maintain momentum

Friday, October 3, 2014

Green Forest and Cedarville appear to be two teams heading in different directions.

Green Forest (1-3, 1-0 3A-1) went winless in nonconference play, capped by a 36-34 loss to Berryville in the Carroll County Super Bowl, then rebounded to defeat Marshall 41-14 in its conference opener last week. Cedarville, on the other hand, opened the season with a 42-14 victory over Mountainburg but since then has lost three consecutive games.

Still, Green Forest Coach Jay Martin is wary of the Pirates.

"They've got a lot of speed," Martin said. "In terms of skill positions, they are one of the more athletic teams in the conference."

One contributing factor in Cedarville's three-game losing streak has been the absence of starting quarterback Cruz Rhea, who suffered a knee injury against Mountainburg. There is a possibility Rhea will return this week. Martin said the Tigers have limited video of Rhea, which will present a challenge if he returns.

Even if Rhea doesn't play, Martin said his replacement, Abraham Hernandez, is also a dangerous player.

"He usually plays running back or receiver, but they put him in at quarterback when the other one isn't there and he is just extremely athletic," Martin said. "The kid can really run and makes good cuts. Either way they got a good option at quarterback."

Coach Jay Martin said practice has gone well this week, but he hopes that his scout-team offense has prepared his defense for Cedarville's offense because he says the Pirates will be the fastest offense the Tigers have seen all year.

Defensively, Martin expects Cedarville to load the box with eight players, much like other teams have done all year in hopes of stopping Green Forest's running attack that is led by quarterback Cory Bryant and running backs Carl Roberts and Nathaniel Harp.

Roberts has run for 396 yards and four touchdowns this season, while Bryant has 278 yards and six TDs and Harp has gained 188 yards and scored three touchdowns, including a kickoff return.

Martin said his team must be prepared to make adjustments if Cedarville slows down the Tigers' running game.

"It's conference season," Martin said. "You can throw a wrinkle in there every once in a while, but you got to do what you got do best. We aren't trying to surprise anyone right now."

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