Turnovers cost Green Forest in loss to Cedarville
GREEN FOREST -- You can only overcome so many mistakes in a game.
Green Forest made plenty of mistakes in a 42-34 home loss to Cedarville Friday night, giving the Pirates their first win of the season.
Trailing 35-28 with 4:40 remaining in the game, Green Forest had the ball at midfield. Green Forest running back Nathaniel Harp started the drive with a 14-yard run down the left sideline. A pass interference penalty on the next play gave Green Forest a first down at the Pirate 25. Quarterback Cory Bryant dropped back to pass on first down and when he saw that there was nobody open, he took off and ran in for the touchdown. The extra point failed, leaving Cedarville holding a 35-34 lead with 3:24 remaining.
The Tigers attempted an onside kick, but it was recovered by Cedarville at its own 43. On third and 6, Cruz Rhea found Dillon Strelow for a 47-yard pass to the Tiger 5 yard line. On the next play, Rhea kept it himself for the touchdown. The extra point made it 42-34 with 2:01 left.
The Cedarville kickoff went out of bounds, allowing Green Forest to start at its own 35. After Bryant scrambled for a first down at midfield, a pass was intercepted with 1:26 remaining. The Tigers were out of timeouts and the game was over.
"We reverted back to where we were at the beginning of the season," Green Forest coach Bobby Bishop said. "We had a lack of concentration, lack of focus and lack of attention to detail."
The Pirates opened the game with an onside kick that they recovered at the Green Forest 48. A 45-yard pass from Rhea to Strelow and a 3-yard touchdown run by Caleb Stockton put the Pirates ahead 7-0 with 11:41 left in the first quarter. Cedarville attempted a second onside kick. This time, sophomore defensive lineman Dakota Grigg got his hands on it and returned it for a touchdown. Edson Merida's extra point tied the game at 7-7 with 11:31 remaining in the opening quarter. Cedarville's Andrew Hernandez returned the ensuing Green Forest kickoff to the Tiger 46. A six-play drive was capped with an 8-yard touchdown run by Stockton, giving the Pirates a 14-7 lead.
"That kind of quick action can be fun to watch as a fan, but as a coach, you are looking for the defense," Bishop said.
Cedarville wasn't done attempting onside kicks, but Grigg fell on top of it once again, this time at the Green Forest 39. On the first play of the drive, Carl Roberts broke loose for a 61-yard touchdown run. Merida's extra point tied the game at 14 with 9:41 left in the first quarter.
After Cedarville went three-and-out on its next possession, the Tigers got the ball at the Cedarville 48. The Tigers drove to the Cedarville 8, but Bryant threw an interception on third and goal with 4:51 left in the first quarter. Cedarville was forced to punt again and Roberts returned the punt to the Pirate 16. On the last play of the first quarter, Roberts scored from 6 yards out. Merida's extra point put Green Forest ahead 21-14.
After Green Forest was unable to capitalize off a Baylor Deislinger interception, Cedarville received the ball at its own 30 and went on a nine-play scoring drive. Rhea scored on a 13-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 21 with 6:26 left in the second quarter.
The Green Forest defense stopped Rhea on fourth down coming out of halftime and the offense took advantage as Dalton Anglin plowed through the middle for a 23-yard touchdown. Merida's extra point made it 28-21. With 6:15 remaining in the third quarter, Bishop decided to keep the offense on the field on fourth and two. Bryant was sacked for a loss and the Pirates took over at the Tiger 42. Rhea methodically moved his team down the field and found Strelow for an 11-yard touchdown with 1:12 left in the third quarter. The extra point tied the game at 28. Roberts fumbled the kickoff and Cedarville recovered.
"We have to learn to hang on to the ball," Bishop said. "That's all there is to say there."
The Pirates had the ball at the Tiger 42. On a drive in which the Pirates converted a third-and-five and fourth-and-nine, Rhea kept it for a five-yard touchdown run to take a 35-28 lead.
"We were outplayed in all three phases tonight," Bishop said. "Our defense was not good. Our offensive execution was good at times, but not good enough, and the kicking game, they whipped us in that as well."
While Bishop admits this is a setback, he said it is important to keep things in perspective.
"I am extremely disappointed, but it isn't the end of the season," Bishop said. "We are halfway through and not where we want to be. All I know to do is go to work and try to get better. It's a process. You hate to take a step back and we definitely did that tonight, but in order to get better we have to quit shooting ourselves in the foot."
Roberts had 121 yards on 14 carries for two touchdowns and Bryant had 62 yards on nine carries and a touchdown. Creel Roberts had 14 tackles while Dalton Anglin had 12 and Trace DeLozier had 11. Deislinger had an interception.
Green Forest (2-3, 1-1 3A-1) travels to Yellville-Summit (0-5, 0-2 3A-1) on Friday.