Loss helps Bishop see what Tigers need to work on

Friday, September 8, 2017
Green Forest's Jordan Zepeda tries to break free of a Huntsville defender in last Friday's game.
Charles Chappell / www.PhotoShelter.com

The Green Forest Tigers started Friday night's 27-3 home loss to Huntsville with consecutive false start penalties and ended it with an interception that was returned for a touchdown. Even with some of those mistakes on Friday night, coach Bobby Bishop was pleased with some of the things he saw.

"There was a lot of positives to take away from this game," Bishop said. "I am disappointed. I think the kids are disappointed, but we played well. We ran the ball. We just got ourselves in a situation where we had to throw the ball and we aren't there yet in the pass game and it showed."

The Eagles led 13-3 going into the fourth quarter, but Huntsville's Sean McCone threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Welch to open up the quarter, giving the Eagles a 20-3 lead.

"They ran a route where they squatted a guy in front of our corner and ran a guy past him," Bishop said. "He squatted with the guy on the short route and they went right over the top of us. It was just one of those things where we failed to take care of our responsibility. We have to learn from it and try not to let it happen again."

On the ensuing Green Forest possession, the Tigers moved their way to the Huntsville 30. Jose Hernandez caught a pass from quarterback Matt Owens for 14 yards and had a run for 10 yards. However, the drive stalled and resulted in a turnover on downs. Green Forest finished with 145 yards rushing. Hernandez rushed for 100 yards and Jordan Zepeda added 50 yards.

"Jose had an outstanding job carrying the football," Bishop said. "He slipped through there a number of times. We knew he was capable of doing that. He is our senior in the backfield and he is going to touch the ball. Jose isn't gifted with much size or a great deal of speed, but he is quick. And he is very, very tough."

After Green Forest was forced to punt on its opening possession, the Eagles went on a seven-play, 62-yard drive that finished with McCone throwing an 18-yard touchdown pass to Zack Elsey. The extra point by Miles Prue gave Huntsville a 7-0 lead with 6:54 remaining in the first quarter.

Later in the quarter, Green Forest attempted to go for it on fourth down, but offensive pass interference gave the ball back to Huntsville.

"We knew that we had the potential to struggle in the pass game," Bishop said. "Our receivers aren't gifted with great hands and we have to develop that and the only way to correct that is to continue to practice. Matt let some throws get away from him, but there were a lot that were dropped, too. The biggest thing is that we have to do is give Matt a little more time. Our protection in the pass game isn't good. We will start to address that come Monday."

The first quarter came to a close with Green Forest controlling the ball once again. The Tigers went on a 17-play, 78-yard drive that resulted in a 28-yard field goal by Edson Merida with 4:23 remaining in the first half.

Huntsville received the ball to start the second half at the Eagle 30. A 25-yard pass to Welch moved the ball to the Green Forest 32 and Elsey scored from 25 yards out to give Huntsville a 13-3 lead with 7:12 to go in the third quarter. Green Forest's Anthony Castillo blocked the extra-point attempt.

Defensively, Bristol Bishop had 11 tackles for Green Forest, while Creel Roberts had 10 and Dakota Grigg had eight. Braden Smith had two passes defended.

On Friday, Green Forest hosts Pierce City, Mo. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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