GF takes on unbeaten Pierce City

Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Green Forest's Jose Hernandez tries to break through a tackle in last Friday's game against Huntsville.
Charles Chappell /

Friday night will be the first time since 2013 that the Green Forest Tigers have played a team from outside the state when they host Pierce City, Mo.

"It should be a good ballgame," Bishop said. "I look forward to getting those guys coming down from across the line."

After a 27-3 home loss against Huntsville, Bishop admits practice leading up to the game against Pierce City hasn't been the best.

"It's been a little bit sporadic," Bishop said. "One practice will be pretty decent and the next practice will be kind of up and down. It's kind of frustrating. We are struggling in the passing game. We have spent a lot of time on that because we need to get a little better in that area, but I think our kids are still hungry. They are here. They are showing up and working hard. We just need to keep grinding it out and hopefully we will see some improvement Friday night."

Despite the up-and-down practices, Bishop said he has been impressed with some of the things he has seen this week.

"I feel like some of our receivers have stepped up and started catching the ball a little bit better," Bishop said. "Matt (Owens) has improved on his throwing. We have tried to give him some short game stuff. Some quick game stuff. Hopefully with improvement in both those areas, and clean up some miscues on the offensive line, we are going to be able to give Matt some more protection and give him a little bit more time to look down the field."

Last week, inside linebackers Bristol Bishop and Creel Roberts were the two leading tacklers for Green Forest. Bishop hopes to gain more depth defensively to take the weight off their shoulders.

"We are trying to work where we have six or seven guys we feel comfortable in the secondary with," Bishop said. "Up front, we felt like we played awful well. We are trying to get a little bit better on the outside and in the secondary."

Pierce City (3-0) has outscored its opponents by a combined score of 130-16. After watching the Eagles on film, Bishop knows they are a good football team.

"They are very skilled and I think they are going to be tough for us to beat," Bishop said. "They are going to be coming down here riding high because they are 3-0."

Bishop said one thing that makes the Eagles do dangerous is their ability to run so many different formations offensively.

"They run a good mix," Bishop said. "They will get in the wishbone one series and they might be in the split backs with twins off to one side or the other. And then you might see them get in the spread."

Bishop said Pierce City runs a similar defense to what Green Forest runs, which will hopefully give the Tigers an advantage.

"They are even front most of the time with a couple of aggressive linebackers," Bishop said. "They have some skill kids who, it looks like they have some pretty good speed on film. This has given us a little bit better picture throughout the week. Whenever you start your season, you start out working against your defense so we have seen a whole lot more even front than we have an odd front."

While coaching at East Newton High School, Bishop never coached against Pierce City, but now he will be going against one of his former coaches.

"Their defensive coordinator is a good friend of mine," Bishop said. "Gary Pendergraft was one of my assistant coaches at East Newton. We are excited about getting together and being on the opposite sides of things this time."

The main thing Bishop hopes to see on Friday is an improvement in the passing game.

"We felt like we ran the ball adequately last week," Bishop said. "I would like to see us break one or two so we could have some long runs, but we feel like we gave to get a whole lot better in the passing game and shore up a few things on defense."

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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