GF faces adversity in final game of year

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Going into Friday's final regular-season game of the year at Elkins, the Green Forest Tigers are extremely injury-plagued. Coach Bobby Bishop expects the Tigers will come ready to play, though.

"It is disappointing that we are finishing up the year the way we are in terms of injuries because we felt pretty fortunate going into about the eighth game," Bishop said. "We hadn't had any major contributors hurt and we have had about four of them hurt in the last couple weeks. We have a tough task ahead of us this week to survive the ballgame."

The Tigers scrimmaged Elkins (7-2, 5-1 3A-1) before the season started and Bishop said the Tigers learned a few things from that game, but also realized the Elks were going to be a good football team.

"They roughed us up pretty good," Bishop said. "They are really good in the pass game. They have some great skill kids. Some real fast kids who can catch the ball. Their sophomore quarterback (Quinn McClain) handles himself real well. He throws the ball well. They are just all-around a balanced football team."

Elkins is sitting at second place in the 3A-1 and Bishop expects the Elks to throw the ball all around the field. This will force the Tigers to make open field tackles, something Bishop said the Tigers have struggled with all year.

"They will be full time spread offense," Bishop said. "They try to stretch the field horizontally and vertically. If you lay back and try to protect against the deep ball, then they throw underneath and use their speed on bubble screens, quick slants and that type of stuff. You have to be a good defense to defend all that they are capable of doing."

Bishop said it would be great if the Tigers could end the year playing a fundamentally sound football game.

"Football is a different game than it was 30 or 40 years," Bishop said. "We have to take precautions to protect kids and the level of tackling has dropped and until they become accustomed to the shoulder level of tackling, they are going to struggle. You try to get better in space, get kids up on their toes in terms of balance. Not take head and shoulder fakes, but we are still doing a lot of that so we miss a lot of tackles. The biggest thing I see is we don't run our shoulder through the tackle. We are trying to hand tackle too much and that is just something that is going to have to be addressed with time and repetition."

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday in Elkins.

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