Saints roll, but Tigers show 2nd-half moxie
Heading into last Friday’s game against Shiloh Christian in Springdale, Green Forest coach Greg Tibbitt emphasized the need for his team to get off to a good start against the defending Class 4A state champions.
It didn’t work out that way.
Shiloh grabbed momentum from the beginning, returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown and rolling to a 58-12 victory over the Tigers.
The Saints led 51-0 at halftime after a defensive lineman returned an interception 55 yards for a touchdown in the final minute of the second quarter — the Saints’ second interception return for a score in the first half.
“That was what we preached to them all week: ‘You just can’t have that kind of start.’ And that’s exactly what happened,” Tibbitt said. “We were down 23 or 24 to zero there early and we drove it all the way down to the 27-yard line. We felt like we had a really good drive and then we get a holding call that backs us up so we’ve got to do something different. And then we throw a pick-six the very next play and then it’s in the 30s and then it’s over.”
Still, Tibbitt found some positives in the lopsided loss: senior running back Barrett Phillips had 138 yards rushing and the Tigers actually outscored the Saints 12-7 in the second half with touchdown runs from Isaiah Fraga and Izaak Merida.
“We felt like we won the second half,” Tibbitt said. “And I’m not stupid. I know their twos and threes were out there. But our kids responded. We played well. We tried to focus on every little positive thing we could find and try to build on that for this stretch finishing out the season.”
Green Forest will host Gentry in Friday’s homecoming game at Tiger Stadium. The Pioneers are 5-0 after a 21-15 victory over Berryville last week.
“They’ve got the best record in the conference right now,” Tibbitt said. “They’re building on the success they had last year.”
Kickoff on Friday is scheduled for 7 p.m.