Late TD lifts Green Forest over West Fork

Tuesday, September 21, 2021
Green Forest senior Navor Perez runs the ball in a game against Cedarville earlier this season. Green Forest beat West Fork 14-7 last Friday for its first victory of the season. Green Forest will host Prairie Grove on Friday.
Charles Chappell /

Green Forest coach Greg Tibbitt believes the Tigers left some points on the field last Friday night at West Fork. Still, they scored enough to get their first victory of the season.

Junior quarterback Isaiah Fraga scored on a keeper late in the third quarter, then fired a two-point conversion pass to Joel Salgado. The Green Forest defense did the rest, with senior linebacker Bryan Soto intercepting a West Fork pass in the final minutes to preserve a 14-7 win.

“They were excited,” Tibbitt said of the Green Forest players. “We talked about finishing and we found a way to finish. That was a good thing for us.”

Green Forest dominated the game statistically. Senior running back Barrett Phillips ran for 139 yards on 31 carries, including an 8-yard touchdown run to cap Green Forest’s first possession. All told, Green Forest had 347 yards of total offense. Meanwhile, the Green Forest defense limited West Fork to 36 offensive snaps in the game.

Still, Green Forest couldn’t seem to pull away. West Fork led 7-6 before Fraga’s touchdown.

“We kept going up and down the field and we’d shoot ourselves in the foot,” Tibbitt said. “Just more little mistakes here and there.”

Defensively, however, Green Forest hasn’t made many mistakes so far this season. The Tigers’ opponents have scored just three touchdowns in two games — one on an interception return and another on a 15-yard drive set up by an interception.

“They had another great game,” Tibbitt said.

Green Forest will open 4A-1 conference play this week, hosting Prairie Grove. Coming off a 10-2 season, Prairie Grove is 2-1 this fall and Tibbitt said it’s a typical Prairie Grove team.

“They’ve got three good running backs,” he said. “I think they may be a little smaller up front, but they’re fundamentally sound. They’re going to be physical and have a really good running game.”

The conference schedule doesn’t do Green Forest any favors. After this week’s game against Prairie Grove, Green Forest will go on the road to face defending state champion Shiloh Christian in the second week of conference play.

“That’s the toughest thing about this conference schedule,” Tibbitt said. “You start with Prairie Grove and Shiloh back to back, but we’re just going to take it one game at a time and prepare this week and see what we can do with them.”

Kickoff Friday is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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