Tigers fall to Greenback

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By The Staff

Sunbright head coach Chris Shillings gave a simple explanation for the Tigers’ 48-0 loss to the Greenback Cherokees on Friday night.

“We turned the ball over too much, made too many mistakes early on and dug a hole that we couldn’t come out of,” Shillings said.

Greenback (2-0) took the ball near midfield on its first offensive possession after a Sunbright (1-1) squib kick and scored on a three-yard run by Josh Edwards.

After a Sunbright fumble on the ensuing kickoff that was recovered by the Cherokees, Greenback took a 14-0 lead on a two-yard run by Breeden Gilbert. Josh Edwards scored again from five yards out as the clock expired on the first quarter, giving the Cherokees a 21-0 advantage heading into the second.

Sunbright fumbled on its opening possession of the second quarter and the ball was recovered by Greenback. Quarterback Bryce Hanley connected with Cole Riddle for a 17-yard touchdown, notching a 28-0 Cherokee lead.

Another Cherokee touchdown with a missed extra point gave Greenback a 34-0 advantage going into halftime, and two more scores put the Cherokees ahead 48-0 by the end of the third quarter.

Neither team scored during the fourth quarter as a running clock was employed for most of the second half.

Sunbright fumbled the ball three times during Friday’s game, including two on kickoff returns. The Tigers’ defense did force a turnover itself, however, intercepting a Greenback pass during the first quarter.

Despite the loss, Shillings praised his team’s running game, as well as its mindset during and after the matchup against Greenback, who was the 1A state championship runner up last season.

“I was pleased with our ground game,” Shillings said. “We moved the ball a little bit. We just didn’t capitalize on it.

“They knew that they could play with (Greenback) a little bit. So I saw a great improvement on that.”

Shillings credited the play of starting quarterback Thomas Hall and backup Levi Daniel so far this season. Both players are capable of managing Sunbright’s offense and are considered viable options at the signal caller position by Shillings.

“Thomas is right now running the offense, but both of them played really well,” Shillings said. “They’re going to get better and better each week as we run our offense.”

The loss on Friday gives the Tigers a 1-1 record heading into the fourth week of the regular season. Sunbright defeated Sale Creek 34-7 on Aug. 17, then took the next Friday off with a bye week.

The Tigers will travel to Coalfield on Sept. 8 to face off against the Yellow Jackets. Coalfield is 3-0 on the season, having started out the year with a dominant 70-0 defeat of the Wartburg Bulldogs and victories against York Institute and Harriman.

“They’re (an) explosive ball club,” Shillings said. “You’ve got to play physical in the trenches and take control of the game and the clock.”