2012-10-18 / Sports

Tigers restore confidence in bounce-back win over Greene

TIGER RECEIVER MARK WHITE RUNS AFTER A CATCH He had three receptions against Greene County last Friday. TIGER RECEIVER MARK WHITE RUNS AFTER A CATCH He had three receptions against Greene County last Friday. A total of seven touchdowns were scored by the Washington-Wilkes Tigers against Greene County last Friday night and senior running back Jalen Turner scored five of them.

It’s been a dozen years, since the 2000 season when Daccus Turman scored five touchdowns, also against Greene County, since that feat was accomplished by a Tiger. Before that it was Jimmy Bowman in 1965, again versus Greene County; and Tom Nash in 1922 also against Greene County. (Johnny Gresham did it in 1959 but it was against Madison County and Turman scored seven touchdowns earlier in 2000 against Commerce.)

One of Turner’s touchdowns was a pass reception from quarterback Buck Robinson who completed nine of 11 passes in the game. The senior signal-caller also punched one over on the ground. The Tigers’ other touchdowns was made on another pass by Robinson to Treyvon Booker on a 26-yard strike in the third quarter. Jordan Hall booted six of seven PAT attempts to make the final score 48-0 – the same as when W-W beat Greene in 2000.

TIGER RUNNING BACK JALEN TURNER SCORED FIVE TIMES A rare feat equalled by only a few of the Tigers’ best. 
Photos by MERCER HARRIS TIGER RUNNING BACK JALEN TURNER SCORED FIVE TIMES A rare feat equalled by only a few of the Tigers’ best. Photos by MERCER HARRIS If anything can overshadow Turner’s magnificent feat, it would be The Tigers’ dramatic turn-around from the previous Friday night when they were embarrassed in Jefferson.

“It’s good to be on the right track again,” Head Coach Robby Robinson said. “I was glad that we came out and played from start to finish. We played with a lot of intensity and I was very pleased with our style of play, or effort, and our energy. It was an all-around good night for us.”

The coach added that the team’s enthusiasm was outstanding and the play was aggressive throughout the game. “I was glad to see that after our setback at Jefferson, last week,” he said.

But there is a puzzle. Except for that Jefferson game, the Tigers’ statistics are staggering, especially on defense, and among the very best in the state. Their play has been exemplary and intense in every game except Jefferson, when everything fell apart.

“What we’ve got to do as a coaching staff is to figure out how to keep from having a letdown like we did at Jefferson,” Robinson said. “How in the world have we played six games of great football and then for that one game, not even show up,” he wondered. “It doesn’t make any sense. We’ve got to figure out why so we can make sure it doesn’t happen any more.”

Robinson said preparations for Jefferson were the same as for all the other teams W-W has faced this year and the regular routines were all the same as well. “It’s just a mystery that we’ve got to solve. It wasn’t the fact that we got beat, it was the fact that we just weren’t there.

“It happened six times last year,” the coach continued. “We aren’t there yet. It’s still going to take some time to get that stuff out of our system. I just hope it doesn’t rear its ugly head any more this year.”

As for this year and this last game against Greene County, the Tigers ended up with over 400 yards of offense and the running game woke up as well. Robinson had been complaining that the running game was not where it needed to be for the past few weeks but with 248 yards rushing and an average of seven yards per carry, it is apparently back.

“Our offense scored in every quarter so we kept executing in all four quarters and we didn’t have any mental lapses or bad series like we’ve had recently,” Robinson observed.

In noticing the revival of the running game, Robinson pointed to the offensive line as one source of the success. He explained that last Friday night was the first time all season that the same five offensive linemen has started in back-to-back games. That’s due to injuries, and also due to injuries is the particular youth of the O-line – three sophomores, only one junior, and only one senior.

“You know, that’s where everything starts,” Robinson said of the offensive line. “That’s where your running game blocking starts as well as your passing game. If something goes wrong up there it makes everything look bad. Those young guys’ efforts have been outstanding and now that they’re going into their third game working together, they should start getting some continuity.”

The players the coach was bragging on included senior Alex Hackney, junior Darrell Ware, and sophomores Nikita Fair, Brannon James, and Brannon Saggus. He also tagged sophomore J.T. Smith as the go-to offensive line backup player.

Given the injury shakeup on the offensive line, it’s nice to report that there were no injuries in last week’s game with Greene.

The win over Greene at Tiger Stadium keeps alive the Tigers’ goal to be undefeated at home this year. It also guarantees the reaching of another goal, that of having a winning regular season. Still ahead are the promises of not only making it to post-season play but of hosting a playoff game.

“It was a big game for all those reasons and to prove to ourselves that we could have a bad night and then rebound the next week too,” Robinson commented. “So, the game proved a lot and accomplished a lot. We’ve just got to keep pressing forward.”

It didn’t hurt that the fan support was there as well and Robinson noticed that it was the best home crowd of the year. “It was big,” he said.

“And just getting our confidence back was big,” he added. “Greene was coming off a strong win and we were coming off of a devastating loss. We had a good week of practice but until we went out there and proved to ourselves that we could get back, we were a little antsy to see how we were going to respond.

“It was a good night,” he continued. “We didn’t have but two penalties all night and we didn’t have a turnover until right at the end of the game. We just executed all the way around.”

Coming up this Friday is another mega road trip into the mountains of Rabun County. It’s the end of that four-game stretch coaches and Tigers were so apprehensive about starting about a month ago which included the two very long road trips.

“We’re facing another tough opponent this week with another long road trip,” Robinson said. “Hopefully, after having the success that we had at Union County and with the distractions we had to face up there, we should be a little bit better prepared this week and know more of what to expect.”

The Rabun County Wildcats are 4-2 this year (2-1 in region play with a loss to Jefferson 7-55) and that is as many wins as they had in 2010 and 2011 combined “so they’re off to a good start,” Robinson said.

The Wildcats are expected to run the Spread on offense and they will run a 4-3 defense.

In closing up his comments, Robinson offered his thanks and congratulations to Belle Guin and Jac Dorminy “for the outstanding job they did with the homecoming parade, the festivities, and the bonfire. They did an awful, awful lot last week and they did a great job.”

Tigers vs. Greene Co.

First Downs 14 6
First Downs Rushing 9 1
Yards Rushing 248 9
Yards Passing 172 64
Passes 9-12-1 11-19-2
Total Yards 420 73
Punts/avg. 0/00.0 4/29.0
No. Penalties 2 6
Yds. Penalized 15 38
Fumbles/lost 1/0 2/2

Score by quarters
Tigers 14 13 14 7 - 48
GreeneCo. 0000-0

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