2017-08-31 / Sports

Tigers open season with impressive win over Elbert


The Tiger defensive line kept pressure on the quarterback, and all other ball carriers too, as they held Elbert to less than 100 yards rushing. The Tiger defensive line kept pressure on the quarterback, and all other ball carriers too, as they held Elbert to less than 100 yards rushing. It’s virtually impossible to choose the most exciting aspect of last Friday’s season opening win over the Elbert County Blue Devils. In the first game of the 2017 football season, the new Tigers under the leadership of new head coach Chad Alligood, with a new attitude, a new motto, a new discipline, and a new culture took charge of the game from the very beginning. There weren’t many hiccups – and remember, it was the first game of the season.

It was exciting at the end, too, when everyone realized that the Tigers had just played an entire first game of the season with no penalties – that’s zero yards penalized. No holding, no jumping offsides, no blocks in the back, no nothing. Penalty free in a first game is unheard of and that speaks to the new discipline of the team.


Dmytri Wiggs goes right as Brock Jackson helps clear the way. Dmytri Wiggs goes right as Brock Jackson helps clear the way. It was exciting when Elbert County drove down deep in Tiger territory and the defense held tough forcing a field goal attempt. The Devils lined up to kick and the Tigers blocked it, Terrell Turner scooped it up and ran (see photo on page 1) some 75 yards to set up the first W-W touchdown.

It was exciting when freshman, yes, freshman Corey Danner raced 65 yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter.

It was exciting when the Tigers were up by two touchdowns in the waning minutes of the first half when they got the ball back and ran a perfectly executed “flea flicker” play that put Raekwon Binns in the end zone probably essentially breaking Elbert’s back.

The excitement continued in the second half with Elbert all set to receive the kickoff and W-W, in another perfect execution, recovered an onsides kick.


Malik Hall scores for the Tigers in the fourth quarter. He scored twice for W-W against Elbert County. Malik Hall scores for the Tigers in the fourth quarter. He scored twice for W-W against Elbert County. Throughout the game, it was exciting to see the defense “flying around” and running to the ball with multiple Tigers involved in almost every tackle.

It was especially exciting to see so many Tiger fans in the stands, engaged in the game, cheering their team on. They were vocal and positive and doubtless made a huge impact on the success of their team.

But now all that excitement has to make way for getting serious about this Friday’s opponent, West Hall. The Spartans are 1-1 so far with one extra game under their belts as compared with W-W. They won big last weekend, 59-6 over their rival, Johnson. The previous week they lost to Gainesville, 20-0.

Last year, in Tiger Stadium, West Hall defeated Washington-Wilkes 10-0.

“They are a little different from what they were last year because they lost a lot of seniors,” Alligood reported, adding that the Spartans are really well-coached.

“The big test is that now we’re going to be riding for two hours. We’ll get out of our routine just a little bit,” the coach said.

He went on to indicate how he wants his players to see the bigger picture. “We’re trying to get them to understand that we didn’t start all this to beat Elberton. Elberton was just in the way of our goal and now West Hall is in the way.”

Alligood predicts that West Hall is going to just line up and run the football. “They are a little bit like Elberton and they are a little bit like us, too,” he said. “They will run the option some.”

Fans will remember how quickly the Elbert County game went and Alligood thinks the West Hall game may go even quicker because of the running game.


The W-W Tigers and coaching staff were especially appreciative of the tremendous turnout of fans and supporters who filled the visitors’ side of the Granite Bowl in Elberton. The W-W Tigers and coaching staff were especially appreciative of the tremendous turnout of fans and supporters who filled the visitors’ side of the Granite Bowl in Elberton. “The possessions are going to be limited and we’ve got to take advan tage of it and we’ve got to protect the football,” he continued. “If there’s one improvement I want to see, it is taking care of the football.” That came on the heels of three fumbles, two of which were lost, in the Elbert County game.

Game time at West Hall is 7:30 p.m.

In his comments on the Elbert County game, Alligood was generally pleased with his team’s play and the outcome of the game, but that was qualified by the fact that it was the first game of the season.

“We still can play so much better,” he said. “I’m such a perfectionist … yeah, we won, but we’re still nowhere near where we need to be. Nowhere close.”


Raekwon Binns gives a Blue Devil one last shove as he sprints across the goal line on the flea-flicker. Raekwon Binns gives a Blue Devil one last shove as he sprints across the goal line on the flea-flicker. He was proud that the Tigers had no called penalties but when the flea-flicker play worked so well and Binns sprinted into the end zone, Alligood couldn’t help himself and ran out onto the field (well behind the play) cheering in excitement. The ref threw a yellow flag on the ground.

“I’m the only one who got a penalty, dadgummit,” Alligood said. “It was just a sideline warning but I took some ribbing on that. You preach discipline and all that and then you’re the only one to draw a flag,” he quipped.

But discipline is what the coaches have been preaching, telling the Tigers to just play between the whistles and play disciplined football. Their performance in Elberton bore it out. “That’s just a testament to how hard those kids have worked at trying to understand what we’re trying to do,” Alligood said. “I was pleasantly pleased with that.”

He said he was also pleased with the officiating crew; an unusual thing for a coach to say. “They let us play and they probably could have called some holding on both of us,” he admitted. “The White Hat told me before the game that ‘we’re here to make sure there’s a good football game. We’re not here just to throw flags, we just want to see a good football game.’ So I knew then that they were going to be a pretty good crew.”

Concerning that beautiful flea-flicker trick play, Alligood said it’s something that can be used only a few times in a season and you have to wait for the perfect storm for when to throw it. That perfect storm hit in Elberton and the Tigers’ execution was flawless.

“[Deondre] Lester did a good job of avoiding the defender but he took a shot as soon as he threw it,” Alligood remembered. That was a well-executed play and you have just one time a game on those. You’ve got to make them count.” It counted all right and it put Elbert in the fieldhouse at halftime shut out at 20-0.

Throughout the game, the Tiger defense stuck to the game plan.

“We had to come out on defense and stop the run,” Alligood said. And indeed they did. The Blue Devils ended up with only 64 yards rushing in the entire game, compared with the Tigers’ 264, more than quadruple the number. “If we could turn Elberton into a one-dimensional team, where they had to throw the ball, then we could win the ball game.” And that’s just how it worked out.

In other comments, Alligood said, “We’ve got to get to the point where winning is what you’re supposed to do. I don’t care who we’re playing or what classification, we are supposed to win. Trying to get that mindset into the players is huge. Winning that game was huge and it validates some of the things we’re doing in some people’s minds.”

On the defensive line, W-W played about 10 guys up front and showed much improvement from Hart County to Elbert County. “They worked really hard just playing with better technique,” Alligood said. “Those guys improved the most of any position. But even they still have a long way to go.”

Pressed to pick a standout player, Alligood said it would have to be Turner. “I just thought he played a great ball game all the way around. He really flew around and did exactly what we needed him to do.”

On offense the coach said the Tigers played really well up front although not the whole ball game. “For the majority of the game our offensive line played good,” he said. “And they’ve got to play good for us to be good. We can have as many skill kids as we want but we have got to play up front on the offensive line. I thought they really did. If you don’t play well on the offensive line, you’re not going to be any good. We go as they go.”

Improvement is still the name of the game for the Tigers and Alligood says he’s got to see improvement from week to see because there’s still a long way to go for W-W to become as good as possible.

“Believe you me, I believe we can be a really good football team down the road but we’ve got to take it one week at a time,” he said.

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