Greg Ryan praised his team’s effort and hustle, but the Greenback head football coach found little else to feel good about after the Cherokees were shut out by Meigs County 38-0 Friday night.
“Two weeks in a row, we haven’t scored,” Ryan said. “That’s not what Greenback is accustomed to, that’s not what I’m accustomed to, calling plays. Frankly, we just didn’t execute.”
Ryan said early in the game the Cherokees twice caught Meigs County in a blitz and had screen passes called, which went awry.
“We didn’t execute on those screens so we never could slow the blitz down,” he said. “If we could have executed better on first and second downs and get third-and-medium, then we could run on them but we just never got in that great of a situation.”
Both teams got off to slow starts, but Meigs County bounced back from its only turnover with the longest play of the game — a 61-yard touchdown strike.
Meigs County quarterback Logan Carroll faked a handoff on third-and-short then shot a pass to an open Cameron Huckabey for the first score.
Carroll attempted just nine passes but completed six with three touchdown receptions and 157 yards. Cody Cawood improved his quarterback’s statistics considerably with several nice catches in heavy coverage.
Meigs County amassed 19 first downs with a steady ground game. Will Meadows was the workhorse, grinding out 98 yards on 20 carries over the first three quarters before being relieved. Five other backs added 97 of the Tigers’ 195 rushing yards.
Greenback freshman quarterback Brennan Duggan completed 7-of-16 passes for 67 yards but suffered his lone interception on the Greenback drive after the first score. Meigs County took advantage of the short field, scoring in five plays on the first of two Cawood scoring receptions from Carroll.
Meigs added to the 12-0 first-quarter lead with another long drive after the Cherokees moved the chains for the first time but then withered, turning the ball over on downs after reaching the Meigs 38-yard line.
Greenback’s best offensive flash followed, with Duggan finding Blake Fields for a 43-yard pass to the Meigs 13-yard line. But another badly executed screen pass and two plays going backward led to a Lucas Holmes field goal attempt, which fell just short of the posts.
Meigs scored on a nine-minute drive to open the second half and put the game into mercy-rule status with reserves racking up the final points of the 38-0 lead.
Greenback continually faced long yardage on second and third downs, which impacted the run game. The Cherokees gained only 41 yards on 20 carries, with 20 of those yards on one scamper by Ashton Orr. The rushing total also suffered from negative yardage on four sacks.
“We have a roster of 41, 42 kids and 19 of them are freshmen,” Ryan said. “We’ve got a lot of new guys that just have to learn how to play and play tough. If we do that we'll be OK. This team is going to continue to grow and get better each week. I knew we’d go through growing pains. We started with two really good teams that are going to win a lot of games. But we’ll focus on us and get better.”