Tucking A Win Away

In a showdown of top-ranked teams in their respective classes, Shiloh Christian downed Greenwood 49-48 with UA commit Crosy Tuck and his fellow Saints making big play after big play in a thrilling win over the equally explosive Bulldogs.

With a showdown of top-ranked teams on the line last Friday night, the old Shiloh Christian quarterback told the new one to make sure he found University of Arkansas wideout commit Crosby Tuck.

Mission accomplished.

Shiloh quarterback Matt Simpson hit Tuck with a 17-yard touchdown pass in the corner of the end zone to tie the game with less than a minute left and the ensuing PAT lifted the Saints over Greenwood 49-48 before an overflow crowd at Champions Field.

Just as former Shiloh head coach Josh Floyd, who once starred for current UA offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn and the Saints, drew it up.

"I knew I was going to be able to come open on my last break there on my route," Tuck said. "Matt did a great job getting it over the defender and to me there in the back corner. It was just a great play."

Tuck (6-1, 180, 4.49) – known for his combination of speed, great hands and precise routes – got himself open and help lift the Class 3A No. 1 Saints over the Class 5A top-ranked Bulldogs.

"Words can't hardly describe it," Floyd said. "It was unbelievable. It was a long developing play, but our line gave Matt time, he put the ball right there and Crosby – if it is anywhere near him – he is coming down with it."

Simpson, who is getting recruiting interest from Arkansas as well, was 30-of-45 for 431 yards and rushed for 72 yards during a game which had offensive fireworks galore.

There was 720 yards total offense in the first half alone between the two teams and well over 1,000 yards by the end of the night as Greenwood junior quarterback Tyler Wilson threw for nearly 400 yards as well.

"Our lineman did an excellent job of giving me time and it has been a play that had not worked a lot earlier because we weren't getting enough time," Simpson said. "But this time the line held out and gave us enough time for Crosby to work his way to the back of the end zone."

It's not as if they had not run the play and been in that situation before.

"We had the same situation – almost exactly – against Poteau when we were ninth graders, " Tuck said. "Since then we've been able to do the two-minute drill real good. Matt also knows where the receivers are going to be and responds so we have a ton of faith in him getting the ball to us."

Tuck caught 6 passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns against Greenwood and has hauled in 17 passes for 369 yards and four scores in his team's first three games this season.

After a junior season when he caught 67 passes for 1,443 yards and 16 touchdowns, Tuck – who now has over 3,000 career yards receiving - had a great summer in which he made a name for himself at a prestigious Southeast Select 7-on-7 tournament in Hoover, Ala.

"It (the Hoover tournament) is not real football, it's just passing, but it is passing all the time and it's every big-time school you can think of down there in the South," Floyd said. "He ran by every single one of them."

Just as he did at a summer Razorback camp after which he was offered a scholarship by Arkansas.

"I know at the Arkansas camp they were going to time him and put him against the best guys and he was beating them deep every time and so they didn't even have to run him," Floyd said. "He is a legitimate 4.4 in the 40-yard dash. He's run that for us and he's run it at combines."

Tuck had already been offered by Troy and Central Florida and was set to visit Kansas State and Oklahoma State – who would both likely have offered – before deciding to call his recruiting off and commit to Arkansas.

"Most people that called me last spring asked me if he was really that fast," Floyd said. "They didn't believe, but I guess they know now. His zero to 10 yard burst is unbelievable. It is as fast as I have ever seen anybody run."

"I know he is much bigger and stronger than those guys thought," Floyd said. "He is only going to stronger because he loves baseball and has played it and hasn't had as much time to devote to the weight room. He's still a strong kid already – I think he can bench 250 right now – but he will only get stronger."

The win over Greenwood was big for Shiloh, who had lost 30-0 to the Bulldogs in 2004 and then 45-42 last season and opens league play at Pea Ridge on Friday.

"It feels great," Tuck said. "My sophomore year we got killed and last year was close, a good game that we thought we were going to have, but just couldn't get it pulled out. We got it done this year and that helps it with our confidence going into conference play."

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