Hornets too much for Pigeon Forge

The Pigeon Forge Tigers can't seem to get over the hump. Winless in their first three contests, the Tigers looked to turn things around against defending region 1-3A Champion Carter.

The previously unscored upon Hornets allowed their first points of the season, but dominated Pigeon Forge in a 64-12 rout.

The Tigers surrendered 298 yards rushing to one of the most prolific ground games in the area while only gaining 41 yards of their own. The distinguishing factor in the two offenses was the speed of Carter's position players. However, Carter's second-year head coach Heath Woods mentioned that his young line was the catalyst for the Hornet's success on Friday night.

"We like to run the ball to the outside," said Woods. "It's the basis of our offense. We lost a lot of offensive lineman to graduation and it's been a little tough at times this year, but now we're in game-four and we are starting to get this line in order and see some good things." The Tigers did manage to score two touchdowns against the Hornet's stingy defense. The first TD allowed by the Hornets in 13 quarters came on a lovely toss from the Tiger's Paul Harper to Michael Aparicio.

"I thought that the pass (Harper) threw to (Aparicio) in the corner was a beautiful football play," said the visiting coach of the Pigeon Forge QB and his favorite target. The other Pigeon Forge score came on a pass to Brandon Guidry early in the fourth quarter. Harper finished the game having gone 14 of 24 with 208 yards passing with two touchdowns. The Hornets were able to force three interceptions from the Tiger's QB's.

Woods was confident in his defensive play, as he was in his inaugural campaign last season, "We've been tickled to death with our defense. We had five shutouts last year and I feel like that really got overlooked, and I think our defense deserves some attention."

While Woods and the rest of Carter's staff deserves recognition for their defensive strategy, this game was overshadowed by the lopsided score and what seemed like a hunger to humiliate.

Coach Woods tried to shed some light on what looked like several tasteless coaching decisions, the worst of which coming on a successful two-point conversion when the game was seemingly at hand with the score 57-12. "I'm sure there are going to be some situations where we are going to be looked at for unsportsmanlike play," the young Carter coach explained.

"Our kicker forgot to take the tee out on the field on that two-point conversion. We had no tee out there, period. We had no choice but to go for two."

The ensuing Pigeon Forge possession ended the final score of the game on a blocked punt returned for a Hornet touchdown. "We got beat by a good football team," said a somber Mike Bramblett, first-year coach of the Tigers.

"We had opportunities to do some good things, and again didn't take advantage of them. They didn't do anything that we didn't see on film, nothing we haven't prepared for, they were just better than us tonight."

When asked about the heartbreaking loss the Tigers suffered in week one, Bramblett had this to say, "It took the wind out of some of these kids, but we are a lot better than what we showed tonight. We have a few starters that aren't playing, but this is the ultimate team sport. When somebody goes down, someone else needs to step up, and we've gotta keep getting better with that. Our kids have to decide to fight this out, get better each week, and keep working."

"We have to get to full strength, hopefully we can do that with an off week coming up. As coaches, we've gotta figure out a way to block, to run, and to protect because it all starts up front no matter what you're trying to do."

Despite the Tiger's struggles, Bramblett refuses to call it a season, "I told my team before the game tonight that I feel like we still have an opportunity to be a good football team. We absolutely have to take advantage of our opportunities though."

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