2010-10-14 / Sports

Tigers beat Hancock 34-14, get set for Red Devils

Tigers vs. Hancock Central
W-W WC
First Downs 14 6
First Downs Rushing 12 1
Yards Rushing 270 19
Yards Passing 42 234
Passes 6-11-0 15-26-2
Total Yards 312 253
Punts/avg. 6/31.5 3/32.3
No. Penalties 10 8
Yds. Penalized 75 60
Fumbles/lost 1/0 1/1
Score by quarters
Tigers 7 7 14 6 - 34
Hancock 6 0 8 0 - 14

BRANDON TURNER STOPS THE HANCOCK QUARTERBACK BEHIND THE LINE The Tigers held the Bulldogs to only 19 yards rushing last Friday night in Sparta. Photos by MERCER HARRIS BRANDON TURNER STOPS THE HANCOCK QUARTERBACK BEHIND THE LINE The Tigers held the Bulldogs to only 19 yards rushing last Friday night in Sparta. Photos by MERCER HARRIS TOMARKUS YOUNG BREAKS AWAY FOR EXTRA YAR DAGE He had 69 yards rushing and 12 receiving against Hancock. TOMARKUS YOUNG BREAKS AWAY FOR EXTRA YAR DAGE He had 69 yards rushing and 12 receiving against Hancock. The tide has turned again for the Washington-Wilkes Tigers who re-entered the winners’ column last Friday, even if it was at the expense of the lowly Hancock Central Bulldogs. The 34-14 victory marked the first region win for Washington- Wilkes but more importantly saw the reduction in turnovers from four the previous week to none in Sparta.

Part of the solution to a nagging fumble problem came in the switching up of the offensive backfield and the addition of a young freshman in a starting position. The next solution will bring about a similar reduction in penalties, particularly those that occur at key moments.

BRIAN HARDIGREE TOSSES HIS FIRST TOUCHDOWN PASS. Freshman receiver Tomarkus Young caught it in the third quarter. BRIAN HARDIGREE TOSSES HIS FIRST TOUCHDOWN PASS. Freshman receiver Tomarkus Young caught it in the third quarter. “It’s always great to win but we had too many penalties,” Head Coach Lee Hutto said. “We had some penalties that hurt us at times. And we also had the ball on the plus side of the 50 three times and didn’t score so there were some more points that we could have put on the board.”

Still, the coach was pleased with his team’s effort. He commented that the Tigers did “some really good things” on offense including running the ball with some consistency. He also noted that in the third quarter sub quarterback Brian Hardigree completed his first career touchdown pass.

“It was good to get that first region win under our belts so hopefully we can build on that, get a little momentum, and win the rest of them,” Hutto said. Winning the rest of them would guarantee the Tigers a preferred playoff berth and even a shot at the region crown. But Hutto knows that, for his team, the pentalties and turnovers are the keys.

“We’ve got to cut down on the penalties,” he said, “but we had no turnovers and that’s great. We had been turning the ball over a little too much in the last two games. We forced at least three turnovers and we didn’t turn it over at all so that was a good thing.

“Now maybe we can have a week of no turnovers and no penalties,” Hutto continued. “That would be a great week for us. But we would like to just cut back on some of the penalties. Two of the penalties Friday night brought back touchdowns. Fortunately we still ended up scoring on those two drives but you never know what’s going to end up happening.

Hutto commented that there were a lot of bright spots in the game against Hancock Friday night. Some of those bright spots were in the form of younger players turning in outstanding performances. He again mentioned his young offensive line including two sophomores. But there were two new freshman starters in the lineup at Hancock – Jalen Turner who had a pass interception at cornerback, and Tomarcus Young who started at both outside linebacker on defense and halfback on offense.

Senior running back Eric Scott “played well and had one of his better games,” as well according to Hutto.

And now comes the big one.

This Friday night, the Tigers will continue their road trip at Lincoln County where they will face the 5-1 Red Devils who are looking for their third straight shutout. It will be a game like no other this season, as usual, when the trends, patterns, and scores of the current year mean nothing and the outcome could be almost anything.

Fans will remember the Washington Lincolnton game, dubbed the “378 War” by some, from last year going 0-0 through regulation play and not being decided until after a double overtime battle. Ultimately, Lincoln County won, but it was a classic that lived up to all its billing. This year promises some excitement of its own.

“Our kids are going to be ready,” Hutto said. “I know they will be excited about playing and if we’ll just give that great effort that we gave last year, and if we can not turn the ball over and have penalties, I think we can get in there and compete.”

Hutto realizes that when you play a good football team, you can’t make mistakes and he acknowledges that Lincoln County is a good football team. “They’re not going to make many mistakes,” he said. “They’re not going to turn the ball over a lot and they’re not going to have many penalties. We can’t do it either. We’ve got to protect the football. We’ve just got to get out there and compete and play hard and get after them.”

The Red Devils have established a pattern of passing the ball perhaps a little bit more than running it this year under the leadership of quarterback Franklin Sherman (No. 8). “They’re in that spread shotgun with no huddle the whole time and he’s got two really good wide receivers to throw the ball to,” Hutto reported.

Those receivers are Rusty Scott (No. 6) and Mason Saggus (No. 2). Other favorite receivers are Tyler Banks (No. 7) and Bond Turner (No. 87). On the ground, Ercell Daniel (No. 24) and Craig Jone (No. 11) get most of the duty.

“It’s going to be a challenge for us but luckily we’ve seen that kind of offense,” Hutto said. “We’ve already played two no-huddle teams and a couple of spread teams so our kids have an idea of what we’ve got to do and the pace of the game. At least it’s not going to be something new to us.

“The biggest thing is getting lined up correctly,” he continued. “When you play a team that runs a lot of formations and those spread teams, you’ve got to make sure you’re lined up right. That’s 90 percent of the battle and that’s going to be a big thing for us – making sure we’re lined up and have the right coverage and the right people out there.”

The Red Devils are a typical Lincoln County team according to Hutto. “They’re good on defense and they’ve always got those big defensive linemen that can play,” he said. Since their initial loss to S.C. powerhouse Abbeville, the Devils have given up only 27 points while scoring 189.

“With their spread on offense, they’re going to catch the football and so we’ve got to make sure that when they do, we tackle them,” Hutto said. “We can’t let them have a lot of big plays.”

Good news for the Tigers is the expected return of two injured players – Desmond Jackson and Da’Quan Heard. “That would be big for us, they’re our two best wide receivers and they both play backup on defense,” Hutto reported. “Besides that, we’re pretty healthy,” he added.

Beyond all that, the coaches and Tigers recognize the importance of strong support from the stands so they’re asking for a big turnout on teh visitor’s side in Lincoln County. “Let’s get a big crowd up there,” Hutto said. “It really motivates the kids when they see a big crowd. I don’t think we’ve beat Lincoln County since 2006 so it would be a great win for us if we can go out there and get it.”

Incidentally, that 2006 win was in Lincolnton – 3-0 in a big upset in the game’s final seconds.

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