Booker T. uses late surge to defeat Greenville, 25-13

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 16, 2004

Once again, the Greenville Tigers showed improvement. Unfortunately, once again the Tigers came up short.

Greenville dropped another heartbreaker 25-13 to Booker T. Washington after leading late in the game. The Tigers were likely a couple of first downs away from slamming the door, but the Golden Eagles just wouldn't go away.

The game saw four lead changes altogether with the final coming on a 65 yard Marquez Hall punt return for a touchdown with four minutes and 48 seconds remaining in the game. Hall found the endzone three times on the night and proved to be the difference in the game for the Golden Eagles.

For Greenville Head Coach Alvin Briggs it was another hard fought effort that came up just short.

"We fought hard again and never gave up," said Briggs. "We have continued to play hard from start to finish we just haven't been able to come out on top."

Briggs said despite the Tigers 0-7 record they are showing improvement.

"We are getting better," said Briggs. "We are staring to click. We can see it coming together we just need to get that win."

The Tigers got on the board first. The score was set up by a gutsy special teams call by Briggs. Facing a fourth down near the 50 Briggs called for the fake and Lynn Lewis made it pay off taking the ball to the Golden Eagle 23 yard line.

Andrew Hartman found Devoski McMeans on the very next play in the corner of the endzone for a 23-yard touchdown pass. The extra point was good giving the Tigers a 7-0 lead with three minutes and 36 seconds to go in the first quarter.

Booker T, answered quickly as they would all night. Hall broke free on a 51-yard touchdown to pull the Golden Eagles to within a 7-6 score. The PAT failed leaving the Tigers on top.

The Tiger lead would last the rest of the first quarter, but proved to be short lived in the second. Only nine seconds into the second quarter Booker T. quarterback Michael Norris found Codero Cooper in the endzone for a nine yard score. The PAT again failed leaving the Golden Eagles with a slim 12-7 lead.

The score would not change again until the final quarter of play. In the third quarter, the defenses took over the game turning each other away constantly.

The roles reversed in the fourth as the teams combined for 20 points.

Greenville got things going as Hartman found Mack again streaking down the sideline for a 66-yard touchdown score. The PAT failed, but the Tigers still led 13-12 with only seven minutes remaining in the game.

The Tigers held all the momentum at that point and looked as if they were ready to slam the door on their first win. However, Hall found a way to make things happen. The junior halfback had plagued the Tigers all night with big plays and added a few more in the final five minutes of the game.

Hall would break free for the 65-yard punt return and add another touchdown with only 1:02 remaining in the game. Both PAT's were good giving Booker T. the 25-13 lead.

Hall would also end any threat the Tigers tried to pose in the final minute with an interception of a Hartman pass.

For Booker T., a big special teams play was all it took to turn the game around. Golden Eagle Head Coach Mark Hurt said that was an area he stressed heavily.

"That is something we work on hard every day," said Hurt. "It is one third of the game and we know it can make or break your effort."

The win improved Booker T. Washington to 5-2.

For the Tigers there is good news. They roll into a home game with a Russell County team they match up with very well. The Tigers will also have homecoming as extra motivation to pull out the first win of the year.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. with pregame festivities.