Butler County blowout

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 2, 2006

Ernest Thayer's famous poem &#8220Casey at the bat” ends with, &#8220But there is no joy in Mudville- mighty Casey has struck out.”

Following Thursday night's &#8220Battle of Butler County,” there is much joy in Greenville, for the mighty Casey Weston struck early and struck often during the Tigers' 35-0 shutout over the in-county rival Georgiana Panthers.

&#8220(Our offense) came together like we thought it would,” Weston said following the game.

The Greenville offense did come together, but not quite like first-year head coach Bryant Vincent planned it.

During the first Tiger drive, Weston was accurate, hitting a 21-yard pass to Deangelo Thaggard and then a crucial third-down strike to Lynn Lewis for the first down. But, on the following play, Weston fumbled and Georgiana recovered.

After the Panthers went three and out, the Tigers did too, but Weston faked the punt and completed a 15-yard strike to Lewis for the first down.

With a new set of downs, Weston scampered 13 yards for the Tigers' first touchdown of the game.

Following the touchdown run, in which Weston bulldozed a Georgiana defender at the goal line, Weston was thrown a different shoe in which he tied and successfully kicked the extra point without being penalized for a delay of the game.

The extra point was the first made by Greenville since the 2004 season and Weston was 5-of-5 on the night.

&#8220I went from third string kicker until (Coach Vincent) finally put me in there,” Weston said laughing. &#8220I kept telling Coach I could kick.”

Once again after holding Georgiana to three and out, Weston took charge.

After completing a 17-yard pass to Lewis, Weston threw an interception to Ronald Scott.

As Scott returned the interception, Weston did not give up on the play and speared Scott, causing the ball to come loose and Greenville recovered.

&#8220Casey is winner and that's the bottom line,” Vincent said. &#8220He's as tough and physical as any player I have ever coached.”

After the Tigers got the ball back, sophomore receiver Alex Phifer, lined up at quarterback with three other backs in the backfield, took the snap and ran five yards for the touchdown to give Greenville a 14-0 lead after the extra point.

Georgiana got the ball back and with less than two minutes to go until the half, the Panthers faked the punt from the shadow of their own end zone and the pass from Andre Paige to Zebbie Mitchell tipped just off Mitchell's finger tips.

With just 10 seconds to go until the half, Phifer once again took the ball in for two yards for the Greenville score, giving the Tigers a 21-0 lead.

&#8220Alex is such a winner who is a great kid with tremendous grades and a tremendous work ethic,” Vincent said.

The Tigers wasted no time in the second half as Tom Powell took the opening kickoff 94 yards for the Greenville touchdown.

&#8220(The return) was huge for us and it went ahead and ended (Georgiana's) hopes,” Vincent said. &#8220It was the nail in the coffin.”

The Panthers once again unsuccessfully faked a punt after going three and out and once again the Tigers took advantage.

After falling down at the line of scrimmage, Phifer got up and Weston delivered a precision pass in the corner of the end zone for the Tigers' final score of the night.

&#8220We won all three phases of the game tonight: offense, defense and special teams,” Vincent said. &#8220 And we practice all three everyday.”

On the night, Weston was the leading passer, throwing 9-of-12 for 128 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Weston also had eight rushes for 58 yards and one touchdown.

Lewis was the leading receiver with four catches for 68 yards.

On the defensive side of the ball, Greenville held the Panthers to just 62 total yards of offense.

&#8220We never got on track,” Georgiana head coach Donald Ray Mixon said. &#8220We had a couple of chances to make plays but our timing was off.”

Vincent had nothing but praise for his defensive staff and players.

&#8220I am extremely proud of our defensive coordinator Ernest Hill and our defensive coaching staff,” Vincent said.

Hill said the defensive staff made several changes after the jamboree loss to Luverne last week and he hoped that such changes would make a difference.

They did.

&#8220We're still a work in progress but these kids played hard,” Hill said. &#8220These kids are Butler County champs and I guess they wanted it more than Georgiana and I am proud of them.”

Although the game had its share of personal foul penalities for a first game, one moment did bring the entire stadium together.

During the second half, Georgiana Panther Chris Shows was knocked to the ground and had to be taken off the field in an ambulance.

Mixon said Shows suffered a slight concussion and the medics took precautionary measures to ensure Shows' safety.

&#8220We're a family and things like this happen in football,” Mixon said. &#8220We just have to pull together for him and his family.”

The Panthers travel to Bayside next week to begin region play while Greenville also hits the road for a region contest at Booker T. Washington.

After Thursday night's victory, Vincent is hoping his players will build on the first win of the season.

&#8220We accomplished two goals tonight: we are Butler County champions and we played an entire game,” Vincent told his team following the game.

&#8220I am so proud of these boys because they have worked so hard,” he said. &#8220But we've got to get better and we can't be satisfied.”