Thursday, September 20, 2007
Tough trip to Tennessee for Indians
By CLAUDE VINSON
The Bolivar Central Tigers of neighboring Tennessee staged their homecoming during the game with the Indians of Byhalia Friday night.
They won the toss and elected to receive. Bolivar made a statement of purpose early. They picked up a first down and then Josh Pirtle, who would prove to be one of the Tigers’ workhorses, came from 30 yards out and took an Indian defender into the end zone with him. After the kick it was 7-0.
On the kickoff, Marquise Green returned it to the 26. A Bolivar face mask penalty moved it to the 31. Marcus Thomas came out throwing for the Indians. He hit Green for another pickup and then threw to Chris Hill for the score. Thomas tried a quarterback sneak for the two-point attempt but was denied. The score was 7-6.
The Tigers picked up a first down on two carries and then fumbled in the backfield. The ball was covered by Allen Stewart at the 29.
The Indians were whistled for an illegal procedure after which Thomas hit Green with a swing pass. Operating from the shotgun, Thomas launched one in and out of the hands of Chris Hill. The same play followed and Hill redeemed himself, catching the ball over the middle. The next play was a pitchout to Green who showed a textbook use of blockers as he went in for six. Again they went for the bigger number but failed. They had the lead 12-7.
The Tigers came back with a long run on the return and Jason Overton, QB for the Tigers, skirted right end for the TD. They retook the lead at 14-12.
The Indians returned the kick to the 29. Thomas was picked off by Ethan Wright, who ran in for a score. Bolivar was up 21-12 after the kick.
A fumble and a couple of miscues resulted in scores for the Tigers and the first quarter, which had lasted 48 minutes, ended with the Tigers ahead 28-12.
The woes continued for the Indians. They tried a fourth and one at the 47. They turned the ball over and Bolivar scored.
On the next possession, the Indians’ Green returned to the 42. Thomas was still making expert use of the pass, gaining two first downs via air. Green took off on a second and 12 and posted another tally for Byhalia. The PAT failed and the score was then 34-18.
The Tigers scored again with 2:48 left in the first half.
The Indians started to move the ball again inside the 2:00 mark. Thomas, still cool and poised, although operating under extreme pressure from a stifling Tiger defense, found Hill across the goal line to make it 41-24.
Head coach Devin Rutherford was trolling the sidelines exhorting his players not to turn this into another shootout like the previous week.
Then the unthinkable happened. Thomas went down during the last play of the half. He would not return. The score was 41-24 at intermission.
Green was in the QB slot to open the second half and the Indians responded gallantly, but they did not move the ball well without their field general. The Indians made some great plays on some gutsy calls but Bolivar met every challenge. The host team ran the score to 61-24 before the final horn sounded.
The Indians were pretty banged up. In addition to Thomas, there were two other injuries. The extent of the injuries was not known. Thomas was flexing his ankle but he was finished for the evening.
The Indians (1-2) will travel to Lewisburg (1-2) for their next game, a division contest, on Friday, Sept. 21. Lewisburg is 1-2, with losses to Center Hill and Hernando and a victory over Strayhorn.
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