Hernando High School Tigers suffered a stinging loss against the Grenada High School Chargers Friday night at home, 40-22.
The out-of-towners’ strategic offense proved too aggressive for the young, inexperienced Tigers. Hernando Head Coach Will Wolf said his team’s talent will make up for a lack of tempering.
“We’re still inexperienced but we are talented,”said Wolfe. “Our O-line did freaking great tonight. They gave us time and did a really good job. We just needed another possession there at the end.”
The Tigers (2-2) faced the Chargers (3-0) in the non-conference matchup, spending the first half of the game adjusting to Grenada’s offense. Grenada drew first blood with a TD at 8:06 in the first quarter.
Tigers #22 junior defensive back Dylan Cubbage made a recovery at 4:43 with Tigers #4 Joey Davis later making a pass interception for defense.
In the second quarter, Tigers senior defensive back #6 Keon Kneely made a successful takedown but the Chargers made a second TD. Senior wide receiver #7 Jalen Smith showed off his play execution by making a successful catch. The Tigers’ defense was able to cap Grenada at 14-0 in the first half.
The Tigers returned after halftime suffering another TD from Chargers’ #2 Joe Moss with a 47-yard rushing TD making it 21-0 with nine minutes left in the third.
On 4th down with four minutes to go, the ball was on Grenada's 18-yard line when Tigers’ senior wide receiver #1 Eli Mashburn completed a pass to Davis for their first TD, 21-7.
With three minutes left, the Tigers pushed forward after a fumble recovery at the Chargers’ 20-yard line. Senior quarterback #11 Zach Wilcke completed a 48-yard pass to Smith for another TD bumping the score to 21-14.
The Chargers retaliated with a rushing TD later in the third quarter. A missed PAT left a score of 27-14.
In the fourth quarter, Hernando turned possession over on downs at Grenada’s 44-yard line. Grenada kicked a successful field goal, bringing up the score, 30-14.
Hernando’s last points were a 26-yard TD pass followed by #26 Curdarrious Bullock rushing for a two-point conversion, leading to 30-22.
Grenada capped their win with a second field goal and a pick-six.
Smith, who made two touchdowns against Grenada, scoring three total this season, said the loss means his team needs more unity.
“We just have to all pull through and come together in the end,” said Smith. “We all played a good game, we almost had this one. It was crunch time at the end. We just need to get our minds right. Next week’s game will be great. We’ll have to work on our team effort overall.”
Coach Wolfe said closing the score gap was a good sign but more work is needed.
“We’re not big so they just kind of laid it on us,” said Wolfe. “Our defense responded, we got some stops, we got the ball back and had a chance to win it. As bad as we played, as inconsistent as we played, at the end we still had a chance to win it.”
Wolfe lauded his receivers efforts.
“All our receivers have done well. We’ve developed some depth and they’re playing at a good level. We still had some blown assignments, of course we’re going to have that,” Wolf said. “We’ll go back and break the film down. Obviously from watching the game there’s some issues. We’re just going to get back to work.”
The Hernando Tigers will face off against Lausanne Collegiate in Memphis on Friday, September 17.