BY WAYNE PHILLIPS
SPORTS EDITOR EMERITUS
Angry? You bet.
Losing 42-0 a week ago will do that to you.
Greeneville High's Greene Devils got back on the winning track, leaving last week's big loss to state power Alcoa a distant memory with an easy 55-0 victory over county rival West Greene in a Blue Ridge Conference affair at Burley Stadium Friday night.
The big homecoming crowd, who watched senior Kelli Grissom being crowned the 2012 Homecoming Queen in festivities prior to the game, was able to leave early as the Devils came out with fire in their eyes and dominated the Buffs in the first half, leading 41-0 at the break, then they tacked on two more second half scores.
"I hope so," Greeneville Coach Caine Ballard said when questioned if it would be fair to say that the Greene Devils played Friday night like an angry football team. "I've been angry all week (about the way the team performed last Friday at Alcoa)."
The Devils responded after what Ballard called a "brutal week of practice."
"Full pads, full contact on Thursday ... that doesn't happen a lot," Ballard said when describing the toughness of this week's practice sessions. "But I'm proud of them. We really challenged them this week. We challenged them in the film room ... embarrassed some of them."
The GHS defense limited the Buffs to a net total of 6 yds. in the first half as they built the big lead. There was just no place for West Greene to run, and no time for quarterback Austin Greenlee to look for help on the receiving end.
Greeneville's offense had the football six times in the first half and they scored six touchdowns.
The first one came on a 37-yd. run around left end by junior back Quan Wilson on a fourth down play, culminating a 67-yd. drive after the opening kickoff. Junior Zack Finchum got the start at quarterback and set up the TD with a 24-yd. pass to junior Trevor Wright. Lincoln Taylor booted the first of seven PATs on the night. One conversion was missed after a low snap from center.
The only first down the Buffs could garner in the opening two periods came by way of a penalty when the Devils got called for piling on Greenlee after he slipped and fell.
Dakota Trentham's first punt covered 46 yds. and junior Hays Culbreth returned it 88 yds. for an apparent TD, but it was called back for a block in the back.
The Devils scored anyway, moving 94 yds. in eight plays with Tyrus Rollins scoring on a 2-yd. plunge. Two big running plays moved the ball quickly down the turf, with Finchum gaining 27 on a keeper and Walker Troy barging ahead for 35.
GHS moved 56 yds. in nine plays to get their third score, converting a fourth and 1 on a keeper by Finchum at the 31. Finchum then passed 31 yds. to senior Andrew Houston for the score.
Senior Tanner Stewart then came on to call the signals and moved the team 50 yds. in eight plays, passing 15 yds. to Trevor Wright for the touchdown with 8:03 left in the second and a 27-0 advantage.
Wilson got his second TD of the half on a 4-yd. plunge with 3:41 left, and the final score of the half came on Stewart's 4-yd. keeper with just 25 seconds to go and the 41-0 advantage.
"We were looking for character from some of them, for heart and toughness, and for some leadership," Ballard said, "and I think we got some good leadership tonight from some of our younger guys."
With the continuous clock, due to the 35-point mercy rule, making the second half move quickly, Ballard said, "we rotated just about everybody we had in there, but we didn't get as many snaps as we wanted for some of them because the time passed so fast."
The second half Greeneville scores came on a 34-yd. interception return by Marshall Brown in the third quarter, and a 2-yd. run by Stewart in the fourth quarter.
The Buffs did get some offense going in the second half but never threatened to score. Freshman Devin Davis had some good runs after getting most of the ball-carrying duty over the final two periods. Freshman Dylan Kirk also peeled off a 13-yd. run that carried the Buffs into GHS territory for the first and only time in the game.
"They have a fine team, and we caught them at a really bad time," West Greene Coach Joe Case said. "I knew they weren't going to be in a good frame of mind after losing last week. But our kids played hard and we battled the best that we could. We'll get better."
Greeneville amassed 394 yds. of offense on the night, 263 rushing and 131 passing. Quan Wilson had 80 yds. on the ground, Zack Finchum had 64 and Walker Troy added 61. Finchum was 7-of-12 passing for 101 yds., and Trevor Wright and Brandon Hall each caught three passes.
The Buffs had 45 yds. rushing and 22 passing for 67 net yards. Davis led the team with 31 yds. on 12 attempts.
The win evens Greeneville's season record at 3-3, but more importantly, puts them at 2-0 in the Blue Ridge Conference. They are back at home next Friday as host to Cumberland Gap in a showdown between the only two teams to still be unbeaten in league play.
West Greene (2-5, 0-3) is back at home next week with Claiborne paying a visit in a league tilt.
A photo gallery from Thursday night's Powder Puff game at Greeneville High School may be found on the newspaper's web site at http://www.greenevillesun.com.