BY SCOTT FISHER
SUN SPORTS WRITER
TAZEWELL - Greeneville can score in bunches and quickly put an opponent away on the gridiron. On Friday night, that offensive explosion came in the second quarter.
The Greene Devils (4-0) easily dispatched the Claiborne Bulldogs (2-2) in a Blue Ridge Athletic Conference matchup. The final score was 42-0.
The Greene Devils scored 35 points in the second quarter and effectively put the game out of reach. The lead at the half was 42-0 for the visitors.
"I wanted to end it in the first quarter," GHS head coach Cade Ballard said. "The second quarter was good. Our kids were not ready to play."
The Greene Devils drove 67 yards in 11 plays on the opening drive of the game. Senior Zach Finchum found junior Dylan Fields for a 16-yard touchdown. Fields made an acrobatic catch on the Finchum pass.
The drive was aided by a fake punt on a fourth and 11 from the Devils 36-yard line.
"Claiborne was doing some different things than what we saw on film," Ballard said. He thought that disrupted the offensive flow early in the contest.
After the scoring drive, Greeneville capitalized on a Claiborne turnover. Senior Isaiah Dabbs fell on a loose ball after the Bulldogs had driven down to the Devils' 24-yard line.
The Greene Devils embarked on a methodical 17-play drive that took more than six minutes off the clock. The scoring drive covered 85 yards.
The touchdown was a 14-yard pass from Finchum to Trevor Wright. Finchum was six for eight on the drive for 58 yards. Five different Greeneville receivers caught a pass.
One play into the second half, the Greeneville lead was 14-0. That margin would explode before half time.
The Greene Devils would not take long to score their third touchdown of the game. After two runs by Finchum, Hays Culbreth caught a bomb from Finchum and raced untouched into the endzone.
The pass play covered 67 yards. The final 20 yards was Culbreth out running the Bulldog defense.
The next Greeneville score did not come from the offense. Wright intercepted a Dalton Lee pass and weaved his way through the Claiborne defense and found the endzone. The return covered 53 yards.
The Greeneville defense kept up the pressure on the Bulldogs. Claiborne was forced into a three-and-out the next possession. The big play was a sack by junior Drew Patterson that pushed the ball back 10 yards on third down.
Finchum stayed hot on the following Greeneville drive as he completed all three of his pass attempts. The final one was a 37-yarder to Wright for another score. The drive lasted four plays and took just over one minute off the clock.
Claiborne did not help themselves the next time they had the ball. The Bulldogs fumbled the ball away on the first play. Senior Austin Bailey came up with the loose ball.
This Greeneville scoring drive was all about junior Mikhail Anderson. He carried the ball four straight plays, and the final carry took him into the endzone from one yard out.
The Greene Devils had scored five times in the 12 minute second quarter and forced three turnovers. The offense racked up 288 yards while the defense limited the Bulldogs to 72 yards.
Finchum finished 10-of-14 for 190 yards and four touchdowns. Leading the way on the ground for Greeneville was senior Quan Wilson with 37 yards on seven carries.
"The defense has been great," Ballard said. "The first team has not given up any points all season."
In the second half, the Greene Devils never got on track offensively with the clock running continually. Greeneville managed 19 yards of offense the entire second half.
Claiborne finally got on the board in the fourth quarter. Sophomore Lincoln Bowman had a pass intercepted and returned 46 yards for a touchdown
Coach Ballard was not happy with the running clock in the second half.
"The mercy rule kills us," he said. "Our second group does not get to play a lot. I understand why we have the mercy rule, but it was not made for a team like ours."
The Greene Devils return to Burley Stadium next Friday night against Harlan County, Ky.