BY SCOTT R. FISHER
Many times a football game is won in the trenches. That was the case Friday night at the Tundra.
The West Greene Buffaloes dominated the line of scrimmage and earned the hard-fought victory over the North Greene Huskies, 28-14.
The Buffs improved to 2-4 on the season while the Huskies drop to 4-2. West Greene plays at Greeneville next Friday. North Greene travels to Hampton.
The Buffaloes controlled the ball most of the first half and built a 14-0 lead before the intermission. West Greene ran 37 offensive plays compared to just eight for the Huskies.
"That is what we do," said WGHS head coach Joe Case. "That is what we will continue to do."
The disparity of yards gained was heavily in favor of the visiting Buffs, 365-195. West Greene had more yards in the first half (202) than North Greene gained in the entire contest,
"We got beat up front," Josh Edens, North Greene head coach said. "In situations like this, your character is tested."
After both teams failed to score on their opening possessions, the Buffaloes marched down the field and grabbed the lead with 1:31 remaining in the first quarter. Sophomore Austin Greenlee found senior Caleb Jullian for an eight-yard touchdown.
The scoring pass finished off an 11-play drive that covered 66 yards. Besides the scoring play, Greenlee and Jullian hooked up for a 29-yard play on third down to keep the drive alive.
Greenlee also made a huge play with his legs He scrambled for 24 yards on a fourth-and-eight play.
After forcing the Huskies into another three-and-out, West Greene went on another long scoring drive. This one covered 91 yards and took almost five minutes of the clock.
The first play was the catalyst. Junior Nathan Morgan gained 23 yards to get the Buffs out from the shadow of their end zone. North Greene was flagged for a personal foul that tacked another 15 yards on to the play.
The Buffs relied heavily on both Morgan and sophomore Jonathan Paggett during the drive. Each runner carried the ball multiple times.
It was senior Josh Thacker who capped of the 12-play drive with a two-yard run for the second touchdown of the game for West Greene.
The Buffs got the ball right back after a pooch kick that Case said the team regularly practices. The Huskies were not ready for it and could not recover the kickoff.
West Greene continued to pound the football and pick up yards in bunches. The team reeled off 13 plays before fumbling the football away in the end zone with 34 seconds left in the half.
"We controlled the line of scrimmage," Case said about the first half. "Hold on to the football and we will be in better shape."
North Greene came out firing in the second half. After using the wildcat offense in the opening half, North Greene used senior Tanner O'Laughlin in the shotgun.
O'Laughlin found senior Mason Early for 33 yards on the second play of the half. Four plays later, O'Laughlin connected with senior D.J. Tripplett for 18 yards.
Unfortunately for the North Greene drive stalled and no points were scored. Junior Tyler Bailey missed a 23-yard field goal.
West Greene responded with an eight-play scoring drive that covered 80 yards. The big play was the 51-yard scoring dash by Morgan. He was able to stay in bounds and out-race the Huskie defense the final 35 yards.
North Greene's next drive was helped by two big penalties by West Greene. But it still came up empty when senior Richard Sanchez picked off O'Laughlin's pass in the red zone.
The Huskies finally found the end zone two possessions later. North Greene drove 85 yards in nine plays.
Junior Brett Bolton caught the nine-yard pass from O'Laughlin for the first score of the game for the home team. Bolton also had a 27-yard reception during the drive,
The Buffs responded to the Huskie touchdown with their final score of the game. Jullian caught a 16-yard pas from Greenlee. The pass capped a five-play drive that covered 53 yards. Morgan started the drive with a 35-yard dash.
North Greene finished off the scoring on its final possession of the game. Sophomore Zane Britton ran it in from two yards out. He hurdled a West Greene defender to reach the end zone.
North Greene drove 45 yards in nine plays. O'Laughlin added the two-point conversion with a quarterback keeper.