Ups and downs for Pigeon Forge

Oct. 04, 2013 @ 01:10 PM

Five points.

That’s all that separates Pigeon Forge from being the only undefeated football team in Sevier County.

“You look back and you don’t dwell on it,” said Tigers coach Scott Meadows. “You try to build on it. That’s a big thing I talk to the players about it. Whenever we do play with a lot of effort and the way we’re capable of playing, we’re pretty good. Whenever we don’t, you can tell.”

The Tigers (3-2) had a sluggish two and a half quarters against Cocke County and started slow again last week against Grainger. But they also took unbeaten Carter to the brink, scored 40 unanswered against the Grizzlies and put up 27 points in 16 minutes against the Fighting Cocks.

Whew. Keeping up with Pigeon Forge’s highs and lows can be exhausting.

“After the two losses in a row, we doubted ourselves,” said quarterback Tanner Sharp. “But we went through two hard weeks of practice and prepared ourselves for Union County and Grainger. We played really good in both those games.

“We turned things around and now we’ve got a chance to finish the season strong.”

The Tigers face perhaps their toughest test of the season tonight against Fulton, ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press Class 4A poll. Meadows just wants his team to get better against the Falcons, win or lose.

That, the coach said, starts with effort. It’s been the difference for the Jekyll and Hyde Tigers. How else to explain a team that fell behind 29-0 to Cocke County, only to score 27 straight and almost win? It was the same story, to a far lesser degree, last week against Grainger. Down a touchdown and a turnover, Pigeon Forge stormed back to win in a rout.

“Coach Meadows pulled us over and we were like, ‘We have to get going. We’ve got to step up,’ ” Sharp said. “Everybody stepped up and played their part. We did really good after that.”

They did it even without running back Chris Rasberry, who was injured early in the game. Meadows said Rasberry will be out for a couple of weeks but the Tigers filled the void last week with Andrew McCarter, Noah Whaley and Chase Effler helping Pigeon Forge finish with more than 300 rushing yards.

It’s all about having confidence. Then maybe those five points will swing Pigeon Forge’s way next time.

“If we doubt ourselves, we won’t be able to do it,” Sharp said. “If we just stop doing that, then I think we’ll be fine.”