Pigeon Forge gets back on track
The Pigeon Forge Tigers put two consecutive heartbreaking losses behind them and moved forward with a dominant 55-14 win over District 3-AA rival Union County on Friday night at David Coppick Field.
“We took care of business,” said first-year Tigers coach Scott Meadows. “We had some mistakes ... but they’re correctable. I’m proud of the team.”
Meadows especially appreciated how his group of players responded to defeats against Carter (27-24 overtime loss) and Cocke County (29-27 loss).
“They could have kind of hung their heads after last week’s game, but they didn’t,” said Meadows. “They came back and went to work.”
Once again, the Tiger to lead the charge was junior quarterback Tanner Sharp, who rushed for four TDs and 158 yards on 16 carries. He also threw for another score.
“Tanner is good,” said Meadows. “He’s a running threat. He’s a passing threat. He can do a lot of great things with the ball, and he sees a lot of things out on the field that we can’t see from the sideline.
“He comes and tells us as a coaching staff what he sees, and he just does a great job.”
Pigeon Forge senior Chris Rasberry was the recipient of Sharp’s TD toss, a 27-yarder on just the third snap from scrimmage for an early 7-0 lead 35 seconds into the affair.
Rasberry also added a four-yard TD run for a 20-0 lead late in the first, and he finished the night with 60 yards on just five totes.
“Chris is a good player,” said Meadows. “He’s really, really talented. He’s running the ball incredibly hard, and that just gives us another threat.
“He does some really good things not only running the ball, but he can come out of the backfield and catch the ball. He’s very valuable.”
Junior RB Hayden Ownby also contributed to Pigeon Forge’s team rushing total of 394 yards on 47 carries.
Ownby had 54 of those yards on nine carries, including a quick-hitting 33-yarder that gave the Orange and Black a 14-0 lead midway through the first.
“Last week we were running the speed sweep a lot (against Cocke County), and we just ran a little trap off that speed sweep,” Meadows said. “It busted open, and Hayden Ownby just did a great job, and he runs the ball awful hard.”
And sophomore Noah Whaley, who rushed for 59 yards on nine carries, added a late five yard touchdown to make it the eventual 41-point final.
“Whenever we’re not focused and don’t go out and do what we’re capable of doing, we’re below average,” said Meadows. “But whenever we come out and play the way we’re capable of playing, we’re a pretty good football team.”
And the Tigers will need to be a good football team to string together back-to-back victories for the first time this season.
“Next week, we’ll get to work on Grainger,” said Meadows. “We’ve got to get better. We’ll show up on Monday and be ready to work.
“Grainger is a good football team, and we’ve got our work cut out for us. We just can’t take anything for granted.”