KNOXVILLE — After Pigeon Forge’s dominant win over Northview Academy two weeks ago, the Tigers had their third off week of the year last week.
The first two were due to COVID-19 game cancellations, while last week’s was scheduled before the season, but head coach Scott Meadows believes that this one was good for the team.
“The COVID-19 off weeks we couldn’t help. It is what it is on that,” he said. “This open week came at a good time, because we had some guys banged-up. Plus, we have three games right here that we need to get ready for, so I think it came at right time.”
Fast forward to the present, and Pigeon Forge jumps back into action on Friday night at Austin-East in a critical 3A Region 2 contest that could determine playoff seeding a couple weeks down the road.
The Roadrunners snapped a 15-game losing streak earlier this year, and they have won two of their last four games behind the legs of star junior running back Markeyis Billingsley.
Billingsley has good size and speed, and the Tigers (4-2 overall, 2-0 in 3A Region 2) must tackle well especially in space to avoid giving up chunk plays.
“We have to play our game,” Meadows said. “They put a lot of pressure on you, and we have to limit them on defense and in all phases because they can score at anytime. We have to play very disciplined.”
On offense, Pigeon Forge and quarterback Tyson McFall must avoid turnovers. They will rely on their rushing attack of Brady Maples, Aiden Howard, Ayden Littles and others to keep the Roadrunners (2-5 overall, 2-1 in 3A Region 2) athletes off the field, but giving the ball up in poor field position for their defense is something that they cannot do in order to have success.
Pigeon Forge knows what the future could hold and it starts on Friday night as they will host a home playoff game for the first time since 2015 if they win both of their last two region games.
“If we win our next two region games we host (in the playoffs),” Meadows said. “We know what is in front of us, and we have to go out and take care of business.”