The Greenbrier High School Wolfpack let its chance to claim a season-opening win at Cross Creek slip through their fingers Friday night.
Leading 7-6 at halftime, the Wolfpack lost fumbles in each of their three offensive series in the second half, falling to the Razorbacks, 25-14.
The Wolfpack lost four of their five fumbles on the night.
“We stopped ourselves tonight and we need to fix that,” said Wolfpack head coach Kevin Hunt. “We need to be mentally tough and I know we can fix it.”
The turnover that cost the Wolfpack the most came on their second possession of the second half with 8:07 left in the game. Trailing 12-7, the Wolfpack drove from their 35 to the Razorbacks’ 18. The Wolfpack put it on the ground and the Razorbacks took advantage with an eight-play, 82-yard drive that took 4:38 off the clock and increased their once-tenuous lead to 18-7.
“You can’t do that,” said Wolfpack head coach Kevin Hunt of his team fumbling. “That was a pendulum swing right there.”
The game started out on a better note for the Wolfpack as they took the opening kickoff, drove down the field and went up 7-0 on a two-yard pass from quarterback Allen Walls to Josh Smith on fourth-and-goal. Walls completed three passes on the drive, including two on fourth downs, as they went 69 yards in 13 plays. Three different players carried the ball on the drive including Malcolm Thomas, who led the Wolfpack with 111 yards on 14 carries.
Defensively, the Wolfpack were in a position to stop the Razorbacks on the ensuing possession, but Cross Creek quarterback Tyler Darnall found Maurice Berry in mid-stride down the left sideline for a 33-yard score on fourth-and-12. When the kick failed, the Wolfpack lead was 7-6.
Things got weird midway through the second quarter.
The Wolfpack’s Caleb Culverhouse recovered a fumble, but the Wolfpack gave it right back five plays later. The Wolfpack missed a golden opportunity to put more points on the board as Jamal Richard then picked off a pass with 15 seconds left, returning it 68 yards to the Razorbacks’ 14. After a penalty moved the ball to the seven, a fumbled snap ran out the clock as Greenbrier was out of time outs.
The Razorbacks scored on the opening possession of the second half to take a 12-7 lead. Deon Kleckley took the handoff on fourth-and inches from the Greenbrier 22 and went up the middle for the touchdown.
Kleckley led all rushers with 125 yards on 16 carries as the Razorbacks’ balanced attack netted 207 rushing yards. In the Razorbacks’ two-quarterback system, Yusuf Jenkins came in and guided the team from the pistol as they did not attempt a pass in the second half.
Trailing 25-7 with just over a minute to play, Greenbrier’s Chris Knox fielded a muffed kickoff and ran it back 40 yards for the Wolfpack’s final score.