Heading into Friday night's season-opening battle at Blanchard Stadium, Greenbrier High School football coach Mickey Derrick made a couple of predictions about the Wolfpack's contest with Evans High School.
Derrick thought the game would be decided in the fourth quarter, and he also liked his team's chances against the Knights.
As it turned out, Derrick was right on both counts.
The Pack pulled away with a strong second half, and sealed a 26-12 victory on a fourth-quarter touchdown run by quarterback Brooks Robinson.
"I was expecting good things," Robinson said. "We had a lot of heart tonight and we just came out and played hard-nosed football."
Hard-nosed football is what sidelined Robinson last season. In Greenbrier's fourth game of 2002, Robinson rushed for a touchdown, but suffered a broken collarbone as he found the end zone against Butler High School.
Robinson is determined to make up for lost time, and the senior is off to a great start. He completed seven of eight passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns Friday night. He added 27 yards rushing, including the final score on the ground.
"Me getting outside kind of threw them off a little bit," Robinson said of his success on sprint-out pass plays. "Hats off to our receivers. Everyone did a good job tonight and we came out on top."
The start wasn't what first-year Evans coach Marty Jackson was looking for.
"We gave up some big pass plays," Jackson said. "(Robinson) is a mobile quarterback, but we were playing loose a couple of times, way off the receiver. I thought we were a little flat-footed in the secondary."
Jackson did a few things to keep the Pack on their toes in the first half. The Knights went for it on two fourth-down plays in Greenbrier territory, but got stuffed each time. Also, Evans recovered an onside kick but came up empty.
Greenbrier, meanwhile, cashed in on its opportunities to take a 13-6 lead into halftime. Robinson completed a 19-yard touchdown pass to Stephen Young in the first quarter, and found Eugene Rogers for a 16-yard scoring toss with 2:01 remaining in the half.
The Pack received to start the third quarter, and running back J.C. Jennings sparked a 65-yard drive with several strong runs. Daniel Landon capped the march with a 1-yard run to give Greenbrier a 20-6 lead.
Evans responded with a score of its own on the next series. Cheng Ho's 55-yard run put the Knights in position, and quarterback Tim Steflik finished the job with an 8-yard pass to John Paul Stout.
The rally ended when Jennings broke off a 44-yard run to set up the Pack's final score. Jennings led all rushers with 112 yards on 12 carries, all in the second half.
With the win, Greenbrier posted its third straight triumph over Evans, and whipping the Knights never gets old.
"This is one of the biggest games of the year right here," Robinson said. "You've got thousands of people out there watching you, and everybody gets pumped up. You always want to beat a cross-town rival."
Evans will get another shot at a local rival. After an open date this week, the Knights travel to Lakeside on Sept. 12.
"We hate that we lost, but at the same time, we'll find some positives from the game and try to get better and get ready for Lakeside," Jackson said.
The Pack is back in action this week with a game against Westside at the Brierpatch. When the 7:30 p.m. kickoff arrives, Derrick is hoping to see some improvement from his squad.
"We're very fortunate, because we beat a pretty good ball club tonight," Derrick said. "Right now we're not playing hard on every play like we ought to."
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