SHANE SHOEMAKER – Sports Writer
Facing the Oliver Springs Bobcats on Friday night, the Whitwell Tigers suffered their second consecutive loss of the season in as many weeks, losing 22-8.
The eight points scored were the second-lowest total scored by a single point in a game this season by the Tigers, with their lowest coming just a week before in their first loss to Bledsoe County.
The 22 points scored by Oliver Springs were the most points that Whitwell has allowed any opponent all season. In fact, their last three opponents have scored more than any of their previous five combined – 40 points in the first five, 59 in the last three – averaging giving up five more points per game in the last three weeks.
The Tigers’ only score of the night came off a Bobcats fumble that was recovered by senior Daniel Ashworth in the end zone, followed by a Wyatt Davis two-point conversion.
The rest of the scoring came from the Bobcats, who scored once in the first quarter and twice in the second, leaving for a scoreless second half.
On the ground and through the air, the Tigers couldn’t get much going against the Bobcats, who had shut out their last two opponents, outscoring them 99-0.
As usual, the Tigers were most effective on the ground, carrying the ball 32 times for 108 yards, while completing only three of 17 passes for 38 yards.
Bennett McDougal, who has been one of the Tigers’ most productive players this season, has had better nights this season.
The junior completed only two passes for 24 yards, while rushing the ball for 47 yards on 13 carries, his longest run being 16 yards. His biggest issue was that of turnovers, accounting for all four committed on the night by the Tigers (one interception and three fumbles).
After going 6-0 to start the season, the Tigers are now on a two-game losing skid, where the last portion of their season isn’t being too kind to them.
The good news for the Tigers is that their two losses were by non-region opponents. Their next two will be, however.
This was the second game of a four-game road schedule to end the season, with their next game coming at Chattanooga Prep (2-5, 1-1) and their biggest test remaining on the schedule, the No. 1-ranked South Pittsburg Pirates (7-0, 2-0).
Thankfully for the Tigers, they’ll have a bye week this Friday.