Greenville’s hopes of a perfect record were disrupted by Wetumpka on Friday night, who came into the game “hungry” for a win after the game was also set as Greenville’s homecoming.
“They put us as homecoming,” said Wetumpka quarterback Nate Rogers. “We take that as disrespectful, so we were hungry. Had to get the job done.”
The visiting Indians shocked the home team, forcing five turnovers and handling Greenville’s offense, upsetting the Tigers 28-8 in front of their home crowd.
Coming into the game, Greenville had not allowed more than 12 points in a game. By halftime, Wetumpka had found the end zone three times and led 21-8.
It was behind a performance that saw the Indians force five turnovers in the game.
“It’s huge,” said Wetumpka head coach Tim Perry “Turnovers like that are momentum builders and momentum killers. When you turn it over, it kind of kills your momentum. When you’re able to force turnovers, it just gives you a lot of momentum and confidence.”
After a pair of three-and-outs to start the game for Wetumpka, the offense got the spark it needed on Greenville’s second possession.
On a 2nd-and-8 from its 33-yard line, Greenville had a pass deflected into the air. Wetumpka came down with the ball for the interception, returning it to the Greenville 18-yard line.
The Indians’ offense trotted onto the field and six plays later, running back Stone Minnifield punched the ball across the goal line for the score.
It put Wetumpka up 7-0, quieting the Greenville crowd early.
“When you go on the road and you come to a place that has great tradition, has had a lot of success here, it’s big to get started fast,” Perry said. “To be able to get on the board and get our confidence up, it was really big.”
A few possessions later, Greenville fumbled and Wetumpka jumped on the loose ball to grab its second turnover of the game. Wetumpka took over around midfield, looking to extend its lead.
However, momentum was halted when the drive was plagued with penalties.
The Indians had four penalties in a row, forcing the offense in the wrong direction and eventually leading to a punt.
Greenville’s offense was unable to find the end zone on its ensuing possession but moved the ball enough to pin Wetumpka deep in its territory on a punt.
With the ball at its five-yard line, Wetumpka went three-and-out.
It flipped the field and the Tigers took over with favorable field position to start their drive around midfield. They capitalized on the first play, with a 63-yard touchdown pass.
Following a successful two-point conversion, Greenville took the lead, 8-7.
Quinn Wilson reignited the spark for Wetumpka on his kickoff return, with a solid return out to near the 50-yard line.
The Indian’s offense orchestrated a six-play, 51-yard drive, highlighted by a connection from Rogers to his receiver Quashawn Wright for 48 yards.
It placed the ball inside the 10-yard line before Wetumpka regained the lead on Minnifield’s second rushing touchdown of the night, this time from a few inches outside the goal line.
The score put Wetumpka up 14-8 with 1:14 left on the clock until halftime. The Indians weren’t done scoring in the first half, though.
On the first pass attempt on Greenville’s drive, Tré Seabon picked off the pass for Indians. He nearly returned it for a touchdown but was knocked out of bounds at the six-yard line.
It wasn’t long before Wetumpka found the end zone again, going up 21-8 at the midway point.
Out of the locker rooms, Greenville began moving the ball as best as it had all night on the first possession of the second half. The Tigers reached the Wetumpka 24-yard line, before a sack, incompletions and a bad snap had the Tigers back at the Wetumpka 41-yard line.
Greenville had multiple opportunities to get back in the game in the second half, but the Indians’ defense continued to lock down and force mistakes.
The Tigers also had their fair share of mistakes, one of which cost them a touchdown.
Greenville blocked a Wetumpka punt and originally returned it for a touchdown, but a block in the back penalty took the score away.
Instead, the Tigers had the ball inside enemy territory at the 24-yard line.
A couple of plays later, Greenville finally caught a break, with a tip-drill pass that put the ball at the 1-yard line.
Mistakes once again cost the Tigers an opportunity to score, with a pair of false start penalties and a fumble that gave the ball back to Wetumpka.
Nonetheless, Greenville’s defense did its job in forcing a three-and-out, but tragedy struck for the Tigers when they muffed the punt and Wetumpka jumped on its fifth turnover.
The Indians drove the length of the field and scored again to extend their lead to the eventual final, 28-8.
“So proud of our guys,” Perry said. “We keep building and building, keep going in the right direction.”