News from the nest
05/20/03 RiverHawks Press Release
The Tennessee RiverHawks (3-4) are coming off a blow out loss against the defending champions and undefeated Ohio Valley Greyhounds. The RiverHawks lost 63-12 in a ballgame that started with the RiverHawks defense making a decisive play that was thwarted by the officials. On Ohio Valley’s first possession Bunny Jefferson intercepted Quarterback Washington’s pass and returned it 45 yards for the touchdown, but the play was negated because of a holding call. The holding call was originally told to players that it was a personal foul penalty. The personal foul call would not have negated the touchdown, but upon further discussion it was called a holding penalty. GM Garmez Parks said, “I have battled Ohio Valley for two years with two separate organizations and everytime we have played there, our teams have had a key defensive touchdown by an interception or fumble that has been called back. We never recovered from it the other night. Our players started focusing on the officiating and we lost focus of the game. Instead of us, leading 7-0, by punching them in the mouth from the opening bell, we were sent reeling to the canvas”. After the changed call the RiverHawks became deflated and lost all momentum.
The first five RiverHawks possessions consisted of two missed field goals, a safety, fumble, and loss of downs. It was not until Garrett Fowler connected on a 44-yard field goal at the 4:49 mark in the second quarter that the RiverHawks were able to get on the scoreboard. That field goal happened to be the only points in the first half for the RiverHawks. Meanwhile the Greyhounds rebounded from their rocky start to score four straight touchdowns to take a 33-3 lead at half time. The game only got worse for the RiverHawks as the Greyhounds put up 30 points in the second half. The RiverHawks finally score a touchdown when Birdie Dockery took a hand off and 25 yards for the score.
After the game Parks said, “They completely shut us down offensively. We could not run or pass and our defense got frustrated. Our running game is the best in the league, bar none, but we simply got our butts kicked in the battle of the trenches on both sides of the ball”.
The RiverHawks finished the game with 98 yards rushing and –2 yards passing. The Greyhounds had 154 yards rushing and 158 yards passing. Former Ohio Valley running back Birdie Dockery had a tough return to Wheeling rushing 8 times for 44 yards. Quarterback Steve Christie passed 11 times for 28 yards. Broderick Simpson had 10 tackles for Tennessee while James Beavers added 6 tackles. The highlight of the night for the RiverHawks was Dockery’s touchdown run in the fourth quarter which afterwards the Ohio Valley fans applauded Dockery.
The RiverHawks injuries, inability to practice due to weather, and lack of an indoor facility, finally caught up with them. They have lost 5 starters with season ending injuries, including most recently, starting QB Bryan White. The offensive line was not at 100% due to player’s job situations. When asked about whether the injuries and other circumstances affected the outcome GM Parks responded, “There is no way you could have convinced me we would have been blown out even with the injuries. But let me warn the rest of the league, forget what you think or have heard about the Greyhounds, the present incarnation of the Greyhounds is better than the team at the beginning of the year and maybe even last year”.
The Tennessee RiverHawks (3-4) look to bounce back from the tough defeat with this Saturday’s game in Laredo, TX against the Lake Charles Landsharks (6-2). The RiverHawks desperately need a win to stay in playoff contention. The game is set for May 24th at 7:30 p.m. at the Laredo Entertainment Center.