Gridiron Gryphons stumble against ECS

The Eagles handed the Gryphons their worst loss of the year last friday


Photo: Callie Hollis

Senior Isaac Smith adjusts his gloves during the game against Kirby earlier in the season. Smith accounted for the Gryphons’ only touchdown against the Eagles.

It was a crystal clear, 65-degree night in Collierville, Tennessee when the lights came on at Ferguson Field, known lovingly as “The Ferg.” This rivalry game between St. George’s and ECS was a game the entire student body had been looking forward to all week. Going into the game, St. George’s hadn’t been beaten by an Eagles team in five years. That streak included a stunning 42-35 upset in Cordova at Legends Field last year.

“We have to stop the run” head coach Mr. Andre Lott said in a pre-game interview. “We just take care of our jobs, take care of the ball, and we’ll be fine.”

ECS started out strong. They held St. George’s to a three-and-out on the first possession and then drove the ball 61-yards to make it 7-0. St. George’s had no response and ECS was able to score 5 more touchdowns, 4 on the ground and 1 through the air.

“I think our defense is not playing up to their potential and we need to do a little better on offense,” Parent Mr. Kevin Young said when asked about areas in need of improvement. “but as we just saw the referees are playing a big part in denying our offense,”

Gryphon fans like Mr. Young became increasingly irritated after the referees made some controversial pass interference no-calls.

“Stop [them] when they run with the ball, tackling really low,” Upper School History teacher Ms. Metz said at the half. “Don’t just stiff-arm them, actually get low. That’s how you stop people.”

The halftime clock expired and the teams ran back onto the field as both student sections got louder. The Gryphons aimed to dig themselves out of a 42 point deficit. ECS came out strong once again starting off the half with a drive culminating in a one-yard touchdown run that extended their lead to 49-0. This time, the Gryphons were able to respond with an 86-yard pass to Isaac Smith for a touchdown. Smith’s score made it 49-6 and that’s where the scoreline remained for the rest of the night. ECS outrushed St. George’s 406 to two, but St. George’s accumulated more passing yards 161 to ECS’ 48.

“Places to improve would be obviously tackling, we missed tons of those,” junior starting receiver Wes Smith said. “We also need to just simply make plays because our coaches are putting us in a great position and we just need to make plays.”

Two weeks from now, St. George’s will play its next regional game at home against Lausanne.

“We know that we have lots of work to do to prepare for a very important region game versus Lausanne,” junior Carsten Haddad, the Gryphons’ starting punter said. “This game was in a sense a wake-up call.”

“Our mentality is that the playoffs have already started,” Smith said. “Lausanne, our last region game of the year, is big. We need to win that game to have better seeding going into the playoffs. We know we can win that game, but we need to prepare extra hard.”

The Gryphons come back with a home game against a winless Bolton next Friday. The Gryphons will look to rebuild their confidence next week before heading into the final regional matchup of the year.