PIGEON FORGE — In a battle of two teams playing for pride as the regular season drew to a close Friday, Pigeon Forge found the end zone three times in the first half and tacked on a score in the second half while playing exceptional defense against Scott High, earning a 28-0 win on its home field.
The Tigers held Scott High to no first downs in the first half, and broke the game open with a pair of touchdowns late in the half.
Then, when the Highlanders had opportunities to score in the second half, Pigeon Forge stiffened its back when it mattered most to hang on for the win.
Pigeon Forge did most of its damage on the ground, rushing for 238 yards. The Highlanders had 114 rushing yards, but were hampered by two special teams fumbles that were lost to the Tigers.
While the Tigers scored on their first possession of the game, they did not find the end zone again until late in the first half. Scott’s defense more than held its own for much of the first half, forcing the Tigers into three consecutive punts. Eventually, though, Pigeon Forge began to move the football, and was able to widen the gap to 21-0 at the intermission.
While Pigeon Forge quarterback Andrew Baiamonte completed only three of nine passes for 45 yards, he found Christian Ogle for a 21-yard touchdown on the Tigers’ opening possession to give them the early lead.
Scott High fumbled the ensuing kickoff, giving Pigeon Forge possession at the Highlanders’ 45-yard-line. But Scott’s defense stood strong, preventing the Tigers from cashing in and forcing a punt.
The Highlander defense would twice more stand their ground in their own territory to force Pigeon Forge punts, but the wheels came off late in the first half, when the Tigers scored a pair of quick touchdowns.
First, Baiamonte scored on a 24-yard run to push the lead to 14-0. Then, a second fumbled kickoff gave the Tigers possession again, with a 36-yard run by Colby Manis pushing the lead to 21-0 just before the half.
The Highlanders had their best offensive success in the second half, beginning with a drive that saw them reach the Pigeon Forge red zone in the third quarter. But the Tigers intercepted a pass at their five-yard-line to turn back the scoring threat.
Later, after another Scott High defensive stand and a missed field goal by Pigeon Forge, the Tigers forced a punt that resulted in a short field and their final touchdown of the night, which came on a one-yard run by Manis.
Scott High responded with another successful drive into the Pigeon Forge red zone, getting as close as the 14-yard-line. But the drive stalled, and the ball was eventually turned over on downs.
Still later, another Scott High drive reached the Pigeon Forge eight-yard-line. But a penalty killed the drive, and again the Highlanders turned the ball over on downs.
The Highlanders’ final possession ended on downs at Pigeon Forge’s 26-yard-line.
While the loss capped the regular season for Scott High, the Highlanders will have one more game to play, after accepting a bowl invitation to play at Grace Christian Academy in Knoxville on Saturday. The Highlanders will face North Greene in an 11 a.m. kickoff.