By DAVID CLAYBOURN
Greenville’s defense could face its toughest test yet when the Lions take on the Wylie East Raiders tonight in Wylie.
The two teams will battle at 7:30 at Wylie ISD Stadium, where the Lions lost 50-7 last week to the Wylie Pirates.
Wylie East ranks No. 1 in the Metroplex among Class 4A offenses at 498.2 yards per game. Wylie East’s receiver Marcell Ateman is the leading 4A receiver in the Metroplex with 40 catches for 721 yards and 11 touchdowns. Raider quarterback Garrett McCain is No. 3 in the area in passing, having thrown for 1,574 yards and 20 touchdowns. McCain is 100-of-189 with three interceptions. Running back Jabari Anderson ranks fifth in rushing with 820 yards and six touchdowns on 128 carries.
“They’re very good offensively,” said Lions coach Marvin Sedberry. “They’ve got those two receivers, a quarterback, a running back. They’ve got probably the best running back we’ve seen.”
“They’ve got a good, solid offense. We’ve got to generate a little offense,” he said.
The Lions are averaging just 176.7 yards and 8.8 points per game but they’re facing a defense that’s allowed 34.2 points per game. Wylie East has beaten Red Oak (52-21), Denton Ryan (34-31), Denison (57-36) and Wylie (46-38) and has lost 30-10 to Frisco Liberty and 49-38 last week to Sherman.
Wylie East generated 626 yards of total offense in the loss to Sherman, including 3365 rushing and 291 passing. The Raiders never punted in that game but lost a fumble and an interception.
McCain was 16-of-37 for 291 yards, four touchdowns and one interception in that game, plus rushed for 104 yards on 18 carries.
Anderson pounded out 226 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries.
Quan Jones led the Raider receivers with six catches for 179 yards and three touchdowns.
However, the Raiders surrendered 505 yards to Sherman. Bearcat quarterback Dru Smith was 20-of-26 passing in that game for 349 yards and five touchdowns as two Bearcat receivers went over the 100-yard mark.
Greenville’s offense allowed 368 yards to Wylie last week with 189 on the ground and 179 through the air.
The Lions finished with 154 total yards. Greenville’s only touchdown was on a 17-yard pass from quarterback Marquist Davis to wide receiver Eric Quiroz.
Greenville lost three fumbles and three interceptions in that game.
“Sometimes you try to do more than what you can do,” said Sedberry. “Lack of concentration and frustration.”
The long season is taking a toll on the 0-6 Lions, who’ve lost their last 26 games. They started the season with more than 50 players on the roster but are now down to 34, according to Sedberry. They’ve lost a bunch of players to injuries, plus four to grades and some more who’ve quit the program.
“We’ve definitely got some kids hurt, especially defensively,” he said.