YELLVILLE -- There was no home-field advantage on Friday night when the Green Forest Tigers rolled into Yellville-Summit to tangle with the Panthers in the opening game of each team's football season.
The Tigers held firm to the ground attack and handed the home team Panthers a 39-12 loss.
Green Forest fielded an on-side kick to start the game. Ten plays later, sophomore Bryan Soto punched the ball in the end zone for the first score. The extra point was good and the Tigers held a 7-0 lead at the 6:36 mark in the first quarter.
Yellville-Summit's first possession ended after a three-and-out with short running yards from quarterback Eli Cagle and running back Kirk Knapp.
The Tigers continued marching down the field on the next possession. Soto added up 23 yards on two carries while Barrett Phillips added 14 yards on three carries. Fourth down forced the Tigers to send Soto in to kick a 27-yard field goal. Soto split the uprights and gave the visiting team a 10-0 advantage with 1:33 remaining in the first quarter.
A penalty on the ensuing kickoff pinned the Panthers on their own 14-yard line to begin their second drive. A heavy dose of Cagle running keepers helped move the chains until they crossed midfield. The next four plays resulted in a four-and-out to turn over the ball on downs.
Green Forest was then held to three yards on three plays and were forced to punt the ball.
Sam Robinson returned the punt for Yellville-Summit and brought the ball past midfield to the Green Forest 47-yard line.
Robinson had his number called again on the first play of the drive. Cagle connected on a pass up the middle with his senior teammate for a 47-yard pass play for a touchdown to get the Panthers on the scoreboard, trailing 10-6. The two-point conversion was stopped short.
The Tigers continued to push the ball up the middle of the field on their next drive including a 10-yard pass from Reiley Gordon to Soto for a first down.
A 20-yard run from Phillips set up first and goal for the Tigers and Gordon pushed forward for a one-yard gain to collect Green Forest's second touchdown of the game. The Tigers pushed in the end zone for the two-point conversion and held a 12-point lead, 18-6, with 3:31 remaining in the first half.
Yellville-Summit began the their next drive on their own 24-yard line and went back to the same play with Robinson.
This time Cagle hit Robinson in stride for a 76-yard touchdown pass to get the home crowd cheering. The conversion was short of the goal line and the Panthers inched closer, trailing 18-12.
Neither team scored the remainder of the first half.
Only one team scored in the second half.
Green Forest took advantage of a Panther fumble to start the third quarter and put together a five-play drive sparked by a 55-yard run by Soto. Soto gained the final yard facing fourth and one to move the scoreboard for his second time of the game. Gordon pushed ahead for the two-point conversion and the Tigers held a 26-12 edge with just under 8 minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Another turnover on downs by Yellville-Summit led to another Soto touchdown for Green Forest just five minutes later. Soto then kicked his own extra point to give the Tigers a 33-12 lead.
Yellville-Summit ended their next possession with an interception after reaching midfield.
Soto got the pick for the Tigers.
Green Forest burned close to five minutes off the clock in the fourth quarter before Soto put a 10-yard run into the end zone. Phillips collected 24 yards on two runs during the drive.
The extra point was blocked and the Tigers were looking at a 39-12 lead.
Neither team was able to affect the score the rest of the way and Green Forest opened their season with a 39-12 road win over the Panthers.
Green Forest will return to Bill Gotto Field to host the Tigers of Commerce, Okla. next Friday in their second game.
Yellville-Summit will travel to Salem to battle with the Greyhounds.