The Greenwood Bulldogs unleashed their sack attack on El Dorado on Friday night.
The defense set the tone early in Greenwood’s 44-27 win in the Bulldogs’ first true road trip of the season.
The win was the 299th career victory as a head coach for Rick Jones, including a remarkable 167-24 in 15 years at Greenwood.
Friday, Greenwood used sacks on El Dorado’s first three possessions to stymie the Wildcats’ offense.
In all, the Bulldogs recorded six sacks in the game. Travis Cox, Austin Archer and Morgan Hanna all had a sack-and-a-half. Cole Erwin had a sack, and Bryce Womack was in on a sack.
“Sacks flat kill you,” Jones said. “You lose yardage and you lose a down. They had 10 possessions and six of them were three-and-outs. A lot of it was based on getting sacks and lost yardage and getting behind on the sticks. I was pleased with the way our kids played. They were ready to go. We were a long way from perfect, but they played well.”
Following those three scoreless possessions for El Dorado, Greenwood answered with three touchdowns courtesy of big plays.
Quarterback Peyton Holt’s 58-yard run set up Hunter Wilkinson’s 1-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead. Holt then hit Treyton Dawson on touchdown tosses of 19 and 67 yards for a 21-0 cushion with 7:30 left in the half.
Greenwood led, 44-14, before El Dorado scored two late touchdowns.
In the process of Friday’s victory, kicker Grant Ennis booted a 28-yard field goal and was 5-for-5 on extra points to set the state’s career record for points by a kicker with 226, according to the Arkansas Activities Association’s Record Book.
“It’s pretty amazing,” Jones said. “Consistent isn’t really the right word, what he’s been is amazingly on the path to improvement. He’s just gotten better every year. He’s worked hard at it. He’s been to camps. He’s been to clinics. I really appreciate his desire to keep getting better. It’s paid off.”
Just as importantly as the points, this year he’s also boomed 27 of 35 kickoffs into the end zone, which in high school is an automatic touchback and forces the opposing team to begin it’s possession at the 20-yard line.
“He takes a lot of pride in kicking the ball into the end zone,” Jones said.
Ennis is 5-for-5 on field goals and 23-for-23 on extra points this season, and 160-of-167 in extra points and 22-of-25 on field goals in his career with a long of 41 yards.
“He’s been so consistent,” Jones said. “The field goals you have to make are the ones you have to make. If you make a 50-yarder, great, but when you get to the 20-yard line and you need that 37-yard field goal, that’s huge.”
This year, Nathan Nethers has been the deep snapper for Ennis while Jackson Stewart holds.
Greenwood travels to Siloam Springs on Friday night.
The Alma Airedales put together its best game of the season with combined special teams, offense and defense in Friday’s 35-28 win at Farmington.
Special teams covered a pooch kick that led to the decisive touchdown, the defense intercepted a pass in the end zone that squelched a potential scoring drive and the offense had a 200-yard night both passing and rushing.
Alma led 14-7 when Farmington threatened to score just before the half. From Alma’s 13, Tanner Shelton ended the drive with an interception in the end zone.
Then with Alma up, 28-21, after Keegan Rosebeary scored on a 41-yard run, Coltin Bowerman covered the kickoff on a pooch kick.
“It was supposed to be higher, and he came in there and got it and rolled,” Alma head coach Doug Loughridge said. “That was a momentum change right there.”
Shelton then scored on a 23-yard run with 4:51 left to push Alma’s lead to 35-21.
Rosebeary ran for 106 yards and became the first Airedales’ running back to eclipse the 100-yard mark this season and just the second in the past three years.
“I think he’s starting to figure it out being his first season as the primary tailback,” Loughridge said. “Our offensive line, we knew that it was going to be our strength and having the patience to stay with the running game.”
It’s also taken time away from defense, though, for Rosebeary at linebacker. Rosebeary did have five tackles on Friday with a sack.
“He is full-time on offense but we sprinkle him in on defense some,” Loughridge said. “We’ve had him at pass-rush end. He’s one of our best 11 on defense.”
Karsten Beneux also had a sack for a big loss of 15 yards. Josh Davis had a fumble recovery.
Seth Cole was perfect on five extra-point attempts.
Alma hits the road again on Friday for a key 5A-West matchup at Morrilton.
“This is a big one,” Loughridge said. “We wanted to be 2-0 in the conference going into Morrilton. A win against them gives Morrilton two losses. That puts us still in the driver’s seat with Harrison.”
Van Buren head coach Casey Dick will use Friday’s 44-0 loss to Bentonville as a learning opportunity for his young Pointers this week.
“We have to trust ourselves, that’s going to be the message to our kids,” Dicks said. “You have to trust yourself and your technique. You can’t play a step slower against a fast team like that.”
Van Buren was just down 10-0 with the ball and at midfield as halftime was approaching when a third-down pass down the middle, which would have gained enough yards for a first down and probably a lot more, was dropped.
Van Buren punted, and Bentonville returned it 80 yards for a touchdown. On the next series, four plays later, Bentonville returned an interception 65 yards for a touchdown.
In just 28 seconds, Bentonville’s lead ballooned from 10-0 to 23-0. The Tigers then scored three straight touchdowns in the third quarter to salt the win away.
“We were waiting on things to happen, waiting for something big to happen when we have to go make it happen,” Dick said. “Against a team like that, you can’t do it. You have to go make things happen.”
Van Buren travels to Fayetteville on Friday.