The Greenwood Bulldogs defeated Pine Bluff Friday night to capture its eighth state title.
The Bulldogs were down early in the contest as the Zebras of Pine Bluff drove 80 yards down the field before connecting on a 43 yard touchdown pass. This gave the Zebras a 7-0 lead three minutes into the game.
Greenwood answered back less than thirty seconds later after senior running back, Kenny Wood, found a seam up the middle and took the ball 73 yards to the house. After a Grant Ennis field goal, the Bulldogs were knotted up with the Zebras 7-7.
The Greenwood defense came up big like they have all year, forcing a punt from the dangerous Pine Bluff offense. The Bulldogs took their first lead of the game with 5:13 left in the first quarter after Grant Ennis knocked in a thirty yard field goal. This field goal put Greenwood up 10-7, and they did not look back.
After another three and out from the Bulldogs, Kenny Wood scored from five yards out with the help of a push by his offensive line. Greenwood had the momentum now, and they were up 17-7 with 2:28 left in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs and Zebras then traded interceptions as Greenwood’s Aaron Ohl picked off Pine Bluff and Isiah Singleton picked off the Bulldogs. This did not discourage the strong Greenwood defense as they forced yet another three and out and made the Zebras punt.
Greenwood scored just two plays later after Connor Noland found his favorite target, Peyton Holt, wide open in the middle of the field for a 49 yard touchdown. Ennis converted the PAT to put Greenwood up 24-7 with 11:51 left in the first half.
Once again the relentless defense of Greenwood came up big, as senior Nick Vota intercepted Pine Bluff at the Zebra 39 yard line. Noland then completed three straight passes, which led to a Kade Orlichek 22 yard touchdown completion to put Greenwood up 31-7.
Once again Greenwood and Pine Bluff traded turnovers. Trey Woods picked off the Zebras, but after a Zane Harmon fumble, Pine Bluff had the ball right back. The turnover led to seven points for the Zebras as they hammered the ball in from one yard out to bring the halftime score to 31-14.
Greenwood came out of halftime with their foot still on the pedal as Jackson Webb ran the ball 57 yards for the touchdown just a minute into the second half. Just three minutes later, Greenwood put the nail in the coffin as Noland hit Wood on a 45 yard pass for a touchdown. This touchdown put Greenwood up 45-14.
The next touchdown was a big one as it enforced the mercy rule. Noland found Holt again, this time from nine yards out for the touchdown. This touchdown was the last of the ball game, and it gave Greenwood the 52-14 win.
Greenwood quarterback, Connor Noland, finished the game going 20/27 with 304 yards and four touchdowns. Peyton Holt finished with an outstanding 197 yards and two touchdowns. Kenny Wood added 103 yards to his total for the year. Nick Vota led the Bulldog defense with 13 tackles and Travis Cox added ten tackles. The Bulldog defense finished with ten tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
This State Title is Greenwood’s eighth all time and their seventh in the last 14 years.