Performing at warp speed with seemingly effortless precision, Greenwood raced past Russellville 42-7 in Friday’s regular-season finale to wrap up the 7A/6A-Central title and a home playoff date next week against Little Rock Fair.
The Bulldogs (10-0, 7-0 7A/6A-Central) scored on four of their first six possessions, but their third score arguably did the most damage. With a 14-7 second-quarter lead, Greenwood recovered a Russellville fumble deep in Cyclones territory. Two plays later, Jabe Burgess connected with Kevin Jones for a 7-yard score. Jones’ extra point gave Greenwood a 21-7 lead.
"It was a huge momentum change because they are really explosive," Greenwood coach Rick Jones said of Russellville. "They’ve got some great athletes, they have a great scheme and they’re very difficult to stop when they get space. I was so proud of the way our kids played in space tonight, but the turnover was big. We tried to do everything we could to keep them without hope and that turnover helped."
On their next possession, the Bulldogs marched 75 yards in 10 plays, capped by Cameron Palmer’s 1-yard plunge, which gave Greenwood a 28-7 halftime cushion.
In addition to forcing the first-half fumble, Greenwood’s defense held Russellville (5-5, 2-5) to 44 rushing yards in the first half and 68 for the game. Aside from an 85-yard pass from Cody Jones to Drew Smith late in the game, the Cyclones were held completely in check.
Co-Chese Temple-Laws, Russellville’s primary big-play threat, accounted for just 21 yards.
"The defense contained them," Rick Jones said. "We kept those guys in front and inside, we tackled and we pursued. Those are the things we talked about all week long."
Burgess found nine different Bulldog receivers while completing 19-of-21 for 180 yards with a TD. Austin Garnes led Greenwood on the ground with 108 yards on 16 carries and two TDs. Hoyt Smith’s 17-yard TD run late in the third quarter invoked the Arkansas Activities Association’s mercy rule.
Jones said he believes the Bulldogs have not allowed their 48-game winning streak to take on a life of its own.
"It’s a one-game season now, so you have to put everything into that and try to go 1-0. I’ve been talking about it for the last 10 weeks, and we’re at that point now," Jones said. "I know our kids think about it, but we never set out to win so many games in a row.
"We try to concentrate on playing the game the way it should be played and doing what we’re coached to do. Our kids were very efficient tonight in all three phases."
Summary — Austin Garnes rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns and Jabe Burgess completed 20-of-22 passes for 197 yards as Greenwood secured the 7A/6A-Central title with its 48th straight win.
Turning Point — Greenwood recovered a Russellville fumble deep in Cyclone territory to set up a Burgess-to-Kevin Jones touchdown connection early in the second quarter, extending the Bulldogs’ lead to 21-7.
Stat — Greenwood collected 24 first downs to Russellville’s nine.
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
GREENWOOD 42, RUSSELLVILLE 7
Russellville 7 0 0 0 — 7
Greenwood 14 14 14 0 — 42
Gwd — Garnes 4 run (Jones kick), 7:16.
Rus — Standridge 4 run (Daiber kick), 3:14.
Gwd — Palmer 1 run (Jones kick), :16.
Gwd — Jones 7 pass from Burgess (Jones kick) 9:27.
Gwd — Palmer 1 run (Jones kick), 4:51.
Gwd — Garnes 1 run (Jones kick), 7:55.
Gwd — Smith 17 run (Jones kick), 4:53.
First Downs 9 24
Rushes-Yards 18-68 42-231
Passing Yards 197 206
Comp-Att-Int 17-28-1 21-25-0
Punts-Avg. 7-30 3-40
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 0-0
Penalties-Yards 5-40 5-48
RUSHING — Russellville, T. Jones 2-18, Elam 5-16, Temple-Laws 2-10, Standridge 2-8, C. Jones 4-6, Roberson 2-6, Curtis 1-4. Greenwood, Garnes 16-100, Palmer 15-59, Smith 6-50, Allen 3-14, Burgess 2-8.
PASSING — Russellville, C. Jones 17-28-1-197; Greenwood, Burgess 20-22-0-197, Wheeler 1-3-0-9.
RECEIVING — Russellville, Smith 3-114, 7-55, T. Jones 3-14, Temple-Laws 2-11, Standridge 1-5, Elam 1-(minus-2); Greenwood, Moore 4-66, Padilla 4-35, Hasley 3-33, Collins 4-27, Cagle 1-9, Garnes 2-19, Jones 1-7, Smith 1-6, Morgan 1-4.