It’s been a good series between Greenwood and Shiloh Christian.
Greenwood will host the final installment tonight of the rivalry between two of the most successful programs in the entire state the last two decades.
Greenwood and Shiloh Christian have each won seven state championships with the Saints winning their first in 1998 and the Bulldogs winning their first in 2000. During the past 18 years, Shiloh Christian has won 184 games and Greenwood has won 182.
Only Charleston, Harding Academy and Nashville have won more during that span.
Shiloh Christian will not petition to play in the 5A-West next year and will drop to 4A. Greenwood will remain in 6A and play Springdale, Northside and Southside in nonconference play.
"It’s been a really good game," Greenwood head coach Rick Jones said. "I hate to see it go. They have a great place to play up there with a great atmosphere. We’re really going to miss it."
Greenwood holds a 6-3 edge against Shiloh Christian in the nine-year history of the series that developed into one of the most exciting rivalries in the state in a short time.
"It really has," Jones said. "We haven’t had too many boring games, they’ve been high scoring."
Greenwood won a 55-51 shootout in 2009 and a 45-42 slugfest in 2005. Shiloh Christian won a thrilling 49-48 game in 2006.
"It’s been a really competitive game," Jones said. "There have been times where they’ve got us pretty good, and there have been times where we’ve got them pretty good. Then, we had a one-point up there. It’s been a competitive hard fought game that our kids look forward to every year."
The last team to beat the Bulldogs was Siloam Springs in the fourth week of the 2010 season. The week before, Shiloh Christian rolled past Greenwood 48-27 behind quarterback Kiehl Frazier.
Greenwood has beaten the Saints 52-21 and 55-0 since then, but Shiloh Christian is bringing another capable team to Greenwood this year.
"(Shiloh coach) Josh (Floyd) told me this summer that they were going to be a lot better, and they really are," Jones said. "They’ve got some guys that can really play. The quarterback is playing really well. They have five or six guys that can play all over the field."
Led by quarterback Daniel Shimer, who was stuck behind Austin Allen at Fayetteville and transferred to Shiloh Christian after his freshman season, the Saints have rolled to 1,018 yards in two games.
In a 35-35 tie against Siloam Springs in the season opener, Shimer ran for 270 yards, including touchdown runs of 92 and 72 yards. He also passed for 207 yards and two touchdowns.
Last week, Shimer passed for 120 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 68 yards in a 44-7 win against Broken Bow, Okla.
"He can run, and he can throw," Jones said. "He competes hard. He’s a tough competitor."
Greenwood quarterback Jabe Burgess paces the Bulldogs’ offense and has shaken off most of the rust from a six-week layoff from a broken bone in his foot.