Last week, the Greenwood Bulldogs traveled down Highway 71 to face the Southside Rebels in what is becoming a very close rivalry. This is the second and last year with Greenwood and Southside in the same conference, but the rivalry will continue with the teams facing each other in nonconference play.
After a devastating 37-7 loss to Conway a week before, the Rebels came into the game against Greenwood looking for redemption. The Bulldogs’ famous "Bend, Don’t Break" defense was stretched to its limits from the very beginning.
Quarterback Isaac Jackson and running back Quincy Whitfield led the Rebels in a very long, 9-minute drive, converting 5 third downs on the way to a 7-0 lead. The Bulldogs answered back with a quicker, 3-minute drive highlighted by a fake punt-pass from Kevin Jones. Austin Garnes scored the tying TD making it 7-7.
Thirty seconds into the second quarter, Southside scored again. It began to look like the game would be an offensive battle until Hoyt Smith fumbled the ball on the Bulldog 41. Jackson and the Rebels only needed three plays to go ahead 21-7.
A shortened field for the Bulldogs from an excellent kick return and long pass by Burgess set up Austin Garnes for a 20 yard broken field run to close the gap to 7.
The following drive, Whitfield ran the ball right through the Bulldog defense on his way to the endzone. Nathan Pierce managed to stay with him the entire way, knocking the ball out of his hands to be recovered by Grant Morgan at the 3-yard line.
Plagued by penalties and a very tough pass defense, the Bulldogs punted the ball back to Southside. The Rebels again drove down and scored. 28-14 Southside.
Greenwood fought back down the field with their last possession of the half. With time expiring, Jabe Burgess lobbed a pass into the endzone only to have it tipped by two different Rebel defenders and a Bulldog before settling into the hands of Garrett Collins. "It was somewhat of a fortunate play," Bulldog Coach Rick Jones said. "It wasn’t anything like we called. Those two guys just went and made a play."
"The big play right before half was critical, obviously, but I was really proud of the way our kids played," Southside coach Jeff Williams said. Southside was up by a score of 28-21, had 14 first downs and 326 total yards. Greenwood only had 11 first downs and 209 yards.
The Bulldogs received the ball first to begin the second half. They started it in similar fashion to the way the Rebels started the first. They took four minutes and 14 plays to tie the game at 28.
On the following drive, Jackson missed the snap and the Bulldogs recovered it. One play later, Kevin Jones, on a lateral from Burgess, found Ryan Padilla in the endzone for a 34-yard TD. The Bulldogs finally had the lead at 35-28.
A pair of three-and-outs, one by each team, drained the clock in the third quarter. Southside found their legs again to begin the fourth quarter and scored another rushing TD. The extra point was missed, leaving Greenwood in the lead 35-34.
Hoyt Smith displayed an unlikely mix of power and finesse as he helped Greenwood increase the lead to 42-34 with his second TD of the game.
The Rebels again charged down the field and scored a touchdown. They need two points to tie the game. Isaac Jackson called for the snap and took a couple steps back like he was going to throw. He immediately had to scramble, as there were two Bulldogs about to bring him down. He broke those tackles and ran from one side of the field to the other, evading or breaking tackles by nearly every Greenwood player on the field until he found a small lane on the Southside sideline, powering into the endzone for two points. There were four minutes left in the game and the score was tied at 42. "The two-point play is one of the best plays I’ve ever seen in my life," Coach Williams said.
Burgess led the Bulldogs back out onto the field after the kickoff, hoping to drive down and win the game. His second pass was intercepted and the Rebels had the ball on the 44-yard line. The Bulldog defense forced a three-and-out, but the clock was down to 1:28 and they had 76 yards to go for the endzone.
Between handoffs and receptions, Hoyt Smith brought the Greenwood Bulldogs down to the 12-yard line. A Bulldog time-out stopped the clock with 2 seconds to play. Kevin Jones and the kicking team headed onto the field to kick the winning field goal, but Southside called a time-out, followed by a second one, hoping to freeze the kicker. "I shouldn’t even say this, but all I was thinking about was how many kicks I’ve missed in the past," Jones said. "Maybe that’s what drives me." His kick was perfect and the Bulldogs won a very hard fought rivalry game, 45-42.
The Bulldogs finished with 455 total yards to the Rebels 458.
"We were down, then ahead, and then we got caught - it was a great high school football game," Coach Jones said. "We feel really fortunate to win. We tell our guys to play every second and we sure did tonight. We didn’t start out as well as we wanted to, but we finished strong. I’m just so proud of this bunch."
Next week, the Bulldogs head to Conway to face the Wampus Cats. Conway dominated Southside 37-7 two weeks ago.
SUMMARY — Greenwood rallied from a two-touchdown deficit in the second-quarter to win.
TURNING POINT — Greenwood forced a three-and-out with 88 seconds left to set up the game-winning drive.
STAT — The teams combined for 909 yards of almost identical offense. Greenwood had 237 rushing yards and 218 passing; Southside totalled 245 rushing and 213 passing.
High School Football
Greenwood 45, Southside 42
Greenwood 7 14 14 10 — 45
Southside 7 21 0 14 — 42
Sou — Whitfield 2 run (Thomas kick), 3:10.
Gwd — Garnes 1 run (Jones kick), 1:20.
Sou — Efurd 14 pass from Jackson (Thomas kick), 11:22.
Sou — Dooly 13 pass from Jackson (Thomas kick), 8:46.
Gwd — Garnes 20 run (Jones kick), 7:20.
Sou — Barley 25 from Jackson (Thomas kick), 1:11.
Gwd — Collins 13 pass from Jones (Jones kick), 0:00.
Gwd — Smith 2 run (Jones kick), 8:10.
Gwd — Padilla 34 pass from Jones (Jones kick), 3:26.
Sou — Fernandez 10 pass from Jackson (kick failed), 10:08.
Gwd — Smith 1 run (Jones kick), 7:20.
Sou — Whitfield 1 run (Jackson run), 4:07.
Gwd — FG Jones 23, 0:00.
First Downs 23 24
Rushes-Yards 41-237 51-245
Passing Yards 218 213
Comp-Att-Int 13-24-1 13-20-0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 5-1
RUSHING — Greenwood, Smith 25-136, Garnes 12-79, Burgess 3-23, Hasley 1-(minus-1). Southside, Fernandez 13-90, Whitfield 24-87, Jackson 13-83, team 1-(minus-15).
PASSING — Greenwood, Burgess 11-22-1 150, Jones 2-2-0 68. Southside, Jackson 13-20-0 213.
RECEIVING — Greenwood, Padilla 3-50, Smith 2-50, Jones 2-31, Moore 2-15, Collins 2-12, Rhea 1-34, Hasley 1-28.
Southside, Efurd 7-129, Barley 3-45, Wooten 1-16, Dooly 1-13, Fernand 1-10.