Many self-proclaimed "experts" believe that the first act of a program will determine whether that program is a success or failure. When one considers the performance of the Greenwood Bulldogs during their first game of the season against the Sallisaw Black Diamonds, it is obvious that the Bulldogs seem destined for a spectacular season.
Greenwood began the 2013 season the way same it has ended the last three — with another victory.
The three-time defending state champion Bulldogs (1-0) won their 39th consecutive game by running up a 49-3 score on Sallisaw.
"There is not too much to complain about, but we’ll probably find something after we look at the film," Greenwood coach Rick Jones said. "We came out and executed well and we were able to get everybody in the game."
Senior quarterback Jabe Burgess — who has orally committed to the University of Tulsa — was unable to play with an injury. Burgess had broken the side of his foot during FASDOGS, the Bulldogs’ summer conditioning program. However in true Bulldog fashion, that did not stop Burgess from participating in the game. "I hauled the clipboard out there so the coaches could look at the past history. I did as much as I could. I kind of pulled some of the weight a little bit." Burgess said.
The prospect of starting the season without Burgess was not something that Bulldog Head Coach Rick Jones relished either. "Jabe is a pretty good quarterback and we’re at our best when we have Jabe." Coach Jones said. However, the head coach was happy with Burgess’ temporary replacement. "Reid [Wheeler] is that guy…he’s a smart kid, he gets the ball to the right guy. I guess he’s what the euphemists would call a game manager and I was really pleased the way he took care of the football."
Junior Reid Wheeler stepped in to the breach and the offense didn’t miss a beat. Wheeler was an efficient 16-of-21 passing for 164 yards and four touchdowns.
"Reid did a good job," Jones said. "He took care of the ball, made the right reads and threw to the right receivers. That is about all you can ask for."
The Bulldogs didn’t have to pass as much as they usually do as the ground game was effective early. Greenwood rushed 31 times for 276 yards.
"The backs looked good, and that usually means the offensive line played well," Jones said. "We’ve got some things to work on, but that’s a good start."
Austin Garnes rushed for 84 yards and a touchdown on seven carries and Hoyt Smith had 12 carries for 67 yards. Sophomore Jordan Green also made an impact by scoring touchdowns on runs of 34 and 19 yards and added a 24-yard run on just three carries.
Greenwood struck for touchdowns on its first four possessions. The Bulldogs led 14-0 after the first quarter. Wheeler tossed a 23-yard scoring pass to Taylor Halsey with 8:48 to play in the first quarter to cap a seven-play, 63-yard scoring drive that made it 7-0. Wheeler added a 53-yard touchdown pass to Smith to cap a three-play, 68-yard drive to make it 14-0 with 5:49 to play in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Greenwood scored three more touchdowns to make sure the Arkansas Activities Association mercy rule would be in effect in the second half.
Greenwood moved 76 yards in eight plays to make it 21-0 with 10:06 in the second quarter. Austin Garnes capped the drive with a 16-yard TD run.
It was 28-0 with 5:30 to play before the half when Wheeler tossed his third touchdown pass, 26 yards to Ryan Padilla. He caught four passes for 56 yards, including touchdowns of 26 and 17 yards.
Sallisaw’s only points came on a 58-yard field goal by Sinue Rodriguez in the fourth quarter.
While the Bulldogs are celebrating their win over Sallisaw, they know not to celebrate too hard. Next week the Greenwood Bulldogs will be traveling to Alma where they will face their long-time rivals, the Airedales. Greenwood has dominated the series in recent years, but Alma has a new head coach and the Junior High Airedales have beaten the Bulldogs soundly for several years in a row. The Bulldogs achieved their goal of going 1-0 last week. Now they will work hard toward going 1-0 again.
SUMMARY — Greenwood extended its winning streak to 39 games by leading 35-0 at the half and invoking the mercy rule to start the second half.
TURNING POINT — Austin Garnes’ 16-yard scoring run put Greenwood up 21-0 barely two minutes into the second quarter.
STAT — Greenwood outgained Sallisaw 440 yards to 112 yards.
High School Football
Greenwood 49, Sallisaw 3
Sallisaw 0 0 0 3 — 3
Greenwood 14 21 14 0 — 49
Gre — Hasley 23 pass from Wheeler (Jones kick), 8:48.
Gre — Smith 53 pass from Wheeler (Jones kick), 5:15.
Gre — Garnes 16 run (Jones kick), 10:06.
Gre — Padilla 26 pass from Wheeler (Jones kick), 5:30.
Gre — Green 34 run (Jones kick), 1:21.
Gre — Padilla 17 pass from Wheeler (Odell kick), 7:45.
Gre — Green 19 run (Odell kick), 2:45.
Sal — FG Rodriquez 58, 11:01.
First downs 6 20
Rushes-Yards 19-75 35-306
Comp-Att-Int 3-11-0 19-25-0
Passing Yards 37 226
Penalties-Yards 2-20 3-30
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 0-0
Rushing — Sallisaw, Wilson 9-52, Davenport 7-22, Scofus 3-1. Greenwood, Garnes 9-92, Smith 13-75, Green 3-75, Palmer 4-38, Allen 1-5, Martin 1-1, Watson 1-5, Sherrouse 1-8, Spruill 1-1, Leonard 1-6
Passing — Sallisaw, Scoufus 3-11-0 37. Greenwood, Wheeler 16-22-0 211, Watson 3-3-0 15
Receiving — Sallisaw, Thurber 2-17, Wilson 1-6. Greenwood, Padilla 4-55, Jones 3-35, Hasley 1-23, Rhea 1-12, Morgan 2-9, Palmer 1-12, Moore 2-13, Cagle 1-1, Burgess 1-2, Chapple 1-7