Bull­dogs’ de­fense shuts out Pan­thers

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - SPORTS - By Gra­ham Thomas Staff Writer gth­omas@nwadg.com ■

GREENWOOD — Greenwood’s de­fense gets pizza ev­ery time it records a shutout, and the Bull­dogs had to work ex­tra for it on Fri­day night.

Class 6A No. 1 Greenwood stopped Siloam Springs three times in­side the 10-yard line, and the Bull­dogs over­came a shaky per­for­mance on of­fense to de­feat the Pan­thers 38-0 on home­com­ing at Smith-Robin­son Sta­dium.

“De­fense is go­ing to want their pizza on Sun­day, I prom­ise you that,” said Greenwood coach Rick Jones. “With us turn­ing it over the way we did, they de­serve it. They made it hard on them­selves a couple of times — jump­ing off sides and stuff like that. But I was proud of the way they stopped them. In the pa­per every­body’s go­ing to read 38 to noth­ing, and they’re not go­ing to un­der­stand the real story that the de­fense re­ally played well in what we call the blue zone. They did a good job of keep­ing them out of the end zone.”

Greenwood (6-0, 3-0 6A-West) cashed in on short field po­si­tion for two of its four first-half touch­downs to take a 28-0 lead at half­time.

But the Bull­dogs also turned it over twice in the first half, in­clud­ing once on spe­cial teams and an­other when Con­nor Noland was in­ter­cepted by Tris­tan Moose.

The Bull­dogs also failed to re­cover a Siloam Springs on­side kick to open the sec­ond half, which had their head coach frus­trated.

Af­ter the game, Jones told team’s rule is it gets to en­joy a victory for a short time be­fore mov­ing on to the next op­po­nent. Jones ad­mit­ted it might be tougher than usual to en­joy this one.

“Prob­a­bly by not watch­ing the film un­til 6 o’clock in the morn­ing might be the only way to get it done,” he said. “I think by mid­night the rule is over, so I can go back to be­ing mad at mid­night.

“It was just ugly. That’s not the way we play. We turned the ball over. We had a punt hit us in the back. We had an on­side kick hit us in the hands. We jump off­sides three times on de­fense. We let peo­ple get be­hind us. It was just bad, bad foot­ball. It’s not what we preach and stress. One of the things we take pride in here is that we don’t pre­pare for an op­po­nent based on how good the op­po­nent is. We prac­tice the same num­ber of pe­ri­ods ev­ery day. We have a con­sis­tent level of ex­pec­ta­tion.

We went out there tonight and we didn’t per­form very well.”

Greenwood’s Pey­ton Holt scored three touch­downs, in­clud­ing the first two. He scored on a 16-yard touch­down pass from Noland on the Bull­dogs’ open­ing drive. Holt had an 11-yard run to put the Bull­dogs up 14-0 later in the first.

A break went Siloam Springs’ way when the Pan­thers re­cov­ered a punt deep

in Greenwood ter­ri­tory. The Pan­thers ap­peared to move even closer to the end zone on a screen pass from Lan­don El­lis to Kaiden Thrailkill, but Thrailkill fum­bled at the 8-yard line fight­ing for ex­tra yardage and Greenwood’s Ni­cholas Vota re­cov­ered.

Greenwood’s Kenny Wood ran for a pair of short touch­down runs in the sec­ond quar­ter with the sec­ond one com­ing af­ter the Bull­dogs tack­led the Siloam Springs punter, Thrailkill, at the 9-yard line.

Greenwood stopped Siloam Springs (2-4, 1-2) at the 5-yard line just be­fore half­time with a turnover on downs.

Af­ter the Pan­thers re­cov­ered the on­side kick to start the sec­ond half and drove down to the 2-yard line. The Bull­dogs stuff a pair of run attempts and Greenwood’s Trey Woods in­ter­cepted his sec­ond pass of the game to keep the shutout alive.

“They’re so good up front de­fen­sively that it just makes run­ning the foot­ball re­ally, re­ally dif­fi­cult,” Siloam Springs head coach Bryan Ross said. “When you’re down in a com­pressed field, it just makes it even harder so.

“Our kids have got noth­ing to hand their heads about. I thought they got af­ter it. Greenwood gave us a couple of chances. We just couldn’t take ad­van­tage of it. They de­serve their rank­ing. I hope our kids un­der­stand that we’ve got a month of foot­ball left, and we’ve got a chance to do some­thing down the stretch.”

Holt caught an 80-yard touch­down pass on the next play to put Greenwood ahead 35-0 and in­flict the sports­man­ship rule with 7:02 re­main­ing in the third. Holt fin­ished with four catches for 142 yards and two re­ceiv­ing touch­downs and one rush­ing TD. Noland was 10 of 17 for 205 yards. Greenwood fin­ished with 342 yards of of­fense, while Siloam Springs had 219.

“Now I give Siloam a lot of credit. They had a good plan,” Jones said. “They did some things of­fen­sively that we haven’t seen, and they did a nice job. They got af­ter us. They bat­tled us. They fought us hard. They gave us some trou­ble with their de­fense. They had a few twists and stunts that sort of slowed us down some. I give those guys a lot of credit. Coach has them play­ing hard, and fight­ing and scrap­ping and that’s what foot­ball’s all about.”

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