Bulldogs’ defense shuts out Panthers
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.”