Gen­try comes up short to Green­land in high-scor­ing tilt

Faulken­berry scores seven TDs in Pioneer loss

Westside Eagle-Observer - - SPORTS - By Steve An­drews

GREEN­LAND — The guy fir­ing the cel­e­bra­tory can­non had to stay on high­alert at Green­land Sta­dium on Fri­day night. It has been a long-stand­ing tra­di­tion that the small mounted ar­tillery at the south­west cor­ner of the field be fired af­ter each Pirates touch­down.

By the end of the night, 11 loud pops echoed through the warm night air as Green­land and Gen­try put on a near-record of­fen­sive show­case in the non­con­fer­ence clash. The Pirates pulled an old hook-and-lat­eral play out of the bag late to win it in reg­u­la­tion by a wild score of 76-71.

It was the most com­bined points scored in a reg­u­la­tion high school foot­ball game ever in North­west Ar­kan­sas, and the sec­ond­most ever be­tween two Ar­kan­sas prep teams. Only Foun­tain Lake’s 88-66 vic­tory over Hot Springs Lake­side in 2008 pro­duced more to­tal points. Nashville beat Id­abel, Okla., last sea­son 91-63.

The Pirates and Pi­o­neers com­bined for 1,093 yards of to­tal of­fense, with Green­land rack­ing up 602 of those — 358 on the ground and 244 through the air.

“I’ve never been a part of any­thing quite like that be­fore,” said Green­land coach Lee Larkan, who has been coach­ing for 28 years, in­clud­ing the last 17 with the Pirates. “When I was an assistant, I think I was part of a 6- or 7-over­time game one time that got into the 50s. And I thought that was quite a bit.”

Both of­fenses hit stride early, blaz­ing to a 21-21 dead­lock in the first quar­ter. Af­ter Gen­try (2-1) took a 28-21 lead with 10 min­utes, 37 sec­onds to play in the first half, Green­land put 28 unan­swered points on the board in a span of 8:38, roar­ing to a 49-35 lead at the in­ter­mis­sion.

“Going into the game, we thought we would have to score in the 40s to win,” Larkan said with a chuckle. “We didn’t know we would have to have that at the half.”

Se­nior quar­ter­back Jon Faulken­berry kept Gen­try on the move all night long, throw­ing for two touch­downs and run­ning for seven more. He car­ried the ball 23 times for 169 yards. That didn’t in­clude TD runs of 68 and 51 yards that he had called back for hold­ing penal­ties.

The Air Force Academy tar­get has now ac­counted for 19 touch­downs this sea­son in just 2½ games for the Pi­o­neers.

Faulken­berry seemed to land the fi­nal knock­out punch for Gen­try when he scored from 15 yards out with 2:07 left in the game, pulling his team within 7069. The Pi­o­neers de­cided to go for the lead in­stead of the tie, with a two-point con­ver­sion at­tempt. Faulken­berry again ran it in for a 71-70 lead.

The de­ci­sion was a no­brainer for Pi­o­neers thirdyear coach Paul Ernest.

“When Green­land went up 70-63 late in the fourth quar­ter, I told our guys that if they could just get us one more, we would go for two to try and win it,” said Ernest. “We were ei­ther going to win 71-70 or lose it 70-69.

“We just scored a lit­tle too quickly and gave them some time. They made a play right there at the end.”

Green­land (3-0) was down to a fourth-and-9 des­per­a­tion play at its own 28 with less than two min­utes on the clock. Se­nior quar­ter­back Austin An­der­son com­pleted a short out route to Jonas Mackey, who then spun and pitched to a trail­ing Chan­dler Alaniz on a clas­sic hook-and-lat­eral play. Alaniz then raced 67 yards to the Gen­try 9. Hay­den Stout then went around the left end for the game-win­ning touch­down to cap one of the wildest games in state his­tory.

“We knew Faulken­berry was a great player and we would have to score quite a few points to win,” An­der­son said. “At half­time, some­one said, ‘We are going to have to score 80 to win this game,’ and it al­most came to that.

“When we got back to the locker room af­ter the game, some of us kind of teared up a lit­tle bit, be­cause we were just so proud as a team to have kept fight­ing to the end and pull it out.”

File Photo by Randy Moll

Gen­try quar­ter­back Jon Faulken­berry runs the ball dur­ing a home game against Lavaca ear­lier in the sea­son.

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