Coming off a tough road loss at Harrison a week earlier, the Greenwood Junior High Bulldogs returned to form last Thursday at Van Buren, winning 35-8 over the Jr. Pointers. With Harrison almost sure to claim the River Valley Conference championship, the Jr. ‘Dogs are still playing for pride with a chance to finish strong in second place.
The contest was played at Van Buren’s Blakemore Field, but Greenwood owned the first two quarters, rolling to a 35-0 lead at the break, invoking the mercy rule for the second half.
A long TD run by Javon Williamson was followed by four touchdown passes for Greenwood. Missing their fourth PAT kick, they later converted on a two-point conversion to reach 35 points just before the half ended.
The visitors received the opening kick of the game, returned to the Greenwood 43 by Williamson. Then on first down, the freshman running back took the handoff and found ample running room off left tackle all the way to the end zone, a 57-yard scoring sprint. The kick by J.T. Stanfill was good for a 7-0 lead.
Three possessions later, after the Jr. ‘Dogs recovered a fumble at their own 33-yard-line, they scored again on first down. Quarterback Hunter Houston found receiver Aiden Kennon over the middle for a wide-open touchdown reception and run. The kick was good for a 14-0 Greenwood lead.
Early in the second stanza, defensive back Tommy Lawyer picked off a Van Buren pass at the Greenwood 39, setting up the team’s next score three plays later, despite a pair of procedure penalties against the ‘Dogs.
The touchdown came on a pass from Storm Scherrey to Williamson coming out of the backfield. The Greenwood running back caught the ball at the 22, then found the sideline on his way to the end zone. The kick was good.
Leading 21-0, Greenwood scored twice more before the half ended. With the defense continuing to keep the Pointers at bay, the Bulldogs scored again just moments later after a Van Buren punt.
Again, on first down from their own 31, the Jr. Bulldogs struck quickly on a deep pass from Houston to Scherrey, who caught the ball near the Van Buren 40 before sprinting to the end zone. The extra point failed, and Greenwood led 27-0.
The final score of the first half came at the end of a five-play drive. On first down Aiden Kennon made a nice catch of a low toss and turned it into a 23-yard gain to the Van Buren 44. He also caught a pass on the next play to the 33.
After a pair of incompletions, receiver Brett Wood got wide open and caught the touchdown from Scherrey. With the score 33-0, Head Coach Shannon Rhea called for a two-point conversion attempt, a trick play that ended with a short scoring pass from Scherrey to receiver Tanner McKusher, making it 35-0 at the half.
The only score of the second half belonged to Van Buren after a 94-yard drive against Greenwood’s reserve defense. The 11-play drive consumed most of the fourth quarter, with the clock running almost non-stop. A two-point conversion followed the 18-yard touchdown pass, making the final margin, 35-8.
The win improved Greenwood’s season record to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in River Valley Conference play. Afterward, Coach Rhea expressed his pleasure with the victory and his team’s execution.
“We did play well,” said the coach. “We made some big plays offensively. Van Buren was really coming up hard on our short passing game, and we were able to hit them deep.”
Up next for Greenwood is the season finale at home against Alma, a traditional rivalry game. Coach Rhea and his players are quite aware of the history between the two schools, both on the varsity and junior high levels. A victory over the Jr. Airedales is always a nice way to end the season.
“As far as Alma goes, we always look forward to this game,” said Coach Rhea. “Hopefully we can close this season out with a win.”