Last Thursday night the Greenwood Junior High Bulldogs improved to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in River Valley Conference play after a convincing 29-6 victory over the Chaffin Cougars of Fort Smith. The game was played at Greenwood’s Smith-Robinson Stadium.
After three weeks of home games, the Jr. ‘Dogs will play three of their next four contests on the road, starting this coming Thursday at Fort Smith Northside’s Mayo-Thompson Stadium against the Kimmons Raiders.
Against Chaffin, the Bulldogs won the opening coin toss and elected to kick, giving the Cougars the football at their own 39. Seven plays later the visitors were in the end zone, scoring on an 8-yard run.
The biggest play of the drive was a 31-yard pass completion. However, Greenwood’s Adian Gray and Storm Scherrey broke through the line to block the extra point try, keeping the score at 6-0.
A pair of quick turnovers followed before Greenwood scored to take the lead midway through the opening quarter. The Bulldogs fumbled the kickoff return with Chaffin making the recovery at the Greenwood 28. But that was followed by a pass interception by Jake Glover, giving the ball back to the home team at the Greenwood 38.
Three snaps later the Jr. ‘Dogs were in the end zone. The first play was good for 11 yards, a pass from Hunter Houston to Aiden Kennon. The second snap resulted in a 10-yard QB keeper by Houston, reaching the Chaffin 41.
The touchdown came on the next play, a scoring burst right through the heart of the visiting defense by Storm Scherrey. Kicker J.T. Stanfill added the extra point for a 7-6 Greenwood lead (4:30).
On the Cougars’ next possession they were stopped on a fourth down attempt at their own 43, giving Greenwood excellent field position, leading to the ‘Dogs second score.
After a penalty moved the ball back to the Chaffin 48, Storm Scherrey rambled for 14 yards to the 34 before Houston ran to the 28 on a QB keeper. Two snaps later, from the 29, Houston passed to Kennon at the 10-yard-line.
After a pair of loses back to the 20, Houston ran to the five as the contest moved into the second quarter. Facing fourth down and goal, the ‘Dogs chose not to kick a field goal. Houston then executed a great pass fake to the left, handing the ball off to Scherrey instead, who scored untouched around right end. The PAT was good.
Leading 14-6, Greenwood had one other scoring chance late in the second quarter after a 73-yard drive. But a 24-yard field goal try failed on the final play of the half.
While the Greenwood defense continued to rule the Cougars’ offense in the second half, the ‘Dogs offense added another pair of touchdowns. It could have been more, however. Greenwood lost a fumble deep in Chaffin territory on the opening drive of the third quarter.
But with 4:03 left in the period, Greenwood got the ball back and drove 86 yards in 10 plays, scoring on a seven-yard run by Colton Castillow. The biggest play of the possession was a 27-yard pass from Houston to Scherrey on third-and-14. Scherrey then rambled 18 yards on the next snap, reaching the Chaffin 25.
Jake Glover then ran twice to the 17 before Castillow carried to the seven. He scored on his next touch. A bad snap on the extra point turned out in Greenwood’s favor when holder Brett Wood scooped up the ball and scored around right end for two points.
The Jr. Bulldogs then took their 22-6 lead into the fourth quarter, and the Greenwood defense allowed just one more first down to the Cougars. With 6:58 remaining to play, the home team began its last scoring drive.
From the Chaffin 40, the Bulldogs needed six plays to reach the end zone. Scherrey ran for five yards before Houston kept the ball for a nice gain to the 20.
After a penalty to the 25, Castillow ran twice to the 16. Houston then scored on a QB draw up the middle with Stanfill adding the extra point for the 29-6 victory.
Later, Greenwood Head Coach Shannon Rhea talked about the win, giving due deference to the talent and speed of the Cougars.
“They had some really good running backs,” he said. “They got to us early, but we settled down and tackled pretty well after that. [Our defense] adjusted to [their] speed.”
Coach Rhea also liked what he saw from his offense. “Our blocking was really [good] all the way around – our receivers, running backs, and linemen. We were spreading them out, and we were able to hurt [Chaffin] up the middle.”
The coach also talked about his team’s season-long ability to create turnovers, especially interceptions. “Our defense has been pretty clutch on [turnovers]. They are moving around and flying to the ball, and that’s creating a lot of those turnovers.”
Rhea also spoke of his team’s next opponent, the Kimmons Raiders. “They’re athletic,” he said. “They’re going to spread us out. They’re good athletes, so it’s going to be a good game.”
As for the River Valley Conference race, the defending champs remain unbeaten through two games. “We’re off to a good start,” said the coach. “That was a big win,” referring to Chaffin.
On the injury front, Greenwood has already lost one player for the remainder of the season and the staff has promoted three eighth graders to provide some much-needed depth.
“Javon [Williamson] was out last week with a concussion, but we’re hoping to get him back on Monday,” said Rhea, referring to his starting running back. “Everybody should be good to go next week.”