Greenwood rolls past Alma.
The Greenwood Bulldogs scored early and late, but had to hold on in between to take the final game against Alma on Friday night.
Greenwood struck for four quick first-quarter touchdowns and then held off an Alma charge before taking a 54-28 win at Citizens Bank Field at Airedale Stadium.
Greenwood (3-0) ends the 45-game rivalry, dating back to 1975, with a 13-game winning streak over the Airedales and take a 25-20 lead in the consecutive series. Alma will play Russellville in its third nonconference game next season while Greenwood is undecided as to its final nonconference opponent.
“It’s great memories over here,” Greenwood head coach Rick Jones said. “We’ve had some great games and it’s a great rivalry. Our people look forward to it, and we’re sorry it’s over.”
Friday, Greenwood struck for touchdowns on its first four possessions, pushing their first-half streak to 16 straight scoring possessions in the first half of three games this season.
Peyton Holt ran for 12 yards for Greenwood’s first score and then caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Connor Noland for a 14-0 lead exactly four minutes into the contest.
After a bad snap foiled an Alma punt attempt, Noland fired a 22-yard touchdown toss to Kade Orlicek on the first play for a 21-0 lead.
Alma answered, scoring the first touchdown in the first half this season against Greenwood’s defense, on a 57-yard touchdown bomb from Garrison Jensen to Grayson Bailey.
Greenwood countered with an 8-play touchdown drive, capped by a 4-yard scoring run by Kenny Wood.
Greenwood ran 18 plays in the opening quarter for 180 yards with 10 first downs and led 28-7.
Alma again answered, and Jensen hit Felix Wright on a 27-yard touchdown after scrambling on the third play of the second quarter.
Noland and Holt hooked up again with 6:18 left in the half on a 9-yard touchdown flip on a sweep. Greenwood missed the extra point, but the Bulldogs led 34-14.
Alma went on a 12-play drive to again answer with Jensen bursting in from two yards out after a 19-yard scramble to avoid a sack. Aidan Walker added his third extra point and Alma was within 34-21 at the half.
Alma answered in the third quarter to get even closer with Jensen hitting Brayden Johnson, who was blanketed throughout the first half, on a 67-yard touchdown toss to get within, 34-28.
Alma’s defense held Greenwood to a three-and-out and forced a punt with a possession to possibly take the lead, but Greenwood’s defense on downs at Greenwood’s 16 with 8:36 left in the third quarter.
“We played really well early and then we decided we’re not going to stop them,” Jones said. “We were going to let them run wheel routes on us all night. I give Alma a lot of credit. They had a chance to throw it in and they didn’t do it. They battled, and that’s what a rivalry game is all about; play with heart and passion and fire. It’s a great crowd and a great atmosphere, and we’re going to miss it.”
Then Greenwood scored on three straight possessions to put the game away.
Wood ran for touchdowns of 2, 2, and 1 to cap the scoring drives and push the score to the final, 54-28.
Wood finished with 23 carries for 175 yards and four scores. Noland was 21-of-31 passing for 236 yards and three touchdowns with his first interception of the year.
Jensen was 10-of-19 passing for Alma for 221 yards and three scores. Bailey snared four passes for 107 yards.