Alma rallied after Greenbrier capitalized on a pair of big plays and held off the Panthers 30-20 Thursday night at Airedale Stadium.
It was the final non-conference game for Alma, who face Chaffin next week to start River Valley play.
"Chaffin has a great defense and (the Cougars) run the ball… a lot," said Alma coach JD Coursey. "It could be one of those games that is over quickly."
The Airedales had back-to-back interceptions in the first half. The first was returned 35 yards by Hunter Milligan to the Alma 3. Alma’s defense came up with two big stops, but Carter Burcham hit Jason Hill for a five-yard strike on a fourth down. Burcham connected with Cody Hopper for the two-point conversion and Greenbrier cut Alma’s lead by more than half, 14-8 with 4:34 remaining in the second quarter.
After Hopper returned the kickoff to the Alma 46, Greenbrier tied up the game to start the second half as Burcham found Alex Massey for a 30-yard strike with 5:24 remaining. Alma halted the two-point conversion to keep the score tied, 14-14.
Alma returned with back-to-back scoring drives. Noah Dotson had touchdown passes of 33 and 62 yards. Dotson added a pair of two-point conversions as well, including high pass that seemed more like a jump shot to hit Dean Whitmire in the back of the end zone behind several defenders. Alma led 30-14 4:58 left in the game.
"That was the key," said Coursey. "A sign of a good team is one that respond like that and score when it needed to."
Greenbrier responded with the longest drive of the night (11 plays) which ended on a five-yard run by Hopper after Burcham hit Massey with a 25-yard strike.
The Panthers picked off another interception late in the second quarter, but the Alma defense made a stop on a fourth-and-2 with a sack by Jacob Davis and Cordel Thompson.
Alma led 14-0 a one-yard run by Dotson.
The Airedales finished with 291 yards on 36 plays. Dotson was 5 of 9 passing for 164 yards and three touchdowns.
Brayden Harris had two catches for 69 yards and two touchdowns, and Drake Pendergraft hauled in two catches for 73 yards for one touchdown.
VB Freshman Academy 25, Poteau 0
After a scoreless first quarter Van Buren got on board and rolled out 300 yards on the ground to their first win of the season Tuesday night at Blakemore Field.
The game was rescheduled from Thursday to accommodate the high school Pirates’ game for that evening.
Gage Bowlin had 13 carries for 98 yards to pace the Pointers.
Kameron Collins, Malik McElwee and Caleb Christenson each had four carries, but finished with 79, 73 and 57 yards respectively.
McElwee, who finished with three catches for 111 yards, got things moving as he hauled in a 63-yard yard pass from Kyan Rose in the second quarter.
Collins, who had two touchdowns runs, scored his first on a three-yard jaunt and gave Van Buren a 12-0 lead at the break.
Collins added his second TD run, this time from 59 yards out in the third quarter.
Christenson had a 35-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Rose completed 4 of 8 passes for 113 yards.
Mountainburg 42, Decatur 20
The Dragons survived some breakdowns on special teams to improve to 2-1.
The Bulldogs scored all three of its touchdowns during a kickoff.
Decatur scored on two kickoff returns, and recovered a fumble during a Dragon kickoff return and returned it for a touchdown.
Robert Roxin scored three times for Mountainburg. He began the game with a 70-yard touchdown return. He caught a 30-yard pass from Quency Pixley and added a five-yard touchdown run.
Pixley threw a 60-yard pass to Matthew Dollard for another first-half score.
Mountainburg led 30-6 at the half, but Decatur had their second kickoff return for a touchdown. When the Dragons had the ensuing kickoff, the Bulldogs stripped the ball and returned it for another score to make it 30-22 in a span of 30 seconds.
Riley Dollard put Mountainburg on track with a 70-yard touchdown run and Roxin added his final TD run for the final score.
Roxin almost returned an interception for a another score off of a deflection from Pixley.
"The defensive line played well, led by Jacob Frazier and Shawn Hattabaugh," said coach Mitchell Barton.