Mother Nature prolonged New Albany’s season for a couple of hours, but in the end, it was no match for Greenwood.
After two first-half weather delays that spanned more than two hours, GHS walked away with a 42-23 victory in the first round of the 4A playoffs in a game that didn’t ended until the early minutes of Saturday morning at Bulldog Stadium.
“That was tough having to sit around in the locker room for that long, but our guys fought through it,” said Bulldog head coach Clinton Gatewood. “I don’t think the score really reflects how well we played, with our third-string guys giving up a couple of late scores.
“But all that matters is we are moving on. We’ll have to get better this week in practice because the road to the state championship gets tougher each week.”
Greenwood (9-2) will host a second-round contest this week against Itawamba AHS (10-2), which prevailed 17-14 in a hard-fought decision over Kosciusko on Friday. The winner of that matchup could likely face Louisville in the third round.
It’s the seventh time in Gatewood’s eight-year tenure for the Bulldogs to make it to at least the second round.
Against an overmatched New Albany offensive front, the Greenwood defense set the tone early with back-to-back sacks on the first two plays of the game. Davin Anderson and Quiontavious Lymon were in those plays, and the Bulldogs went on to finish with eight sacks.
Senior end Carl Jones led the sack attack with three, while Anderson finished with two.
GHS scored on its first two possessions of the first half, going 76 yards in just five plays. Stanley capped the first drive with a 30-yard scamper to give the Dogs a 6-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
After the first lightning delay, GHS put together another 76-yard scoring drive, with this one ending on a 8-yard run from Walter Ivory.
Then the second and longest of the two delays hit. When play finally resumed with 5:42 left in the second quarter, the Bulldogs needed just two plays to cover 51 yards for a touchdown.
After a 50-yard jaunt from Ivory, quarterback Jaylen Stanley hit Quindarius Andrews with a 1-yard touchdown pass. It was the only pass of the game for GHS.
The Bulldogs kept things quite simple on offense. And there’s no reason not to when you are averaging 12.4 yards per rush.
“There was nothing flashy about it. We just put the game in the hands of our big boys up front,” Gatewood said.
The score was 20-0 when halftime finally rolled around. But there was no break in the action since the game was so far behind schedule at that point.
After a 58-yard kickoff return by Kobe Chambers to open the third quarter, Lavell Nelson scored from one yard out. Nelson also had the two-point run to make it 28-0.
Ivory and Stanley had touchdown runs of 26 and 5 yards, respectively, to put GHS up 42-7 early in the fourth.
Ivory churned out 186 yards and three TDs on 14 carries. Stanley had 95 yards and a pair of scores on six carries, and Nelson finished with 90 yards and a touchdown on 10 rushes.
Jones and Thomas Smith led the defense with nine tackles each. Smith also had an interception.
Maquivius Williams and R’Tavis McGee had eight stops each.
nContact Bill Burrus at 581-7237 or firstname.lastname@example.org.