Points were already going to be at a premium, and then ol’ Mother Nature had her say in it.
In a battle of the two stingiest defenses in all of Class 4A, Greenwood secured a 14-6 win over Louisville Friday night at a rain-soaked Bulldog Stadium. GHS exacted revenge on the Wildcats ending its season last year, and at the same time punched its ticket to the North 4A title game for the fourth time in five years.
“Hey, man, this was a fun one, one we had been waiting on for a full year now,” said GHS coach Clinton Gatewood, who drew the ire of the Louisville program and fans last week with a Facebook message about his team’s plan for revenge. He said he didn’t worry about bulletin board material for the Wildcats because he knew his players “had his back.”
“They were going to make sure we got this one,” Gatewood added.
Sweetening the taste of revenge for GHS is the fact that Louisville also ended its season in 2017.
Louisville ends the season at 11-3.
The Bulldogs will play on the road for the first time in four postseason games this season when it faces off against Corinth, a 44-31 winner Friday night over Itawamba AHS. The Bulldogs are quite familiar with the explosive Warriors offense.
Greenwood beat Corinth 42-38 in a wild one in the third round of the playoffs before falling to Louisville in the North 4A title game.
The game ended about 10:45 p.m. Friday after two 20-minute weather delays for lightning in the area. Gatewood said the conditions were tough for both teams, and that’s he proud of his guys for finding a way to score 14 points on a nasty, muddy field.
The game was scoreless at the half, but GHS opened up the third quarter by scoring in two plays. Sophomore quarterback DeAndre Smith hooked up with senior wideout Daylin Metcalf for a 55-yard touchdown reception. Travor Randle added the two-point conversion.
The Bulldogs’ normally strong aerial attack wasn’t much of a factor after that. Smith completed 4 of 7 passes for 101 yards, but the strong-running signal caller iced the game with his legs, picking up a team-high 75 yards on 14 carries, with most of those rushing yards coming in the second half.
Smith put his team up 14-0 in the fourth quarter on a 4-yard scoring run.
The Bulldog defense just missed its fifth straight shutout, but a blocked punt near the goal line led to an easy touchdown for the Wildcats.
Tyler Beckworth led the Greenwood defense with nine tackles, while William Stewart, Davin Anderson and Jaylen Blake each had eight stops.
One more victory would get Gatewood’s Bulldogs finally over the hump, putting Greenwood in its first state championship game since 1988.
The Wildcats’ balanced offense, which came in averaging 189 on the ground and 173 through the air, found the sledding tough against the ferocious Bulldog defense that came in allowing less than eight points per game. The sledding was also tough on the sloppy field conditions.
• Contact Bill Burrus at 581-7237 or firstname.lastname@example.org.