GREENWOOD Senior quarterback Stephen Hogan had a successful first career start Friday night, but Greenwood’s defense was equally as impressive in a 33-8 victory over Sallisaw, Okla.
Hogan was 19 of 28 for 300 yards and 3 touchdowns as the third-ranked Bulldogs pulled away in the second half of the season opener at Smith-Robinson Stadium.
But the Bulldogs dominated Sallisaw in the trenches, holding the Black Diamonds to 224 yards and only two field goals.
“We really played well defensively,” said Greenwood Coach Rick Jones, who won his 200th career game. “We didn’t start a guy up front that weighed more than 200 pounds. They moved them, they blitzed, they brought pressure, they kept them off balance.
“I was so proud of our defense because [Sallisaw] was physical and that running back was tough.”
Jeromy Davenport gained 109 yards on 27 careers but rarely got past the Greenwood front seven.
Greenwood led 13-3 at halftime before the offense unwound. The Bulldogs scored on three of their first four possessions of the second half, totaling 13 plays and 2 minutes, 59 seconds on those drives. Hogan had touchdown passes of 30 yards to Tony Sandifer and 57 and 40 yards to Seth Parker.
“I can’t say enough about Stephen and his very first start,” Jones said. “I thought he was really solid. Our receivers caught the ball really well, too.”
Sallisaw averaged only 50 yards over the first three quarters, managing a pair of field goals from Sinue Rodriguez and a safety on a bad snap on Greenwood’s only punt attempt.
“We got our fannies lit up by a very good Greenwood team,” Sallisaw Coach Craig Benson said. “They whipped us up front. We haven’t been whipped like that in a long time and it happened.
“When you give these guys three-and-outs and put their offense on the field it’s like a stick of dynamite going off, and that’s what happened.”
After Rodrig uez and Greenwood’s Adam McFain exchanged field goals, the Bulldogs took a 10-3 lead on Drew Morgan’s 4-yard run with 5:38 left in the first half.
McFain added a 33-yard field goal with 1:25 left in the half.