GREENWOOD -- The Class 6A state football championship will once again go through Greenwood.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 20-point lead in the first seven minutes and cruised to a 51-7 semifinal victory over Marion on Friday at Smith-Robinson Stadium.
Greenwood (13-0) will play Lake Hamilton (11-1) next Saturday at War Memorial Stadium for the Class 6A championship. It is the Bulldogs' 14th trip to the championship game since 1996, and they will be playing for their 10th state title.
"I am just happy for our players and our staff. They deserve this opportunity," first-year Bulldogs Coach Chris Young said.
Greenwood won at Lake Hamilton 38-28 on Nov. 6 to win the 6A-West Conference title.
"We're excited to play them again because they are a good football team," Young said. "Though we came out with the win, we don't believe that we played our best that night. I think they feel like they made a lot of mistakes as well."
In last week's victory over Mountain Home, Greenwood starting quarterback L.D. Richmond was knocked out of the game early in the second quarter. He returned Friday and played one of his best games of the season.
Richmond paced an offense that rolled up 445 yards and 24 first downs on 68 plays. The senior was 15-of-21 passing for 184 yards and 3 scores while also rushing for 65 yards and 3 touchdowns. Running back Hunter Wilkinson ran for 135 yards on 26 carries as the Bulldogs rushed for 261 yards in the game.
"We just ran what we usually do, and we excelled at it [tonight]," Richmond said.
The Greenwood defense limited Marion (4-8) to 187 yards.
"I thought our defense did a great job containing them tonight," Young said. "We gave up a few big plays, but that is going to happen. Give them credit, [Marion] did not quit out there. They had a great season."
Greenwood scored on five of its first six possessions to build a 34-7 halftime lead.
After the defense forced a punt to start the game, the Bulldogs went 50 yards in nine plays, capped by Richmond's 1-yard sneak. The extra point was no good, leaving Greenwood with a 6-0 lead with 8:32 left in the first quarter.
Ty Cowan and Jordan Hanna sacked Patriots quarterback Daedrick Cail, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Tyler Crossno at the Marion 9. Richmond scored on the next play for a 13-0 lead at the 7:29 mark.
After the defense forced a three-and-out, Greenwood marched 73 yards in just six plays, capped by Richmond's 27-yard touchdown pass to Aiden Kennon with 4:54 left in the first quarter for a 20-0 advantage.
Marion's lone score was a 1-yard keeper by Cail with 2:46 left in the opening quarter to make it 20-7.
Cail was injured in the second quarter and did not return. Running back Brandon Mackey was moved to quarterback, and the Greenwood defense shut out Marion for the rest of the game.
Richmond added another 1-yard keeper for a score as well as a 36-yard touchdown pass to Kennon as the lead expanded to 34-7.
Richmond hit Jase Strozier for a 9-yard touchdown pass with 4:04 left in the third quarter, then threw a two-point conversion pass to Caden Brown for a 42-7 lead.