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Greenwood’s victory one to remember

by Sam Lane | September 4, 2022 at 2:24 a.m.
Greenwood quarterback Kane Archer (left) threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Grant Karnes on the last play of the game to lead the Bulldogs to a come-from-behind 56-53 victory over Fort Smith Northside on Friday night. The Bulldogs trailed 53-35 with 4:00 left in the fourth quarter. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Hank Layton)

Chris Young has had a great deal of success in his time as the Greenwood football coach.

He led the Bulldogs on an undefeated season in 2020, winning the Class 6A title. In 2021, Greenwood lost four games but made a run in the playoffs and reached the state championship game.

In his two seasons at the helm, Young has been a part of one game that has been decided by less than six points, so Friday was foreign territory.

With 4:00 left in the fourth quarter, Fort Smith Northside (1-1) scored to extend its lead over Greenwood to 53-35. With 3:07 left, it held an 11-point lead.

With 46 seconds remaking, Young called a timeout. He didn't have some grand plan or a set of plays he'd never revealed -- he just had one simple message: Finish.

"I said, 'Here's what I want to do. I want to go finish this drive. We're going to be alright as a football team this year, but I want to go score on this drive and finish this drive,' " Young said. "At that point, we weren't focused on winning the game. We were 100% focused on 'Let's score this drive.' "

With 15 seconds left, the Bulldogs (2-0) scored and the lead had evaporated to five points. But time was still on the Grizzlies' side.

Greenwood converted the 2-point opportunity, followed that with a successful onside kick and had freshman quarterback Kane Archer rush for 6 yards to set up one final play.

Archer found receiver Grant Karnes for a 45-yard Hail Mary touchdown. Karnes was promptly swarmed in the end zone, as he had just scored the winning touchdown of the most miraculous win of Young's tenure.

"I've been in the business 23 years, and I've never seen one quite like that," Young said. "It was really, really special. It was emotional because you're so proud of the guys, just the fact that they kept fighting."

Greenwood wasn't alone in its last-second win Friday. Arkadelphia (2-0) trailed Hot Springs (1-1) by seven points with time for one play remaining.

Senior quarterback Donovan Whitten rolled right and hit senior receiver LaTonnieo Hughes for the touchdown. He then hit Carter Babb for the 2-point conversion to secure the 29-28 win.

Whitten passed for 293 yards and rushed for 138, bringing his season totals over 700 and 200, respectively.

Landmark win

Izard County (1-1) is in its inaugural football season and didn't have to wait long to secure its first mark in the win column.

The Cougars and Coach Jared Johnson were handed a 26-point loss last week by Mountain View (1-0) but responded Friday, defeating Marshall 24-14.

Up next, the Cougars have a bye week before facing Rector. With the lack of 8-man teams, Izard County has just five games remaining on its regular season schedule.

Everywhere, all at once

The offense for Little Rock Christian (2-0) has impressed thus far, scoring 90 points in two games -- including 49 in a rout of Shiloh Christian (0-1) on .

But it is the Warriors' defense that has them firmly in contention for the top spot in Class 6A.

The Warriors have allowed a combined 20 points in their two wins, the lowest number of any 6A team through two games.

In Friday's win, senior linebacker Holt Chappell recorded 21 tackles, putting him among the state leaders in the statistic. Along with junior Preston Davis and senior Ben Ridings, among others, the Warriors boast arguably the state's best linebacker core.

Setting the pace

The Carlisle Bison (2-0) have started the season hitting on all cylinders.

The Bison offense has scored a state-high 115 points in two games, including 68 in Friday's win over Decatur (0-2), and the defense has allowed six points.

Due to the lopsided scores produced in both games, Carlisle's star running back Jason Sullivan has been limited to 13 total carries. But he's made the most out of those, as he's rushed for 318 yards.

Carlisle has already surpassed its win total in 2021 when it went 1-10.

A new No. 1

Des Arc (0-1) and Hazen (2-0) squared off in what was expected to be a preview of a late Class 2A playoff matchup.

Instead, Hazen ran away with it and won 52-0. The Hornets have a plus-94 scoring margin through two games -- second-best to Carlisle's plus-109.

With the win, Hazen becomes the new No.1-ranked team in Class 2A, surpassing Des Arc.

Hazen will face 2-0 Clarendon this week.

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