Big Play Blake — Greenfield's Blake Miller makes a tackle on West Carroll’s Robert Reynolds for a loss. Miller also intercepted a pass which he returned 80 yards for a TD in the Yellowjackets’ 27-6 win on Friday night. Photo by Stephanie Sturgis
Time and time again, the Greenfield Yellowjackets’ defense was forced to make a fourth-down play.
Nearly every time the Greenfield defenders answered the call.
As a result, the Yellowjackets (2-1, 1-0 District 14-A) were able to earn a 27-6 win over the host West Carroll War Eagles (1-2, 1-0 District 13-A) on Friday night in Atwood.
“Our defense was in their backfield all night. I guarantee they thought they (West Carroll) could gash us up the middle, because South Fulton did it to us the week before, but our guys got it in their heads they weren’t going to let it happen,” Greenfield head coach Jason Rodehaver said.
The Jacket defense was called upon to make a stand eight times on fourth down. Six times, the Orange and Black held its ground and got the ball back.
One of those key defensive plays came with West Carroll driving mid way through the fourth quarter.The Jackets were leading 19-6, but the War Eagles had picked up a pair of first downs and looked to trim their deficit to one touchdown. With a first down at the GHS 33, West Carroll managed just six yards on two runs and an incompletion to set up a fourth-and-four from the 28. War Eagle quarterback Jamal Glenn dropped back and looked for a receiver in the right flat, but Jacket junior linebacker Blake Miller stepped in front of the pass at the 20 and raced 80 yards to paydirt. On the extra point kick, a bobbled snap meant holder Tyler Jones had to try to run around the end. Lunging for the end zone, Jones stretched the ball over the pylon just before being pushed out of bounds for a 27-6 lead with 5:39 left to play. That score held at the final horn, setting off a Greenfield celebration.
The first quarter was dominated by both defenses with punts, fourth-down stops and turnovers the results.
Needing the length of the football to move the chains early in the second quarter, the War Eagles opted to go for a first down deep in their own territory. Jacob Wynn got the handoff and was brought down for a four-yard loss by Chance Black to put Greenfield in business at the WC 28.
The Jackets needed just one play to light the board. Kadeem McDonald broke through a hole in the right side and raced 28 yards for the score. Zach Grebe’s kick was blocked leaving the GHS lead at 6-0 with 8:29 left in the first half.
With both defenses doing their job, that score remained on the board as halftime arrived.
The War Eagles took the kickoff to open the third and marched 76 yards in nine plays, all on the ground. Letrell Huff had the biggest gain in the drive, taking a pitch 46 yards to the GHS 17. West Carroll eventually converted a fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line on a Jacob Wynn run. Greenfield’s Scott Davidson swatted and intercepted the two-point pass to keep the game knotted at 6-all with 7:26 left to play in the third quarter.
After swapping punts, Greenfield began its go-ahead drive with 1:28 to play in the third. GHS quarterback Dalton Potts found Chase Smith streaking down the seam for a 57-yard gain to the West Carroll 34. A screen pass to McDonald eventually resulted in a 29-yard touchdown. Grebe split the uprights for the PAT to boost the Jacket lead to 13-6 with 10:24 left in the game.
West Carroll did the Jackets a favor by fumbling a pitch on the first play of the ensuing drive. Black fell on the football, giving Greenfield excellent field position at the War Eagle 37. On the second play of the drive, Potts raced 30 yards around the left end and crossed the goal line to boost the Jacket lead to 19-6 with 9:12 still on the clock.
The War Eagles still had life until Miller’s interception iced the game.
West Carroll added the final score on an eight-yard run by Glenn. Andrew Wainscott caught the two-point pass to cut the Greenfield lead to 27-14 with 3:21 left to play.
After a Jacket punt, the Greenfield defense came up with one more big fourth-down stand. Cody Worley hauled down Glenn in the backfield to end the last War Eagle drive.
“We’ve doubled our win total from last year. The kids are gaining confidence,” Rodehaver said. “We’re excited, but we’ve still got things to improve on.”
The victory puts Greenfield above .500 for the first time since the Jackets started the 2008 season at 3-2.
Offensively, Greenfield was led by 130 rushing yards on 13 carries by McDonald. Steven Sawyers picked up 14 clutch yards on four carries, while McDonald was sidelined by an injured ankle. Potts finished with 33 yards on nine runs.
Through the air, Potts hit on 8-of-19 passes with one TD and an interception.
The Jackets will return to District 14-A action this Friday when they host the Peabody Tide (1-2, 1-0). Kickoff is set for 7:30.
Greenfield-West Carroll, Stats
Greenfield 0 6 0 21 — 27
West Carroll 0 0 6 8 — 14
GHS — Kadeem McDonald 28-yard run, (kick failed), 8:29.
WCHS — Jacob Wynn 1-yard run, (pass failed), 7:26.
GHS — McDonald 29-yard pass from Dalton Potts, Zach Grebe kick), 10:24.
GHS — Potts 30-yard run, (kick failed), 9:12.
GHS — Blake Miller 80-yard interception return, (Tyler Jones run), 5:39.
WCHS — Jamal Glenn 8-yard run, (Andrew Wainscott pass from Glenn), 3:21.
First Downs 13 19
Rushes-yards 28-177 51-203
Passing yards 119 92
Comp-Att-Int 8-19-1 7-23-1
Punts 4-25 3-37.7
Fumbles-Lost 4-1 1-1
Penalties-yards 12-125 7-70
Rushing — Greenfield, Kadeem McDonald 13-130, Dalton Potts 9-33, Steven Sawyers 4-14, Brady Medling 1-4, Team 1-(-4); West Carroll, Jamal Glenn 18-66, Jacob Wynn 16-61, Letrell Huff 4-57, Andrew Wainscott 9-16, Robert Reynolds 4-3.
Passing — Greenfield, Potts 8-19-1 — 119; West Carroll, Glenn 7-23-1 — 92.
Receiving — Greenfield, Chase Smith 1-57, Tyler Jones 3-49, McDonald 2-12, Medling 2-1; West Carroll, Reynolds 3-51, Wainscott 2-17, Huff 1-13, Rory Campbell 1-11.
Records — Greenfield 2-1 (1-0 District 14-A), West Carroll 1-2 (1-0 District 13-A).
Next Game — Greenfield will host the Peabody Golden Tide, while West Carroll will entertain Huntingdon. Both games will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.