The Bulldogs started the game with a strong defensive stand and forcing Benton into a quick punt. The offense would take over and Sr. LD Richmond would go to work. Richmond went 5 of 6 for 48 yards on the opening drive. One of the top targets of the drive was Sr. Jase Strozier who caught 2 passes for 29 yards. With the offense set up at the Panther half yard line, Sr. Hunter Wilkinson would take the hand-off and dive across the goal line. The Bulldogs would go up 7-0 with 8:58 left in the first quarter.
After a Benton score, the Bulldog offense takes over again with game tied 7-7. Richmond would work both sides of the field while mixing in run and pass. The Benton Panther defense could not stop them. Jase Strozier would make a catch, turn up field, and quite literally stiff-arm his defender into the ground. This would continue a drive that ended up with another 7 points. Hunter Wilkinson would score up the middle again for his 2nd touchdown of the night. The Bulldogs go up 14-7 with 3:19 left in the first quarter.
With 10:04 left in the 2nd quarter, Richmond would find Sr. Peyton Carter for a 15-yard touchdown catch and throw. Carter would catch the ball at the Panther one-yard line and use his strength to fight through contact and score. It would be a 12 play, 63-yard drive and the Bulldogs would go up 21-7.
With 2:30 left in the 2nd quarter, the Bulldog offense is near field holding on to a 21-14 lead. Wilkinson takes a counter play and had plenty of room to run with the Bulldog offensive line creating nothing less than canyons for him to run through. Wilkinson would use his speed to get into the secondary and out run the defensive backs all the way to the end zone. Wilkinson would grab his 3rd rushing touchdown of the half on the 48-yard scamper. With just over 2 minutes left to go before half, the Bulldogs lead 28-14.
The Bulldog offense starts the half by dominating the ground game and getting on the board again. Greenwood’s offensive line had their way with the Panther defense and Hunter Wilkinson and JD Richmond had lanes to run in the whole drive. Wilkinson would take a Richmond hand off from the Panther 2-yard line and walk in to the end zone untouched for his 4th rushing touchdown of the night. Greenwood would lead 35-14 with 10 minutes left in the 3rd quarter.
With less than a minute to go in the 3rd quarter, Greenwood would have the ball again with the score 35-20. The ground game continues to pay dividends for the Dogs as they break run after run on the Panther defense. With Benton moving into the box to stop the run, Richmond makes them pay over the top. Richmond would connect with Sr. Caden Brown on a post route for a 27-yard touchdown. Richmond’s second touchdown pass of the night brings the score to 42-20 over the Panthers.
The Panthers would get 1 more score but it wasn’t enough to dethrone the Greenwood Bulldogs from their number 1 ranking. The final score would end as 42-28 in favor of the home team.
The player of the game was Sr. running back Hunter Wilkinson who finished the night with 31 carries for 193 yards and 4 touchdowns. The senior averaged more than 6 yards per carry. Sr. quarterback LD Richmond had 15 carries for 113 yards for a 7.5 yards per carry average. Richmond would also finish 22 of 33 passing for 199 yards and 2 touchdowns. The leading bulldog receiver was Jase Strozier with 9 catches for 61 yards, followed by Peyton Carter with 5 catches for 60 yards and 1 touchdown. Jordan Hanna of the ferocious Bulldog Defense led the way with more than double digit tackles. Sr. Jayden Jasna came up big in key moments of the game with 2 pass break ups and 5 tackles.
The top ranked Bulldogs will travel to Van Buren next week carrying their 8-0 record. Van Buren is 3-5 on the year.