PHOTO BY JAMIE MITCHELL Greenwood’s Kevin Jones returning the opening kickoff by Little Rock Fair for a touchdown during the first round of the 6A state playoffs on Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, at Smith-Robinson Stadium.
Twelve seconds was all that was needed to start the blowout.
Kevin Jones returned the opening kickoff 74 yards to spark a 42-point first quarter as Greenwood easily defeated Little Rock Fair 49-12 Friday in the first round of the 6A state playoffs.
The Bulldogs (11-0) will now host Little Rock Parkview, which won 28-25 at Texarkana, in next week’s 6A quarterfinal game. The Bulldogs beat the Patriots 42-0 last month in Greenwood.
Greenwood will also attempt to become the third team in the state’s history to win 50 consecutive games, joining Barton (63 wins) and Pine Bluff Dollarway (51 wins).
The Greenwood starters barely played a quarter as they built the comfortable margin, helped along by four first-quarter turnovers by Fair (1-10). In all, the War Eagles committed eight turnovers, including six interceptions.
“With a good team like Greenwood, you cannot turn the ball over. They don’t need any help,” Fair interim coach Eric Redmond said. “They have a good team. But I was proud of our fight. We kept battling.”
Fair, which has been a 6A doormat in recent years, will drop to 5A for the 2014-16 classification cycle.
“We played a lot of ninth- and 10th-graders. We’ll be alright in a couple of years,” Redmond said. “Going down to 5A will help a bunch as well.”
Jones, known recently for his last-second field goals, opened the game by scooping a squib kick and sprinting untouched for the score to start the rout. The offense only gained 81 yards, but 51 was on the first drive of the game as two other scoring drives were 17 and 15 yards thanks to turnovers.
“We scored 42 points and our offense scored seven,” Bulldogs coach Rick Jones said. “You are always happy when the defense scores touchdowns. We got a special teams touchdown as well. We got to spread it around a bit.”
After the Bulldogs scored on its first offensive possession to lead 14-0, the defense got into the scoring column.
A sack by Kyle Pierce forced a fumble which Korban Waldeman recovered in the Fair end zone for a touchdown. Two snaps later, Pierce picked off a pass and returned it 14 yards for a score that gave Greenwood a commanding 28-0 lead just seven minutes into the game.
“Seeing Korban score a touchdown is awesome. He deserved it because he is a hard-working kid,” Rick Jones said. “To me, that made the whole night worthwhile. Pierce made a big play on the fumble and then on the interception. When you play fast and do what you are supposed to do, good things happen.”
An interception by Taylor Hasley set up another Greenwood TD on a 1-yard run by Hoyt Smith. Pierce then recovered a fumble that led to the final Bulldog touchdown of the quarter, a 1-yard run by Cameron Palmer, for a 42-0 lead.
After that, the Bulldogs played reserves the rest of the game on both sides of the ball.
“We hold our kids accountable to be prepared every week,” Jones said. “We had several guys go down this year and others have to step up. We practice six-deep in the spring and it pays off for us.”
The Bulldogs have a rematch with Little Rock-Parkview next Friday night.
6A State Playoffs
Little Rock Fair 12
SUMMARY — The Bulldogs scored 42 first-quarter points to blow open the came and cruise to the easy first-round playoff win against the War Eagles.
TURNING POINT — In a span of three snaps from scrimmage, Greenwood recovered a fumble for a score and picked off a pass for another touchdown to open a 28-0 lead midway in the opening quarter.
STAT — In the first quarter, Fair had zero first downs, minus-21 total yards and committed four turnovers which became 28 Greenwood points, including two by the Greenwood defense.
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
6A State Playoffs
GREENWOOD 49, LITTLE ROCK FAIR 12
Little Rock Fair 0 6 0 6 — 12
Greenwood 42 0 0 7 — 49
Gwd — Jones 74 kickoff return (Jones kick), 11:48.
Gwd — Clemons 13 pass from Burgess (Jones kick), 7:41.
Gwd — Waldeman recovers fumble in end zone (Jones kick), 5:44.
Gwd — Pierce 14 interception return (Jones kick), 4:49.
Gwd — Smith 1 run (Jones kick), 3:56.
Gwd — Palmer 1 run (Odell kick), :49.
Fair — Powell 23 run (kick failed), 3:42.
Gwd — Allen 9 run (Odell kick), 8:38.
Fair — Redmond 8 pass from Bennett (run failed), 3:32.
First Downs 12 14
Rushes-Yards 36-175 26-158
Passing Yards 41 102
Comp-Att-Int 4-13-6 10-11-1
Punts-Avg. 2-30 0-0
Fumbles-Lost 4-2 3-2
Penalties-Yards 4-16 2-24
RUSHING — Fair, Modica 8-67, Gauss 6-49, Powell 8-47, Redmond 2-12, Williams 2-12, Otey 1-(minus-1), Bennett 10-(minus-13); Greenwood, Allen 10-56, Martin 2-33, Garnes 3-32, Watson 3-15, Palmer 2-11, Sherrouse 2-8, Hamilton 1-3, Smith 1-1, Leonard 2-(minus-1).
PASSING — Fair, Bennett 3-12-6-5, Lewis 1-1-0-44; Greenwood, Jb. Burgess 3-3-0-36, Wheeler 6-7-1-67, Watson 1-1-0-0.
RECEIVING — LR Fair, Lewis 2-(minus-3), Bennett 1-44, Redmond 1-8; Greenwood, Jx. Burgess 2-30, Padilla 1-15, Clemmons 1-12, McGill 1-12, Hughes 1-11, Jones 1-8, Barker 1-6, Bland 1-6, Ciesla 1-2.
SACKS — Kyle Pierce 1
INTERCEPTIONS — Hunter Norris 2, Taylor Hasley 1, Jackson Cole 1, Kyle Pierce 1, Ethan Cagle 1