Perfect snap. Perfect hold. Perfect kick. Perfect ending.
Greenwood’s Kevin Jones booted a 23-yard field goal as time expired Friday for the game-winning margin in the Bulldogs’ epic 45-42 win at Southside.
“There were no problems with it at all,” Jones said. “It was really smooth. I just picked up my (kicking) block and said let’s go home.”
Jones is the Times Record Player of the Week.
The kick extended Greenwood’s winning streak to 46 games and keeps the Bulldogs perfect in 7A/6A-Central play at 5-0. It also set up this week’s showdown at Conway for the conference championship.
Friday, Greenwood drove to Southside’s 6 with two seconds left with the game tied at 42.
Two timeouts by Southside didn’t rattle Jones, snapper Michael Nelson or holder Baylee Moore.
“I was a little nervous, but I thought I could get it there,” Nelson said. “I was just trying to think positive. That I do this every day and try to get it there. During the timeouts, we just went over there and I told Kevin that he had this. We do this every day, every practice. I told Baylee to just get it on the tee.”
Nelson has been deep-snapping for three years, but Moore is the holder for the first time this season.
“I was just thinking that that’s what we do every day after practice,” Moore said. “We rep it so much that I was confident that we were going to do it right. The only thing that I was thinking about if there was a bad snap I didn’t want to run with it. I was just ready to get the snap and put it on the tee.”
Greenwood took over at its own 24 with 1:28 left. Hoyt Smith converted a third-and-1 with an 11-yard run. On the next play, he took a pass across the middle for 28 yards to Southside’s 28 with 44 seconds left. After two running plays, Smith made a big 19-yard run to the 6.
“It turned a kick that could have been made into a kick that has to be made,” Jones said. “When the ball is on the 42, they could have lined me up to kick it. I don’t know if they would have. I have the distance for that, but I don’t know if we would have done that. That can go in or you can miss it. It’s a hard kick. When it’s 23, you have to make that. That’s where the pressure comes from. I’d rather have the 42 in a way.”
The game went down to Jones’ field-goal attempt, but he didn’t do well prior to the game while warming up.
“I was thinking about all of the kicks that I missed in pre-game,” Jones said. “I did awful in pre-game.”
Jones also caught two passes for 31 yards and completed two passes in two attempts, including a 34-yard touchdown to Ryan Padilla that put Greenwood up, 35-28, with 3:26 left in the third quarter on a play called Bunch Right Over Plum 80 Special.
“They didn’t bite on it,” Jones said. “They were in man-to-man so their eyes were on our receivers. Ryan just beat him to the outside. I just thought throw it up before I thought about it. He was there. It was a good play. It was exciting.”
His other pass completion was on a fake punt that kept Greenwood’s opening drive alive and allowed the Bulldogs to tie the game. Jones was lined up in punt formation on fourth-and-7 from Southside’s 43. Jones took the snap and threw a 26-yard pass to Michael Rhea down the left sideline to the 9. Two plays later, Austin Garnes scored on a one-yard run.
“We had run it so many times in practice to perfect it,” Jones said. “The Thursday before, I missed that throw. I threw it out of bounds. I knew it was coming. I looked out of the corner of my eye and saw Michael over there. I looked at the defense and they had no idea. It was an easy throw-and-catch and a first down. I got to do a lot that game. It’s always fun doing all sorts of things.”