For any high school football fan in Arkansas, all attention on Thursday night was focused on War Memorial Stadium to kick off 6A West league play between the Greenwood Bulldogs and Little Rock Parkview Patriots. With Greenwood as the defending state champion and Parkview having high expectations boasting multiple division 1 college prospects, plus considering this game was not played last season due to a COVID-19 cancellation, there were expectations abound before the two teams even took the field.
“We’ve been waiting on this game for a year now, it’s been a grind man” running back James Jointer said.”The underdogs always come out on top so it’s a blessing to get the win and more than likely we will see those guys again, hopefully in the state championship. We’re just going to get back to work and get ready for our next game.”
Multiple questions arose during the week if Greenwood junior quarterback Hunter Houston would play after suffering a knee injury in a 29-20 loss to Fort Smith Northside in Week 2. Houston did not dress out and sophomore Slade Dean was given the nod in Houston’s absence for the first start of his high school career.
Willie Eackles got the game off to a blazing start receiving the opening kickoff and sprinting 95 yards down the Patriot sideline for the early score. The extra point attempt was no good making it 6-0 seconds into the game.
Greenwood was able to respond just a few plays later, sparked by a 71-yard run from Jake Glover on the first play of the series. Dean finished the drive on 3rd & 5 connecting with Aiden Kennon for the first touchdown of his high school career.
Jointer, the talented Razorback commit, helped get the ball across the 50 and down midfield for Parkview before Jaylon White darted 21 yards on a quarterback keeper to help the Patriots regain the lead 14-6 with 8:00 remaining in the first quarter.
Greenwood began the following drive on its own 22, but a sack pushed them back to the 18 yard line. Kyveon Perkins intercepted Dean’s pass and returned it inside the 15 yard line, but a hands to the face penalty gave the Bulldogs an automatic 1st & 10. Dean took advantage of the second opportunity finding Luke Brewer down the right sideline for an 80-yard gain all the way down to the Patriot 2. Dylan Tucker put the exclamation on the drive pushing in for the score, once again giving Greenwood the lead 14-13.
Parkview was in Bulldog territory to begin the second quarter, but gave the ball back when it appeared White was going down for a sack and then threw it away into the waiting arms of Colin Daggett for an interception giving Greenwood possession at its own 22. Parkview was able to come up with the stop to prevent any further damage and right after the Bulldogs got the ball back, they fumbled on the ensuing play. Xavier Branch jumped on the ball giving it back to Parkview in great field position just outside the red zone. A false start penalty was not going to deny Jointer of the end zone and he went 21 yards to put the Patriots back on top 20-14 with 7:42 left in the half.
After both offenses traded the ball for the remainder of the first half, Parkview was able to extend its lead 27-14 with :44 left in the half on Jointer’s second score of the night.
Greenwood cut into the the Parkview lead quickly to begin the second half on a Dean to LJ Robbins 55-yard connection making it a one score game 27-21. Parkview struck right back when Jointer took the handoff from White and went 37 yards securing the hat trick on the ground putting Parkview back up by two scores 34-21 three and a half minutes into the 3rd quarter. Greenwood moved the ball to the Patriot 22, but with less than a minute in the quarter they went for it on 4th down and failed.
The Patriots were confident going into the final frame with a two score lead plus the ball and Jointer was feeling it more so than anyone all night long sprinting 42 yards for his 4th score of the evening putting him at 217 yards on 25 carries…but he was not done. After another defensive stand, the Patriot offense continued to pound the rock ultimately resulting in a handful of scores for Jointer who finished with 270 yards on 31 carries.
“Our quarterback was little banged up so I had to put on my big boy pants, you know,” Jointer mentioned. “I just put my head down and was a blue collar worker and did whatever the team needed. Whatever it takes to win.”
Greenwood would go on to score one more time with 4:16 remaining to cut Parkview’s lead to 48-28, but it was too late and the Patriots ran out the clock to secure the massive victory.
Parkview does not have much time to dwell on this victory (4-0, 1-0) traveling to defending state runner-up Lake Hamilton next week and to Benton on October 8th. “It doesn’t get any easier,” Parkview head coach Brad Bolding stated. “The state championship team, I think, will come out of our conference, it typically does. Lake Hamilton is going to be another physical game, we’re going to have to really get after them in the trenches and do a good job of stopping their run game and rise to the occasion. I know our guys will be ready.”
Greenwood (2-2, 0-1) heads back home the next two weeks for match-ups against Mountain Home and Siloam Springs, respectively.
All game photos can be viewed here.
Article published by Kyle Sutherland, @k_sutherlandHTP on Twitter