Greenwood ends losing streak to Athens
By Hub City Times staff
ATHENS – The Greenwood football team did something Sept. 14 that it had not done in eight years. The Indians beat Athens 14-12, and by the exact same score the Bluejays beat Greenwood last year, when Seth Coker hit Jake Denzine on a game-winning touchdown pass as time expired. There were no last-second heroics this year, however, as the Indians stopped Athens on their final drive of the game.
Judging by how the game started, though, one might think the Bluejays were poised for a rout. The Indians fumbled on their second play of the game. On the very next play, Athens running back Dayne Diethelm connected with Denzine on a 19-yard touchdown pass after Diethelm had taken the handoff from Coker on a halfback option. The two-point conversion attempt was no good, and that’s something that would come back to haunt the ‘Jays.
On their next possession, the Indians got their offense on track, and it took them just three plays to cover 51 yards – scoring on a 34-yard touchdown run by Andrew Morrow. The Indians could not convert on their two-point conversion attempt, and the score was tied at 6.
Athens turned the ball over on downs on their ensuing possession, but Greenwood gave the ball back three plays later, when quarterback Cooper Bredlau threw his tenth interception of the season. The Bluejays capitalized. They went on an eight-play, 45-yard drive, scoring on a one-yard touchdown run by Diethelm. Again, the two-point conversion attempt failed. Athens led 12-6.
Neither team could sustain drives in the second quarter. After the Bluejays scored, the Indians fumbled the ball on the tenth play of their next possession, but Athens punted twice and fumbled once after that, and the Indians twice turned the ball over on downs.
Greenwood grabbed momentum early in the third quarter. After forcing Athens into a three-and-out, the Indians went on a 12-play, 80-yard drive – scoring on a six-yard run by running back Wyatt Artac. That tied the game at 12. A successful two-point conversion – the first and only by either team all night – would give them the lead with 3:26 remaining.
The Bluejays were again forced to punt on their next possession. The Indians took possession on their own 31-yard line, and then embarked on perhaps their most impressive drive of the season. Greenwood ran 17 plays, covered 65 yards, and took lots of time off the clock, but the Indians turned the ball over on downs at the Athens two-yard line without scoring.
It was now up to the Greenwood defense to get a stop; they got two. After a Bluejays’ drive stalled, Greenwood went three-and-out, and punted. Athens advanced the ball into Greenwood territory late, but the clock ran out, and Greenwood hung on to win beating Athens for the first time since 2010. The win over the Bluejays was the first for Greenwood coach Chris Schmitz.
“These boys just keep impressing me. They just keep fightin’ and keep fightin’, and they’re down and they keep gettin’ back up, and I just can’t say enough about ’em. They just keep working hard”, Schmitz said after the game.
The win was even more impressive, because Greenwood had only 16 players suited up going into the game, and lost another player to injury during the game.
“We’re throwing kids into positions they’re not used to playing, and they’re making the plays. They’re all team players, so they’re all willing to jump in and throw a different jersey on and play a different position. That’s what makes this group of kids so fun to coach.”
But the success dealing with injuries didn’t happen by accident, according to Schmitz.
“We kind of addressed that week one of practice. We said, ‘A lot of you guys are going to be playing different positions, so learn the playbook’. I think Quintin Meyers knows every position on the field.”
Artac led the Indians with 210 yards on 40 carries and one touchdown. He now has 659 yards on 131 carries, and is averaging five yards per carry.
With the win, Greenwood stands at 3-2, and will host Abbotsford September 21. Athens fell to 2-3.