GREENWOOD – The Greenwood Eagles grounded and pounded Catawba Ridge to take their second round 4A playoff game 42-30 ending the season for the Copperheads Friday night.
The Eagles will now host South Pointe next week in the third round of the 4A playoffs.
Greenwood came in the game with a 10-1 record and was ranked third in the last 4A media poll in early November. The Copperheads finished the season at 6-5 overall with Friday’s loss.
This is the second time that the teams have met this season with Greenwood edging Catawba Ridge 17-14 the first time around during the regular season, but the Copperheads had a lot of players missing in that game and struggled in the red zone missing several opportunities to punch it in during that first game.
A lot of those opportunities were missed as well in the game Friday as Catawba Ridge struggled to catch the ball at times.
“It has to be the full 48 (minutes),” said Copperheads’ head coach Zac Lendyak. “Two of those passes could have been touchdowns. It’s tough when you are dropping balls.”
Still Copperheads’ quarterback Jadyn Davis went 27-for-41 for 357 yards with two passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns. His two main targets in the game were Jacobie Henderson as he caught 11 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown and Trevor Testerman, who caught eight passes for 100 yards and a touchdown.
The running game has been special recently for Catawba Ridge. It wasn’t Friday as they only ran for 22 total rushing yards in the game.
“We could tell early on we weren’t going to be able to run it,” Lendyak said. “Greenwood is a real good team.”
For Greenwood Ve Morton was the star of the game for the Eagles as he scored four touchdowns in the game and ran for 239 yards on 42 carries. Greenwood rushed for 425 yards in the game.
Greenwood opened the fourth quarter putting the game out of reach as they scored on a five-yard run by quarterback Daylan Rappley making it 35-9.
Catawba Ridge didn’t go quietly as they put together a nice drive capped off by a one-yard touchdown run from Davis to make it 35-17 after he would hit Jarius Frank for a two-point conversion with 8:47 left in the game. The drive was aided by big catches from both Henderson and Testerman.
Davis again led Catawba Ridge down the field, but they were then playing against the clock as much as they were against Greenwood. Davis ended the drive with his second rushing score of the game with just five minutes left in the game.
Davis added a late two-yard touchdown to Testerman on Catawba Ridge’s final drive of the game scoring with about 20 seconds left.
The Eagles took the opening kickoff in the third quarter and ran the ball on every play of a 71-yard drive to continue to control the clock as they ended the drive with a three-yard touchdown run by Morton, his second of the game, to make it 21-9 with 8:50 left in the quarter.
Morton came back on a six play, 68-yard drive with his third touchdown run, this time from 41-yards, to extend the Greenwood lead on the Eagles very next drive.
Catawba Ridge was able to move the ball well about midway through the third quarter, but Greenwood’s pressure was too much for Davis as he was hurried on a couple throws on the drive and then eventually sacked to turn the ball over on downs.
Greenwood kept the ball on the ground often in the first half using their running game to move the sticks. The Eagles converged on a couple fourth downs which helped them in the early going.
The Eagles kept punching the ball up the middle and finding holes where they needed them and finally found the end zone with a six-yard run by Lowndes Still to go up 7-3 with 11:07 left in the first half.
After the first drive of the game, the Copperheads struggled to move the ball with any consistency in the first half. Catawba Ridge struggled moving the ball on the ground, while the Copperheads had several dropped passes that didn’t help their cause.
Greenwood threw just three passes in the first half, which two were completions for Rappley. One thing that helped the Eagles was their clock management. As they kept the ball on the ground, they were able to keep the clock moving and took their time ending their second drive with a nine-yard touchdown run by Morton leaving just 72 seconds left in the first half. Greenwood had the ball for 16:35 in the first half, compared to just over seven minutes for Catawba Ridge. For the game, Greenwood had the ball 29:09, while Catawba Ridge had it 18:36.
Despite just 72 seconds left in the first half, Davis came right back two plays later and hit Henderson for a 62-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-9 and keep the Copperheads in the game.
The Copperheads took the opening kickoff and kept it on the ground often in their first series. Despite their efficiency, Catawba Ridge had to settle for a 27-yard field goal by Kohen Kozel, but it was enough to get them on the board.
Greenwood was able to move the ball well on their first offensive series and ended it with an Asa Johnson fumble recovery for the Copperheads to kill the Eagles drive about midway through the opening quarter.
The Catawba Ridge offensive line did a good job early on giving Davis time to move around and get out of the pocket if he needed to. Davis was able to move Catawba Ridge through the air, as Greenwood keyed in on Tyler Jones early. Jones rushed for just 36 yards on 16 carries in the game.
Mac Banks: email@example.com, @fortprep