Green Forest defense saves 1-point victory
By Scott Loftis
For the second consecutive year, one point separated Green Forest and West Fork. And for the second consecutive year, that single point went Green Forest’s way.
Green Forest stopped a West Fork two-point attempt in the closing seconds to preserve a 14-13 nonconference victory Friday night at West Fork.
“It was exciting,” Green Forest coach Bobby Bishop said. “It wasn’t the most well-played ballgame but we got a win out of it. We beat them as bad as we could, and that was one point.”
Green Forest (2-1) scored what proved to be the game-winning points on a two-point conversion pass from junior quarterback Reiley Gordon to sophomore tight end Trevor Stark with 2:53 left in the fourth quarter. That followed Gordon’s 1-yard touchdown run that pulled Green Forest within one at 13-12.
Gordon ran for 109 yards and both Green Forest touchdowns on 15 carries. He also completed four of seven passes for 33 yards.
“Reiley had a great game running the football,” Bishop said. “He turned some big losses into huge gains. We felt like he probably played his best game of high school football to this point. I’m really proud of him. I’m proud of all our guys.”
Bishop credited assistant coach Brandon Stone with calling the successful two-point conversion play.
“We called a bootleg,” Bishop said. “We’d had some success on bootlegs and Coach Stone felt like it would work. We had originally called it as a run, then we changed it to a run-pass option and Trevor was open.”
West Fork (0-3), which had been outscored 89-6 in losses to Berryville and Elkins, didn’t go away quietly. West Fork drove 66 yards in 15 plays, capped by a 5-yard touchdown pass from Trent Harderson to Brenan
Cash on a fourth-down play with six seconds left. With the option of kicking an extra point to tie the score or going for a two-point conversion to win the game, West Fork opted to try for the win.
“I expected them to go for two,” Bishop said. “I wasn’t surprised.”
Needing to make one play to secure the win, the Green Forest defense delivered.
“Oscar Madrigal stepped through a gap and got in the backfield,” Bishop said, referring to a Green Forest senior defensive lineman. “He held them up until the cavalry got there.”
It was the second consecutive one-point victory for Green Forest over West Fork. In 2018, Green Forest won 31-30 for its only victory of the season.
“West Fork played us hard,” Bishop said. “We were real pleased to get out of there with a win.”
Green Forest rushed for 187 yards on 49 carries. In addition to Gordon’s 109 yards on the ground, sophomore Barrett Phillips added 48 yards on 17 carries.
Sophomore linebacker Bryan Soto had 13 tackles to lead the Green Forest defense, with junior Max Jones making 10 tackles. Gordon and junior Adrian Serna each had nine stops and sophomore Dalton Randoph had eight.
Green Forest will host Prairie Grove on Friday in the 4A-1 conference opener for both teams. Kickoff time is 7 p.m. at Tiger Stadium.