Bobcats go down swinging: Greenland pulls away from Berryville in second half
By Scott Loftis
The Berryville Bobcats had more than one chance to throw in the towel last Friday night against the Greenland Pirates.
Instead, however, the Bobcats stayed on their feet and traded punches for the better part of three quarters before Greenland pulled away for a 50-28 victory at Bobcat Stadium.
“I’m proud that our kids didn’t quit,” Berryville coach Doug Shott said. “We played hard. We always know it’s important to come from behind and play hard when you’re behind. They didn’t lay down so that was a good deal.”
Berryville trailed 28-7 in the second quarter before battling back. Senior quarterback J.D. Smith ran for a 6-yard touchdown to pull the Bobcats within 28-13, and an 11-yard touchdown run by senior Dominic Henry cut the gap to 28-20 by halftime.
After a Pirates touchdown to start the third quarter, Henry scored again on a 12-yard run to make it 36-28 with 5:53 left in the quarter. Greenland responded with two touchdowns in the next eight minutes of game time to clinch the victory.
Greenland tailback Jett Dennis ran for 287 yards. Berryville fell to 0-2 after opening the season with a 44-6 loss to Cedarville.
“Greenland’s a good football team,” Shott said. “We talked about our nonconference games this year and how good character is built under adversity. You don’t get under adversity when you’re beating somebody 50 to 0, so you don’t really learn much about yourself or have an opportunity to grow. Our first two games, we’ve had some opportunity to grow. We’ve stressed reacting the right way. That’s how you become a better person and a better team. That’s what I’m proud of. Of course, we want to win and we need to win but all I know to do is go back to work and get back after it.”
Berryville had plenty of bright spots on offense. Led by 61 yards and two touchdowns from Henry, the Bobcats ran for 165 yards and four touchdowns. Junior Jaeden Tanksley ran for a first-quarter touchdown that gave Berryville an early lead.
Berryville’s passing game was productive as well, as Smith completed eight of 11 passes for 140 yards. Smith had completions to six receivers, including a 40-yard pass to junior Kennon Helmlinger.
“This is what I tell everybody, whether they believe me or not: I love to throw the ball,” Shott said. “But I want to throw it when I want to throw it. I don’t want to throw it when I have to because it’s no fun then. It’s always part of our game plan, but we’ve got to be in the right situation. The kids felt good about doing it and executing it. It enabled us to throw a few more times than what we normally would have. JD did a fine job. He was an escape artist a couple of times. He showed some leadership.”
Berryville will open conference play on Friday, traveling to Springdale to face Shiloh Christian.
“Shiloh’s Shiloh,” Shott said, “They’re good at most every position. They’re going to throw the ball a whole lot. They’re going to bring everybody on defense. But I think our kids will play hard. We need to play this week. We need to get better this week, regardless of who we’re playing.”