PEARCY, Ark. – Lake Hamilton didn’t make a lot of mistakes during Friday night’s Homecoming game against top-ranked Greenwood, but the ones it made were decisive for the unbeaten Bulldogs.
The Wolves’ only two fumbles came in the final six minutes of the game, and Greenwood (10-0) rallied for a 38-28 victory, and the 6A West championship. The Bulldogs trailed 21-10 late in the third quarter.
“We should have won the game,” said a disappointed Lake Hamilton coach Tommy Gilleran. “You can’t turn the ball over, and we got beat in the kicking game tonight.”
The Bulldogs’ 10-point win was the closest game they’ve had in 2020. It should have been closer. Their final touchdown was a gift in the final seconds. Greenwood recovered an errant snap in the Wolves’ end zone for six points, and Luis Morales converted his fifth PAT. Morales also kicked a 26-yard field goal in the first quarter.
Bulldogs stop Lake Hamilton early
Lake Hamilton failed to score in the first quarter for the first time this season. The Wolves reached Greenwood’s 2 on their first possession, but a holding pernalty wiped out a long run by Owen Miller.
Gilleran was hoping his defense could make two or three stops in the game, and they did that on Greenwood’s first two possessions.
Isaiah Clenney scored the Wolves’ first points on a spectacular 35-yard touchdown catch from junior quarterback Grant Bearden with 9:38 left in the first half. Alex Hurtz’s kick made it 7-3.
It only took Greenwood 68 seconds to answer with L.D. Richmond throwing his 24th touchdown pass.
Bearden’s fourth touchdown pass of the year went to Miller from 25 yards. That gave the Wolves a 14-10 lead at intermission.
Wilkerson sparks Greenwood comeback
Greenwood scored on three of four possessions in the second half. Senior Hunter Wilkerson provided the spark with 1 and 63-yard touchdown runs. He finished with a game-high 203 yards on 20 carries.
Richmond scored on a 1-yard sneak with 2:57 left in the third quarter. That pulled the Bulldogs within four points (21-17). Greenwood then gambled on an onside kick and recovered to set up another touchdown. Wilkerson plowed over from the 1 with 23 seconds left in the third period.
Bearden gave the Wolves their final lead on a 3-yard keeper with 6:50 left in the game. Wilkerson’s 63-yard dash followed 37 seconds later.
Fullback Tevin Woodley almost matched Wilkerson’s performance. The Lake Hamilton bowling ball accounted for 200 yards on 22 totes. Bearden completed 4 of 7 passes for 109 yards.
Woodley climaxed an 11-play drive at the start of the third quarter with a 6-yard score. The Wolves ate up nearly seven minutes on that march. They doubled Greenwood’s time of possession in the game, 32 minutes to 16.
Lake Hamilton fumbled at the Bulldogs’ 20 with 2:56 remaining.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see these two teams meet again in the playoffs.