The Wildcats played hard, but the Bulldogs proved to be too much by winning 46-20. The win gave Greenwood the region championship, while Cleveland, due to the fact that Yazoo City was deemed ineligible, finished second.
“I thought they played hard,” Cleveland High head football coach Kelly Causey said his team. “We gave up a couple of big plays. We got down there twice and didn’t score. We had adversity here and there. I thought they fought hard. We’ll learn from the mistakes we made. Greenwood has a real good ball club. They’ve got a chance to go deep in the playoffs. They’ve got a lot of seniors on that team and D-I prospects we haven’t faced. I’m just proud we didn’t just give in.”
The Wildcats, at 6-5, will host West Lauderdale in the first round of the 4A State Playoffs on Friday, while Greenwood, 9-1, will host Houston.
“It’s going to be big,” Causey said about hosting the first round of the playoffs. “We ended up losing that game last year. We’re going to pick it up and we’re going to do what we can. It’s big to play at home where you don’t have to travel.”
The Bulldogs jumped on top early in the contest as quarterback Kwadra Griggs threw touchdown passes to Booker T. Chambers and Sammie Epps. Griggs connected with Tyrone Weaver on a 2-point conversion pass after the second touchdown of the quarter to make the score 14-0 heading into the second quarter.
With 7:20 left in the second quarter, Chambers showed his speed and skill by marching on an 85-yard touchdown run to give the Bulldogs their third touchdown of the game. The PAT kick was no good, but Greenwood led 20-0.
The Wildcats finally started to get some offense. At midfield, Earnest Butler ended up throwing a halfback pass to Kyran Parker, who was able to get the ball close to the five-yard line. A play later, Butler marched into the end zone from seven yards with 4:20 left in the first half to give Cleveland its first score of the game. The PAT kick was no good, but the Wildcats cut the Bulldogs’ lead down to 20-6.
Greenwood was able to get some more points before the half as Griggs was able to connect with Epps on a 13-yard touchdown pass with 1:42 left on the clock. Griggs connected with Johnderrick Smith on the 2-point conversion to increase the Bulldogs’ lead to 28-6 going into the lockerroom at halftime.
Greenwood picked up where it left off in the third quarter as Griggs marched on a two-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion attempt was no good, but Greenwood led 34-6. The score would remain 34-6 going into the fourth quarter.
In the last quarter, Cleveland moved the ball well on offense as Vaughnte Dorsey scored two touchdowns with Trace Edwards kicking the extra point both times, but Smith rushed for a touchdown and Griggs threw a touchdown pass to Korey Robertson to seal up the 46-20 victory for Greenwood.