LITTLE ROCK -- Connor Noland gave Greenwood High a sendoff that Bulldog fans will be talking about for years.
Now, he belongs to the Razorbacks.
Recruited by Arkansas for football and baseball, Noland passed for 304 yards and four touchdowns Friday night as Greenwood crushed Pine Bluff 52-14 in the Class 6A final at War Memorial Stadium.
Noland completed 20 of 27 passes with two touchdowns in each half. Junior wide receiver Peyton Holt had 14 catches for 197 yards with touchdown receptions of 49 and 9 yards.
Senior Kenny Wood ran 73 yards for a touchdown on Greenwood's first play from scrimmage, later scoring on a five-yard run and a 45-yard pass from Noland. Wood totaled 153 yards from scrimmage.
Greenwood completed a 13-0 season with the school's eighth state football championship, including seven in 14 years under coach Rick Jones. The Bulldogs totaled 570 points, beating Texarkana 38-0 and West Memphis 45-14 earlier in the playoffs. Greenwood ended a 10-game regular season with a 45-17 road victory over Lake Hamilton after the first half ended 10-all.
The state title was Greenwood's first since 2012, when the Bulldogs beat Pine Bluff 51-44 in the championship game. Pine Bluff snapped Greenwood's 50-game winning streak in the 2013 semifinals and downed the Bulldogs 28-21 in the 2015 title game. Greenwood beat Pine Bluff 31-30 in the 2016 semifinals but lost 37-23 to fellow 6A-West member Russellville in a title-game rematch.
Seeking the school's 24th state football championship, Pine Bluff finished 12-2. The Zebras won 12 straight after a first-game loss to Class 7A Cabot, defeating Russellville (40-21) and Searcy (34-14) earlier in the playoffs.
Pine Bluff scored bookend touchdowns in the first half against Greenwood but never slowed the Bulldogs. Greenwood padded a 31-14 halftime lead with three consecutive touchdown drives, Jackson Webb running 57 yards with barely a minute gone in the third quarter.
Kenny Wood broke some downfield tackles on the 45-yard touchdown pass from Noland, who connected with Holt on a swing pass for his fourth TD of the game.
Senior Nick Vota, also playing his last game, led Greenwood with 13 tackles, including 11 solo, and had an interception. Junior linebacker Travis Cox had 10 stops and senior linebacker Luke Johnson was credited with two sacks and 3 1/2 tackles for lost yardage.
Pline Bluff went 80 yards in seven plays for a quick touchdown, senior Jyrimee Thompson wresting the ball in the end zone from a defender on a 43-yard pass. Tyler Foots passed for the score and sneaked one yard for a touchdown after a fumble recovery at the Greenwood 24, but the sophomore completed only four of 12 attempts and suffered three interceptions and two sacks.
Greenwood outgained Pine Bluff 490-162 in only 17 minutes, 19 seconds of possession time, outscoring the Zebras 14-7 in 1:28 of the second period.
* Hot Springs native Landon Trusty served as the referee in the Class 6A final, played on a 52-degree evening. A former star quarterback at Lakeside High who led the Rams to the 2000 state title in basketball, Trusty is a veteran official in the Great American Conference.Sports on 12/03/2017
Print Headline: UA-bound Noland stars in Greenwood title rout