Greenwood stole the attention of the state last Friday when it shocked South Warren, the reigning Class 4A champion, and put an end to the Spartans’ 17-game win streak dating back to last season. It was an early sign that this season could be special for the Gators, who are 3-0 and ranked sixth in the latest Associated Press Class 5A poll (they were ninth in the first Cantrall Ratings of the season).
In the offseason following Greenwood’s 9-3 campaign in 2015 — the best finish in Gators history — fourth-year head coach Chris Seabolt did a deep dive into the record books. He found just one instance of back-to-back winning seasons (2008 and 2009) since the school began play in 1990. Seabolt thought it was time to change that M.O. and challenged his players to “take another step forward” by not just producing another winning season, but beating at least one of the two teams — Bowling Green and South Warren — that beat them in the 2015 regular season.
His guys answered that call, defeating South Warren for the first time in school history. The Gators held an offense that had outscored it 116-10 in their three prior meetings to only 16 points.
“Probably by about 11 a.m. our kids were ready to play football,” Seabolt said of last Friday morning. Their demeanor was unlike anything he’d seen. That can-do spirit helped Greenwood bolt to a 17-0 halftime lead.
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Despite losing two-way stud C.J. Hayes (a Purdue commit) to a shoulder injury in the first half, then quarterback Ryder Litten (hip) and offensive lineman Chris Hickman (knee) in the second half, South Warren pulled to within 17-16 with 2:34 remaining in the game. Greenwood lineman Bradley Herman halted a quarterback keeper when South Warren decided to go for a two-point conversion.
“It was probably the best atmosphere we’ve had in my time here at Greenwood,” said Seabolt, noting that the fan support probably helped make a difference on the two-point play and in the second half as South Warren’s defense adjusted.
There are still some big tests on the docket for Greenwood, including this week’s home battle with Franklin-Simpson, ranked No. 2 in Class 4A. Glasgow, a talented Class 2A squad, and Bowling Green — in the conversation as the state’s best team — are waiting in the wings, too.
“We don’t get a break,” Seabolt said.