The final score from Friday night’s Greenwood-Decatur Central looks to be from the yellowed pages of an old scrapbook.
As for the play that decided the outcome, not so much.
A 24-yard timing pass from Bryce Jefferson to Tyrone Tracy with only 9.1 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter lifted the visiting Hawks to a dramatic 13-12 victory in this Mid-State Conference showdown.
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Decatur Central is 6-1 overall and 5-0 in league play entering next week’s much-anticipated showdown at home against unbeaten and top-ranked Roncalli.
The Woodmen fall to 5-2 and 2-2.
In a game neither squad deserved to lose, the Woodmen delivered an outstanding defensive performance. In the end, Tracy, a University of Iowa verbal commitment, made one of the biggest plays of his storied prep career by securing the football in the back corner of the end zone.
“Give credit to them. They made a play at the end,” Greenwood coach Mike Campbell said. “Tremendous effort from both teams. It was a physical game. As physical of a game as I think you’ll get to see.”
“I thought our defense was outstanding. We gave them bad spots early in the first half and they responded and kept (Decatur) out of the end zone. Their first score was on a broken play where a couple of freak athletes got into open space. I thought defensively we were so sound and we tackled well.”
Tracy entered the game averaging 9.9 yards a carry. The Woodmen defense stuffed him for a minus-6 yards on 11 carries.
The offenses finally got on track the final two quarters after a scoreless first half.
Decatur Central struck first when Jefferson, eluding numerous Woodmen pass rushers in his own backfield on third-and-35, connected with senior Calvin Thomas in the right flat. Thomas used his speed to elude defenders on his way to the end zone.
The Woodmen came right back on quarterback Seth Gallman’s 1-yard sneak with 2:10 remaining in the third. Greenwood would take its lone lead of the evening with 1:38 remaining in the fourth period — Gallman’s 88-yard pass over the middle to R.J. Meyers.
Meyers, a senior, brought the ball in at his own 47, broke free from a diving Decatur Central defender and was off to the races.
In the first half, Greenwood stopped three Decatur Central attempts on fourth down and forced a Tracy fumble — recovered by senior linebacker Tim Johns — to end another offensive series.
Jefferson, who is verbally committed to play football at Illinois State University, completed 12 of 22 passes for 191 yards. The senior also rushed for 100 yards on 15 carries.
Greenwood received 86 rushing yards on 24 carries from junior Nick Willham. Gallman passed for 150 yards and ran for 56.
Afterward, Hawks coach Kyle Enright was simply glad to get out of Greenwood with a win.
“Greenwood always plays us tough. We have a high-powered offense, and we haven’t been shut out in a half in a long time,” Enright said. “They shut us out the second half last year and the first half this year.”
“That’s the equivalent of a whole game, so their defensive staff does a great job. Man, what a fun game to watch. Both teams deserved to win that game, so I feel bad for Greenwood because they fought hard. But our kids showed some resiliency, as well.”