Greenwood didn’t end up on the wrong end of another last-second thriller on Friday — but host Franklin certainly made the Woodmen sweat this one out.
Dillon Cloyd’s interception in the final minute snuffed out a Grizzly Cubs scoring threat and allowed Greenwood to escape with a 12-10 victory.
“We just had enough in the tank that we could make a few plays,” Woodmen coach Mike Campbell said. “Defense made some plays when they needed to make plays, offense made a few plays. We obviously have a lot of improvement to get ready going into the playoffs, but we also feel better this week than we did last week.”
The Woodmen (6-2, 3-2 Mid-State) picked up the decisive score when Seth Gallman hit Isaiah Drew for a 22-yard touchdown with 6:54 remaining, but Franklin gave itself one last chance when it got the ball back on its 15 with a little more than two minutes to go.
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Drew Byerly converted back-to-back fourth downs for the Grizzly Cubs (1-7, 1-4), one on a long scramble to his 40 and another on a short pass to Fromer at the Greenwood 40. Faced with one more do-or-die play, though, Byerly had to throw into traffic and was picked off by Cloyd with 40.1 seconds remaining.
“I’m not going to lie and say I wasn’t nervous,” Gallman said, “but I have faith in my defense, and they stepped up and made the plays when they needed to.”
Both teams leaned on their defenses during the first half. Justin VanDyke picked off a pass to end Franklin’s first possession, and after the Grizzly Cubs got on the board with a 37-yard field goal by Spencer Downhour early in the second quarter, Greenwood lost a fumble just after crossing midfield on its next possession.
The Woodmen came up with a big stop, however, and found the end zone with 1:58 left in the half on a 2-yard touchdown run by Nick Willham. Franklin got a piece of the extra-point try, keeping the score at 6-3 heading into the intermission.
Greenwood’s first two possessions of the second half yielded nothing, and after a punt return by Ranger Soots set up the Grizzly Cubs at the Woodmen 36, Franklin regained the lead with a touchdown drive. An 18-yard run by Hunter Samples on third down put the ball on the 3, and Tyler Fromer punched it in from there to make it 10-6 with 34.4 seconds left in the third quarter.
Staring a late deficit in the face, the Greenwood offense finally responded. Willham carried the ball five consecutive times, including once to convert a fourth down, to set the stage for Gallman’s winning toss.
“That was actually just something we drew up on the fly,” Gallman said. “It was great that it worked out.
“It was ugly, but we got it done.”