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Big plays lift Woodmen past Perry Meridian

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Greenwood didn’t take visiting football foe Perry Meridian behind its “Woodshed” on Friday night.

Instead, the big-play Woodmen put it to the Falcons on the field for all to see in the first half on their way to a 56-28 rout in the season-opening game for both schools.

A year ago, it was Perry Meridian that dominated throughout in a one-sided decision.

This time, Greenwood asserted itself convincingly on its first play from scrimmage. And then on its second.

After almost fumbling away the football on a kickoff return, the Woodmen scored first on a 74-yard pass play involving senior quarterback Tanner Skeel and sophomore wide receiver Dylan Rosado.

Greenwood’s special teams set up the hosts’ second TD when senior linebacker Marty Wituszynski blocked a Justin Kidwell punt attempt and Kyle McClarney of the Woodmen recovered the ball on the Falcons’ 11-yard-line.

On the ensuing play, Skeel scampered for an 11-yard touchdown rush — the first of five times the senior would cross the goal line with the football in hand.

The Woodmen scored twice more in the opening period when junior running back John Gallman scored on a 2-yard run and Skeel bolted up the middle on a 57-yard rushing play.

Down 28-0, Perry Meridian got on the scoreboard on the first play of the second quarter when running back Glen Baker ran in from 10 yards out.

But Greenwood wasn’t exactly out of offensive fireworks.

Skeel tallied all three of the Woodmen’s second-quarter TDs, rushing twice for 1-yard scores and once on a 30-yard play to break the game wide open.

The Falcons got their second touchdown on a 6-yard toss from quarterback Tristen Tonte to Ben Fleet as time ran out before the intermission.

The second half was less eventful than the first, but still featured big plays highlighted by Gallman’s 31-yard run for touchdown early in the fourth quarter and Fleet’s 93-yard catch and run later in the period.

Greenwood rolled up 370 rushing yards to go with Skeel’s 124 passing yards — on just three pass attempts for a whopping 494 yards of total offense. Skeel wound up with 157 rushing yards on 14 carries. Gallman was the team’s leading ground gainer with 179 yards in 21 attempts.

Perry Meridian struggled for most of the opening half getting on track on offense, but finished with 432 total offensive yards. Tonte, a sophomore and first-time starter, completed 13 of 26 throws for 280 yards, but was intercepted three times. The Falcons had 152 yards on the ground.

Both teams were heavily penalized with the officials probably throwing the flag more often than both quarterbacks tossed the football.

The Woodmen next will face county rival Indian Creek at Lucas Oil Stadium in a game that’s been moved from Aug. 29 to Aug. 30.

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