Greenon outlasts Madison Plains to stay unbeaten in OHC South

Greenon High School wide receiver Arlie Benson, Jr. finds an opening during their game against Madison Plains on Friday night at Greenon Stadium. The Knights won 24-16. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER

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Greenon High School wide receiver Arlie Benson, Jr. finds an opening during their game against Madison Plains on Friday night at Greenon Stadium. The Knights won 24-16. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER

Greenon High School football coach Josh Wooten expected the worst when it came to Friday’s weather forecast.

He made sure the pass-heavy Knights squad were ready to face both a tough opponent in Madison Plains, but also inclement weather.

“We anticipated this,” said the second-year Knights coach. “I told them all week, ‘They have to play in the same elements we do’. I trust in what our staff does and I trust that our kids are going to do what they’re coached to do. If we do those things, we’ve got an opportunity to be successful and win every week.”

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The potent Knights attack was unfazed by the rain. Greenon junior quarterback Cade Rice rushed for two scores and threw for another as the Knights beat the Golden Eagles 24-16 on Friday night at Greenon Stadium.

The Knights improved to 5-2 and 2-0 in the Ohio Heritage Conference South Division. Madison Plains fell to 4-3 and 1-1 in the division.

“We did some good things, but we’ve got some things to work on like always,” Wooten said.

“The big thing is that we got to 1-0 this week and 2-0 in the OHC and now we’re looking forward to Cedarville.”

The Knights drove the ball down the field in their first possession, but were stopped on fourth and goal from the 8-yard line. After stopping the Golden Eagles, the Knights took a 7-0 lead on an 8-yard run by Rice early in the second quarter.

Madison Plains responded with a 2-yard TD run by quarterback Jarrett Vallery, who also ran in the two-point conversion attempt to give the Golden Eagles an 8-7 lead.

With 2:18 remaining in the first half, Rice found Luke Downing on a 1-yard TD pass to reclaim the lead for Greenon. The Knights got the ball back and drove the ball deep into territory, taking a 17-8 lead as time expired on a 37-yard field goal by Nathan Hawks.

“It was big,” Wooten said. “Nathan did a great job, I think it could’ve been good from about 55-plus. He’s a great kid with a great leg.”

With 5:38 remaining, Rice scored on a 1-yard run to give the Knights a 24-8 lead.

But the Golden Eagles didn’t go down without a fight. Vallery scored again on a 10-yard run and converted the two-point attempt to pull the Golden Eagles to within one score at 24-16.

Madison Plains attempted an onside kick, but it was recovered by the Knights’ Evan Davis. Greenon was able to run the clock out to seal the victory.

“The defense has done a great job the last two weeks,” Wooten said. “We played well. We made an adjustment there in the second half. (Plains) has had some success in the passing and the running game. I’d love to see their numbers if you take away that last drive or two. I think our defense played well tonight.”

The Knights are in contention for their first league title since 2007, but Wooten and his squad won’t look past next week’s opponent — winless Cedarville (0-7, 0-2 OHC South). The Indians led Greeneview 8-3, but fell 26-8.

“(Cedarville’s) coach does an excellent job and they’ve got hard-nosed kids who will continue to fight,” Wooten said. “That’s what we expect going over there. We’re not looking forward. We want to take it one game at a time like coaches’ always say. We’re excited about where we’ve put ourselves to be in a position to win.”

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