Greenon stays perfect with rout of Northeastern

Rice has thrown 14 touchdown passes in three games

No one is 100 percent sure when the Greenon Knights last started 3-0 before this football season. Third-year coach Josh Wooten researched it and talked to others about the question but did not find a definitive answer.

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"I don't know if it's the 1979 or 1982 range with (coach) Bill Hill," Wooten said, "but it's been a long time since we've been 3-0."

What Wooten does know is the Knights are 3-0 this season and have won seven games in a row, counting the last four games of the 2018 season. They stayed perfect with a 44-7 victory Friday against Northeastern (0-3) at Conover Field. The teams played for the first time since 2000.

Greenon led 41-0 at halftime, thanks to five touchdown passes and a touchdown run by junior Cade Rice.

Greenon has scored 165 points in victories against Shawnee, Bradford and Northeastern. Rice has thrown 14 touchdown passes in those games. The Knights have already equalled their win total from 2017 when Rice was a freshman starter.

"We expected it, and we feel great," Rice said "It's another chip on our shoulder. It's another thing we're looking to build off of."

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Senior lineman Dylan Bardnell credited the coaching staff for believing in the players. After starting 2-4 last season, Greenon won its last four games and finished in the middle of the pack in Division V, Region 18. Through the first two weeks this season, it was one of seven unbeaten teams in Division V, Region 20, and although there's a lot of work to be done in the seven weeks ahead, Greenon is on track to make the playoffs for the first time.

"It feels really great," Barndell said. "It's just the work ethic that all of us have. We never get down. We're always bringing people up."

Greenon secured this victory in the first quarter. After losing a fumble on its first drive, the Knights took a 7-0 lead on a 23-yard touchdown pass from Rice to Clay Hough on their second possession. Rice then scored on a 41-yard run and threw two touchdown passes to Luke Downing as the Knights extended their lead to 27-0 with 1:20 left in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Kameron Cox caught a 36-yard touchdown pass, and Bass Moore scored on a 25-yard reception. The lead was 41-0 at halftime. Rice did not play in the second half.

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Rice continued to spread the ball around. Each of his top four receivers has at least three touchdown catches this season.

"That's the nice thing about it from an offensive standpoint," Wooten said. "You can't focus on one kid. You try to focus on Cade and stopping him and he's got the ability to beat you with his arm and beat you with his legs, but I love the pieces that are around him. Luke Downing and Kam Cox and Clay Hough and Bass Moore, I think they all got touches tonight and they just do a great job."

Wooten also praised the offensive line for protecting Rice. It's a job the linemen love.

"It's pretty fun," Bardnell said. "He's a crazy athlete, and seeing him run everywhere and throwing passes because the O-line is giving him time, it's just amazing."

\Greenon opened the season with a 56-36 victory at Shawnee and then beat Bradford 65-6. In Week 4, it plays Fairbanks at home.

Northeastern (0-3) lost 27-14 at home to Worthington Christian in Week 1 and then lost 41-0 at Northwestern. Next week, it plays at Catholic Central, which also started the season 0-2.

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