Offense rules as Greenon beats Shawnee for first time since 2007

Greenon players take the field before Friday night’s season opener vs. Shawnee. Michael Cooper/CONTRIBUTED

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Greenon players take the field before Friday night’s season opener vs. Shawnee. Michael Cooper/CONTRIBUTED

It didn’t take long for the Greenon High School football team to make a big statement.

Knights junior Cade Rice went 26-for-46 for 368 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 145 yards and two more scores as Greenon beat Shawnee 56-39 in the season opener on Friday night at Greenon Stadium.

It was the Knights’ first victory over Shawnee since 2007.

“I’m excited for our kids and I’m excited for our staff,” said Knights coach Josh Wooten. “And as I’ve always said since I took the job, I’m excited for our community. We’re like every other school district in Ohio, we’re starving for a winner. We’re a step ahead of where I anticipated being when I took the job, but I’m just excited for our kids.”

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Shawnee’s Robie Glass had 258 yards rushing and two TDs, while Matt Guyer had 150 yards rushing and two scores for the Braves. Jaden Hall added 74 yards rushing and two TD runs.

The Braves took a 39-35 lead with 11 minutes remaining on a 2-yard TD run by Hall. However, Greenon reclaimed the lead on a 12-yard strike from Rice to Bass Moore with 8:43 remaining.

On its next possession, Shawnee drove deep into Knights’ territory, but were stopped on 4th-and-goal from the 3.

“We preach heart,” Wooten said. “We said earlier this week we were going to need a stop and we’re going to be put into that type of situation. You’ve got to beat the guy across from you and we were fortunate enough to do that.”

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A few plays later, Rice found Clay Hough on a 78-yard TD to seal the victory. A year ago, the Knights led 21-19 at halftime, but lost 40-21.

“We’re 1-0,” Rice said. “We’ve worked since Aug. 24 (2018), the last time we saw these guys. I’m so glad and so relieved that all of our hard work has come to fruition. We put in the work every single day, all summer long.”

Rice completed touchdown passes to four different receivers. Hough had eight catches for 174 yards and a score. Moore caught six passes for 129 yards and two scores — the first coming on a 58-yard double pass from Hough in the first quarter to give the Knights a 7-0 lead.

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“The big catches, the big grabs they make, it blows my mind sometimes,” Rice said. “I put it in the vicinity and they come away with it. I’m so proud of my teammates. My line did a great job up front.”

The Knights took a 14-0 lead on a three-yard run by Kameron Cox, but Shawnee pulled to within one point on scores by Guyer and Hall.

Greenon extended its lead to 21-13 on a TD pass from Rice to Cox with 3:15 remaining in the first half.

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Shawnee stormed back to take a 25-21 lead into the half after Glass scampered for TD runs of 61 and 27 yards.

Greenon took the lead again at 28-25 in the third quarter on a 20-yard score from Rice to Luke Downing. Shawnee responded with a 3-yard run by Guyer to make it 32-28.

The Knights took a 35-32 lead on an 11-yard run by Rice. He’d account for three more TDs in the fourth quarter to seal the win.

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The Braves had five turnovers and were plagued by seven penalties for 85 yards. They also struggled on fourth down, allowing the Knights to convert three times.

“We turned the ball over too much and we weren’t getting stops defensively like we hoped,” Shawnee coach Rick Meeks said. “We just couldn’t keep pace offensively. They’re a good team. (Rice) can throw the ball and he’s got guys that can catch it.”

The Braves host Tippecanoe next Thursday, meaning they’ll have one less day to prepare for their former CBC rival.

“We’re behind the 8-ball,” Meeks said. “Let’s go, we’ve got to get moving. That’s what I told the kids. We don’t have time to mope about it. We’ve got to get back to work on a short week.”

The game saw more than 1,152 yards of total offense — with each team totaling 576 yards of offense.

The Knights host Bradford next week.

“We don’t have great numbers, but I’ll take those kids we have every day of the week and twice on Sunday,” Wooten said. “I’m really proud of our kids.”

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