The Bowling Green football team opened the postseason with a convincing 35-7 win over Greenwood on Friday night.
Playing what could be the final game at El Donaldson Stadium, Bowling Green (6-2) built an early lead to take control and make it 31-0 all-time against the Gators.
While the final outcome was rarely in doubt, BG coach Mark Spader said his team felt like they could have played better.
“We don’t think we played really well,” Spader said. “We had a lot of adversity that we created for ourselves, but we overcame it. In the playoffs, (it’s) win and advance.
“It’s why we are in the program that we are, where you come off a 35-7 win and you feel like you could have played better. We know that there were some things we did tonight, if we do those again, we won’t be playing.”
The Purples got off to a quick start, with Conner Cooper connecting with Tyler Strode for a 10-yard touchdown reception on BG’s first possession.
Cooper added another score on the next possession, a screen pass to Javy Bunton on third-and-6 that Bunton was able to turn into a 48-yard touchdown that pushed the lead to 14-0.
“We prepare a lot during the week,” Cooper said. “We see what they do on film and we just attack their weaknesses.”
Cooper and Strode hooked up for a second touchdown late in the second quarter to stretch the advantage to 21 points, but Greenwood (6-3) got a little life just before halftime.
The Gators defense forced a turnover to put Greenwood in the red zone. The offense was able to capitalize with Lofton Howard finding Sebastian Conwell for a 13-yard score as time expired – cutting the Purples’ lead to 21-7 at the break.
The momentum was short-lived, however, with Greenwood unable to recover an onside kick to start the second half and Bowling Green scoring on Cooper’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Eli Burwash on the ensuing drive.
Cooper and Burwash hooked up again in the fourth quarter on a 50-yard touchdown – giving Cooper five touchdown passes to go with his 295 yards passing.
Greenwood was held without a point in the second half despite a couple of drives deep into Bowling Green territory in the fourth quarter.
“We had our chances to make it a game,” Greenwood coach William Howard said. “We were down there a couple of times. We just didn’t put it in the end zone. To beat good teams you have to do that.”
Despite the loss, Howard said his team took great strides this season and has plenty to build off of for 2021 and beyond.
“We’ve got several seniors on the team and this was their last one, but we had some young guys that really shined tonight,” William Howard said. “There’s a bright future there.”
Bowling Green now advances to face South Warren at 7 p.m. Friday. The Spartans beat the Purples 10-7 when the teams met last month.
“If we have problems being focused and having the right attitude this week then we don’t need to be playing,” Spader said. “It’s become a great rivalry – two great programs, well-coached teams, good players. There is going to be a lot of talent out on the field. It was a brawl last time. It’s going to be a brawl this time.”
And Bowling Green has added motivation, with a win at South Warren giving the Purples a chance at another home game.
“We want another one at the El,” Cooper said. “We are going to keep pushing.”
GHS 0 7 0 0 – 7
BGHS 14 7 7 7 – 35
BG – Tyler Strode 10 pass from Conner Cooper (conversion failed), 7:09
BG – Javy Bunton 48 pass from Cooper (Cooper run), 2:41
BG – Strode 26 pass from Cooper (Colin Fratus kick), 2:40
GHS – Sebastian Conwell 13 pass from Lofton Howard (Drew Smothers kick), 0:00
BG – Eli Burwash 9 pass from Cooper (Fratus kick), 9:57
BG – Burwash 50 pass from Cooper (Fratus kick), 8:31