South Warren has bounced back.
After losing 14-3 to crosstown rival Bowling Green on Oct. 4 to have its state-leading 21-game win streak snapped, and being off last week for fall break, the Spartans returned to their winning ways Friday by defeating Greenwood 36-18 at “The Swamp.”
South (7-1 overall, 1-1 Class 5A, District 2) trailed 9-8 at halftime but put together a dominant third quarter – outscoring Greenwood 21-3 – to build a 29-12 lead entering the fourth and held off the Gators (5-3, 1-1) from there.
Quarterback Mason Willingham and running back Kobe Martin each scored two touchdowns for the Spartans, while wide receivers Jantzen Dunn and Chidi Afam each found the end zone once.
After a scoreless opening quarter, South Warren struck early into the second.
Martin, who had already tallied 19 yards with four carries on the drive, added 12 more to his stat sheet on a touchdown run. Martin’s score – followed by an Eldar Dervisevic run for the two-point conversion – gave the Spartans an 8-0 lead at the 10:01 mark.
Greenwood responded – and in a big way.
Trailing 8-0, the Gators assembled an 11-play drive that covered 67 yards and capped it with a 19-yard TD pass from quarterback John Morrison to running back Reed Slone. Greenwood’s two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful, but it right in it down by just two with 5:07 remaining in the half.
After South Warren punted and threw an interception on its next two drives, Greenwood put together another successful series and scored on a 39-yard field goal by Ben Patterson to take a 9-8 lead into the locker room at halftime.
South Warren went to work – and took control – in the ensuing half.
Martin’s second score of the night – this one a run-in from seven yards out – put the Spartans back in front near the midway point of the third quarter. Rushing four times for 27 yards on the series, Martin capped his impressive drive with another score and Dunn ran in for the two-point conversion to put the Spartans up 16-9 at the 7:28 mark.
Another field goal sent through the uprights by Patterson – this one from 35 yards out – cut Greenwood’s deficit to 16-12 at the 4:16 mark.
The Spartans extended their lead to 10 on their next drive, needing just three plays to score on a 79-yard TD pass from Willingham to Dunn. Willingham received the snap, found Dunn open to his left and the wideout broke loose down the left sideline and crossed the pylon to make it 22-12.
South added to its side of the scoreboard just over a minute later as Willingham connected with Afam for a 19-yard TD. The score came just one play after Avrin Bell picked off Morrison and gave the Spartans possession in the red zone – and put them up 29-12 with 2:04 left in the quarter.
Greenwood scored on a four-yard TD run from Jonathan Gornik – a defensive lineman – to get within 29-18 with 6:51 left, but that’s as close as it would get and South Warren came out on top.
Both teams return to action next week as the Spartans travel to Christian County and the Gators host Bowling Green. Both games are scheduled to kickoff at 7 p.m.
South Warren 36, Greenwood 18
SWHS – 0 8 21 7 — 36
GHS – 0 9 3 6 — 18
Martin 12 run (Dervisevic run for two-point conversion), 10:01
Slone 19 pass from Morrison (Two-point conversion fails), 5:07
Patterson 39 field goal, 0:17
Martin 7 run (Dunn run for two-point conversion), 7:28
Patterson 35 field goal, 4:16
Dunn 79 pass from Willingham (kick blocked), 3:14
Afam 19 pass from Willingham (Dervisevic kick), 2:04
Gornik 4 run (kick missed), 6:51
Grawe 27 run (Dervisevic kick), 0:43