By Jeremy Price
For the Daily Journal
The night started promisingly enough for visiting Greenwood.
A pass interference penalty on the first play from scrimmage gave the Woodmen a first down, and three plays later a short third-down pass gave then another near midfield.
Two false starts and a punt later, Bloomington North seized control and never let up.
The host Cougars scored on a 59-yard touchdown pass from Reece Lozano to Jarno Hicks on their first possession and went on to score touchdowns the first four times they had the ball en route to a 48-8 win over Greenwood in the season opener for both teams on Friday night.
“We did some things, then our inexperience showed up,” Woodmen coach Mike Campbell said. “We got a false start penalty, some other things that got us off schedule and our margin for error with our lack of team speed and depth (is small), but some of those young guys got better as the night went on, and our kids were physical; they got after it.”
Greenwood matched Bloomington North first down for first down, 9-9, through the opening half, but the big plays by the home team and the inability to sustain a drive by the visitors made those totals misleading.
The Cougars scored on all but their final possession of the opening half to go up 27-0, then found the end zone again on the first two drives of the second half to invoke a running clock.
Lozano finished with five touchdown passes and a touchdown run as Bloomington North built a 48-0 lead.
“Hats off to Coach (Scott) Bless and his staff,” Campbell said. “They did a great job of getting their speed in space, and we knew that could be a problem if they could isolate guys. Then defensively, they packed it in on us, did a nice job of hemming us in. We had opportunities and didn’t capitalize on those.
“We were replacing 27 seniors from last year and those guys started for three years. We’re back with a lot of sophomores again. The only way to get experience is to play, and they got a little trial by fire tonight. They saw a good 5A team in space and with speed. It’s hard for us to simulate that speed in practice. We certainly got a lesson tonight.”
Greenwood averted the shutout in the fourth quarter when Jackson Haessig dashed 51 yards around left end. The Woodmen added the two-point conversion pass from Brock Riddle to Ethan Pringle to wrap up the night on a positive note. Haessig had a team-high 70 yards rushing, as Greenwood finished with 201 total yards of offense — 160 rushing and 41 passing.
The host Cougars accumulated 415 yards of total offense — 268 passing and 147 rushing.