story by Aric Mitchell
About 100 years ago, Greenwood football teams had a hard enough time keeping pace with Highway 10 little brother Booneville. The idea they would become one of the best teams in the state year-after-year was a bit of a pipe dream.
Then, the year 2000 came, and with the new millennium, something awakened in the growing community just southeast of Fort Smith. Soon, a school, which had rarely tasted postseason victory, racked up win-after-win, earning a total of five state championships in the 11-season period from 2000 to 2010.
The Varsity Wire expects 2011 could bring No. 6. But for now, we’re not looking ahead. We’re looking at the past with "Greenwood Bulldogs: A Decade of Dominance."
1. The 2000 Greenwood Bulldogs
Head Coach Ronnie Peacock’s pass-happy squad was the first to win a state football championship for the school, no matter what you may have heard from ESPN’s erroneous assumption the 1958 team was the first.
While the 1958 Bulldogs did go unbeaten, they were forced to later forfeit two of their wins because they’d allowed an ineligible player into their contests against Ozark and Booneville.
Greenwood 2000 redeemed school history by rolling off 12 straight wins. (Their only loss came in Week 1 of the regular season to Fort Smith Northside.) The Bulldogs met the underdog Hope Bobcats in Little Rock on Dec. 2, and proceeded to prove that sometimes the underdog is the underdog for a reason. Greenwood’s “first” didn’t come with even the slightest bit of drama as the squad decimated Hope 30-2 and finished with a program-best 13-1 record.
2. The 2005 Greenwood Bulldogs
Many believe the 2005 squad remains the best Greenwood football team to ever take the field. You can certainly make a case for it. They tied the all-time win-loss record with the only trip-up a Week 3 loss at Bentonville against a much larger school. Even that was a close one at just 28-27. Despite the heartbreaker, those hearts wouldn’t stay broken for long as the Bulldogs won their next 11, including a 35-32 thriller against Morrilton at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. The win would give the school its second “official” state championship, and the first in a trifecta.
3. The 2006 Greenwood Bulldogs
The 2006 team was not without its share of difficulties. In spite of a hopeful 25-21 win, besting Fort Smith Southside in the inaugural week of the season, this fully loaded bunch would lose a shootout against Shiloh Christian 49-48 in Week 3 and a 24-21 shocker to Vilonia in Week 6. Still, the ‘Dogs didn’t let it get them down, a pattern you’ll continue to see in the next two entries of this list. They tore through the next seven opponents, setting up a finale against the feared Pulaski Academy Bruins. Once again, Greenwood found itself in a shootout as both teams took turns scoring in a game that eerily resembled their Week 3 encounter against the Saints. This time, however, the gods must have been on the ‘Dogs’ side as they left Little Rock a 56-55 victor. The win would be their third state championship.
4. The 2007 Greenwood Bulldogs
The 2007 team began its season with a 35-25 loss to 7A Fort Smith Southside. They bounced back with seven straight wins, including two close ones against Shiloh Christian and Siloam Springs. However, the Bulldogs suffered a demoralizing 44-7 loss to Little Rock Christian in the penultimate week of the regular season, giving cause for concern as the squad headed into rivalry week against Alma and then onward into the 2007 State Playoffs. In the end, Head Coach Jones’ team wasn’t that worried. They worked over Alma 42-15, and then peeled off four straight wins in the playoffs, sealing their fourth title with a revenge win over Little Rock Christian 27-6.
5. The 2010 Greenwood Bulldogs
This squad started the year promisingly enough with a pair of wins against Sallisaw and Lift for Life Academy. However, Week 3 brought with it a nasty little surprise that would carry over into Week 4 as the Bulldogs fell to 4A Shiloh Christian and to conference rival Siloam Springs. The two consecutive losses served as a wake-up call to Head Coach Jones’ unit. He used it to motivate his players past the rest of their seasonal opponents including a 52-21 shellacking of rival Alma. In all, this squad would log a 10-game winning streak that culminated with a dramatic come-from-behind victory against Camden-Fairview in which Greenwood erased a 14-point deficit in the last quarter to claim their fifth championship.