One by air and one by ground, that has been the offensive production of dynamic senior duo of Connor Noland and Kenny Wood for Greenwood High School throughout the 2017 season.
The Bulldogs offensive line hustled across the board allowing 44 points per game to be posted on the opposition with Noland picking apart defenses and Wood running over and past defenders aiding in a championship season.
The culmination of years of hard work came to fruition on Friday, Dec. 1, when Greenwood trounced Pine Bluff 52-14 for the Arkansas 6A state title. The 13-0 season has landed the Bulldogs as MaxPreps’ No. 12 ranked team in the nation, No. 2 in Arkansas. The euphoria experienced by the team is well-deserved after back-to-back 12-1 finishes ending on sour notes in the state title game.
Wood started his ascension towards Arkansas fandom during his sophomore year as a backup running back rushing 39 times for 228 yards with five scores and four passes caught for 39 yards. The early beginnings shed little light on what was to come. In 2016, Wood had a breakout season earning All-State honors after carrying to rock 1,164 times for 18 touchdowns with 34 passes hauled in covering 461 additional yards with five more trips into the end zone.
With Wood and Noland lacing up the cleats for their final high school season, the time was now for head coach Rick Jones to capitalize on his athletic playmakers. Noland completed 70 percent of his passes covering 2,801 yards with 34 touchdowns while Wood raced to 1,721 yards on the ground off 245 totes with 29 rushing scores. Keeping the all-purpose back theme in play, the 5-11, 192 pound, talent secured 34 passes for 508 yards with seven more scores posted on the board.
In a Recruiting News Guru exclusive interview, I caught up with Wood after the Bulldogs hoisted up the Arkansas 6A trophy getting a recap on the perfect season.
Kenny, congratulations on the 6A championship win. With a little time behind you, how does it feel to be the best 6A team in Arkansas?
“It feels really good. It feels good knowing that we accomplish our goal. It feels good knowing our senior class had that in us. We had 16 senior starters. We grew up playing together from the third grade. It feels good knowing we can accomplish that.”
What did you do to celebrate your championship?
“After the game, I went and hugged everyone I saw – my coaches, teammates, parents, everybody. It was a touching moment winning the state championship.”
How did the championship game play out for you on the field?
“I feel like it played out really well. Our offense, defense, and special teams all clicked well. Offensively, I feel like everything worked as planned. Our offense had one of our best games this year against Pine Bluff. Everyone executed and got the job done. It felt easy almost.”
What was working for you in the playoff wins against Arkansas and West Memphis?
“Our run game clicked really well in both those games. Our offensive line was amazing. They made my job easy. Our outside run zones worked really well in the playoffs.”
Your workload increased this year, especially carrying the rock. Did you know more would be expected of you before the season kicked off?
“I figured it would. I figured I would have to step up this year. Being my senior year and with the experience I had under my belt, I figured they would have higher expectations of me this year.”
How did your game improve throughout your senior year?
“I feel like it improved greatly. From Game 1 to the championship game, I feel like I have gotten a lot better and more mature. Experience makes a big difference. I felt stronger and faster. I felt on top of my game this year.”
What are the strengths of your game?
“I feel like I am good at reading the holes and establishing where I need to hit the hole. My explosiveness got better throughout the year. On outside runs and zone plays, usually when I get the edge I am gone. Catching the ball, I am confident doing that. My hands have gotten better this season. Strength wise, I was power housing through on goal line or short-yardage runs. I am good at that.”
Is there an area of your game that often gets overlooked?
“I feel like my speed and explosiveness gets overlooked. I feel like I have what it takes to play at the next level with my speed.”
Your game speed on film looks great. What is the best 40-yard dash time you posted?
“A 4.56 at school.”
Which schools are showing recruiting interest in you?
Ryan Wrighta.k.a. the Recruiting Guru, has been working in mass media and news markets since the mid 1990’s. Ryan has worked as a sports writer and journalist with articles featured on Scout.com, The Bleacher Report, Sports-at-Work, LA Times online edition, and was the editor for Razorbackers.com in association with Sports Illustrated and FanSided Network. RecruitingNewsGuru.com for more interviews and in-depth analysis on college recruits from across the country.