SEARCY -- Searcy got just what it needed out of quarterback Bryce Dixon on Friday night to take down the Class 6A kingpins.
The senior completed 29 of 38 passes for 456 yards and 5 touchdowns -- including a game-sealing 43-yarder to senior wide receiver Griffin Love with 2:42 left to play -- as Searcy took down two-time defending champion Greenwood 50-38 in the Class 6A state semifinals at Lion Stadium.
"He stepped up for us big time, especially when we absolutely needed him to," Searcy Coach Mark Kelley said. "He does a great job for us in a lot of different ways. His leaderships skills are big time. ... He does some things for us that are just amazing."
Dixon also added a 7-yard touchdown run in the second quarter for Searcy (11-1), which lost to Greenwood 35-0 in the quarterfinals last season but gained a measure of revenge by hurting the Bulldogs with big plays all game long. Five of Searcy's seven touchdowns covered 26 yards or more as the Lions piled up more than 700 yards of offense in a wire-to-wire victory.
Senior running back Johnson Guthrie carried 21 times for 181 yards and a game-opening 26-yard touchdown run for Searcy, which will play for a state title next week for the first time since 1984. Love finished with 7 catches for 159 yards and 2 scores, while junior wide receiver Marlon Crockett hauled in 9 passes for 152 yards and 3 touchdowns.
The Lions will take on Benton in the 6A championship game next Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. at War Memorial Stadium.
Senior running back Hunter Wilkinson ran 33 times for 219 yards and 4 touchdowns for Greenwood (10-2), which faced a 28-7 deficit in the first quarter.
"We knew they'd come back," Kelley said of his team's 21-point cushion. "You give them an inch and they're going to take everything."
Wilkinson's 5-yard touchdown run with 11:53 left in the second quarter and a 45-yard fumble return for a touchdown by senior linebacker Jayden Martin cut the Lions' advantage to 28-21. The Bulldogs got a defensive stand on the Lions' next possession and drove inside the 5 but came away empty.
Searcy, in turn, got the ball back and extended its lead to 35-21 on Dixon's 7-yard TD run.
"Those missed opportunities hurt us, they really did," Greenwood Coach Rick Jones said. "We've got to have points right there. We did that a couple of times.
"We'd have the momentum, then couldn't score when we needed to. But you've got to give credit to Searcy because they made plays down there on defense, too."
Dixon's Hail Mary 36-yard touchdown pass to Crockett on the final play of the second quarter pushed the Lions' lead to 41-21, but again, the Bulldogs rallied.
Back-to-back 1-yard touchdown runs from Wilkinson, the latter with 6:57 remaining in the third quarter, trimmed Searcy's lead to 41-35. The two teams traded field goals during the ensuing 10 minutes before Dixon hit Love over the middle for the clinching score late in the fourth quarter.
"It's always a big win when you can beat a team like Greenwood," Kelley said. "We're so excited right now, and we're going to celebrate this for about two or three hours. But we know we've got a tall task ahead of us."
Sports on 11/30/2019
Print Headline: Dixon throws for five TDs as Searcy tops Greenwood