GREENVILLE – Dating back to 2010 when Greenville rejoined the Greater Western Ohio Conference, the Green Wave has not started a single season 2-0.
Harmon Field was rocking as Greenville held its home opener against Stebbins Friday night and the Wave wasted no time whatsoever in showing the Indians just how this game was going to go. GHS piled up 21 points in the first quarter alone en route to a 49-19 victory.
Landon Eldridge, last week’s workhorse in a 40-7 win at Eaton, handled the bulk of the workload again. He ran for 181 yards and four touchdowns including his first one on Greenville’s first offensive play of the game. It was a 51-yard scoring jaunt with 9:50 left to play in the opening frame.
On Greenville’s next possession, which came following a punt block by Nathan Fry giving GHS the ball on the Stebbins 30-yard line, Eldridge capped the short drive with a 2-yard plunge and a 14-0 lead.
But Eldridge wasn’t the only one making plays out of the backfield. Junior quarterback Tyler Beyke used his arm and his legs to the tune of three touchdowns on the night. He connected with Marcus Wood twice on touchdowns while throwing for 102 yards total and he also ran the ball well when he needed to for 38 yards and a rushing touchdown.
“I thought Tyler did a nice job tonight,” Greenville coach Aaron Shaffer said. “We put a lot on him with the things that we do on offense and he managed the run game and pass game well tonight. He made a couple of plays with his legs in the pass game to take some pressure of guys and he was able to get some good throws off too, so I was happy with the way he did that. I thought he read the defense well and when he decided it was time to go he ran well with the ball so I’m pretty pleased with the way Tyler played tonight.”
Beyke was happy with his effort too, but heaped plenty of praise on his teammates for their contributions.
“It feels great as a player running for a touchdown and throwing for two more, but it’s not about individual players,” Beyke said. “We play as a team and I couldn’t have made any of those long runs or passes without the line and the receivers doing a great job. We did a great job as a team.
“It’s been a while since we got a big win here in front of our home crowd,” he continued. “This feels really great to hear them cheering in the stands and have the band playing loud and the cannon going off. We really came out fast and physical to start the game and then we came out in second half and didn’t make any mistakes and had zero turnovers. Our defense played awesome and held them to 19 points which is great. It was just a great team win all together.”
Speaking of the defense, the Green Wave forced five Stebbins turnovers in the game, four of them on interceptions one each by Wood, Eldridge, John Butsch and Colton Zumbrun. The other turnover was a fumble recovered by Dru Quinn.
“That’s huge for the defense,” Shaffer said. “If you can shorten their drives and put yourself in good field position with a turnover or two that’s always good. I thought we played hard and tackled well. We knew Stebbins had some skill kids out on the edge and a quarterback who could sling it, but he never really got off on us the way he potentially could have so all in all I’m pretty pleased with the way the defense played tonight.
“Being 2-0 feels pretty good,” he continued. “We’ve come out two weeks in a row and played good, solid, fundamental football. To play good football you have to have 11 guys all on the same page doing it selflessly and doing it for the name on the front of the jersey and not on the back so to speak. Our kids do that. This is a pretty tight group of kids that want to do well for one another and for their school, community and families. They want to do it the right way so we are happy with the way they are playing right now. Our challenge going forward is continuing to bring that kind of energy and effort. This group of guys is pretty easy to motivate so we’re pretty satisfied with the way tonight went.”
In the second quarter, Greenville continued its offensive explosiveness with first of two Beyke-to-Wood touchdown connections. The first one went for 14 yards to give GHS a 28-7 lead. Eldridge scored the next two Greenville touchdowns on runs of 1 and 5 yards respectively which built a 42-7 lead. The final Greenville points came on the second Beyke-to-Wood touchdown pass that went for 5 yards.
Wood and Butsch each caught three passes from Beyke. Wood covered 37 yards total with a pair of touchdowns and Butsch was the top pass catcher with 52 yards receiving. Evan Saylor also had a sack for the Green Wave defense and Tony Sells was the leading tackler with six tackles. Butsch and Hayden Sharp had five tackles each.
This week will be a short week for Greenville as they prepare to play under the lights at Chaminade Julienne on Thursday night. It is part of the Fox 45 and ABC 22 Thursday Night Lights event, which is in its third year.
“We’re going to enjoy this win right now,” Shaffer said. “Our kids deserve some time to enjoy the spoils of victory I guess you could say, but they basically don’t get a day off this week. Normally our off day falls on Sunday, but we’ll be doing some film review and some scout work and things like that with playing on Thursday night.
“It will be a change for our kids, but they have responded well to different schedules and things throughout camp and the early part of the season,” he continued. “Playing on a Thursday night will be a little different. They’ll walk in and see the cameras around, and obviously CJ is going to be a tough opponent, so there are some challenges that we have to step up to this week.”
The Greenville-Chaminade Julienne game will kick off at 7 p.m. Thursday and can be seen on channel 45.2, channel 995 on Spectrum, channel 44 on DISH and streamed live online at mytvdayton.com as well as on Facebook.
The Daily Advocate sports editor Skip Weaver can be reached at (937) 569-4316 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Twitter at @skipweaver65.