By Bill Cross
For The Herald Bulletin
PENDLETON, Ind. — With the full moon shining brightly over the football field Friday night, the Pendleton Heights Arabians hosted the Greenfield-Central Cougars in a Hoosier Heritage Conference battle on Senior Night.
Pendleton Heights has dominated the series against Greenfield of late, winning the last six meetings by a combined score of 197-31. After a close first half, the Arabians were able to pull away to win 48-28 and run the streak to seven straight.
Greenfield has struggled this season, winning its opener over New Castle for the only victory of the year. But the Cougars struck early as a 12-play, 63-yard drive culminated in a 1-yard plunge into the end zone by tailback Cameron Nuckols.
The extra point was no good, giving Greenfield a 6-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
Pendleton Heights matched Greenfield with a 10-play, 63-yard drive to take a 7-6 lead after a quarterback sneak by Jesse Furrow with 2:32 left in the first quarter.
After the teams traded punts, Pendleton Heights was able to gain an advantage in field position, taking over at the Cougars' 38-yard line after stopping Greenfield inside the 20.
Chris Clemmons broke free on a toss sweep to the left side and ran for a touchdown on the first play of the possession. Payton Huth’s extra point gave the Arabians a 14-6 lead with 9:53 left in the half.
Greenfield went on another long drive, this time going 71 yards in 8 plays with a 35-yard Nuckols run being a back breaker for Pendleton Heights. Quarterback Jeremiah Fields snuck in from the 1, and Nuckols ran in for 2 points to tie the game at 14.
Right before the half, several seniors combined to give the Arabians the lead again. Chandler Wilson and Eren Davis caught passes on the drive, Wilson’s catch was a 22-yard gain to convert on third-and-17. Jim Arney got into the end zone after refusing to be stopped short at the 1. Huth added the extra point, and Pendleton Heights led 21-14 going into the half.
“I moved him (Arney) to fullback on the play because I thought he had a little bit of thunder, and he wasn’t going to come up short,” Pendleton Heights coach John Broughton said.
Pendleton Heights received the second-half kickoff and went 65 yards to take a 28-14 lead after Furrow snuck in from the 1-yard line. It gave the Arabians a little bit of a cushion and momentum.
“The difference in the ballgame was the scores right at halftime and early in the third,” Broughton said.
Greenfield cut the lead back to seven points when Fields ran in from inside the 5 late in the third quarter, but Pendleton Heights scored the next 20 points to salt the game away.
Furrow hit Wilson on a 34-yard touchdown pass and followed it up with a 21-yard strike to Davis. Davis caught the short pass, slipped through two tackles and went into the end zone with 9:05 to go for a 42-21 Pendleton Heights lead. Noah Etchison scored with 4:37 to go in the game for the final Pendleton Heights tally.
Greenfield running back Andy Kim scored late, but Pendleton Heights was able to kill the clock after the onside kick failed.
The Arabians finished the regular season 4-5 (1-5 HHC) while Greenfield finished 1-8 (0-6).
Pendleton will host the second-ranked New Palestine Dragons in the first round of sectional play next week.
“They have to believe they can win,” Broughton said of the task of preparing for the Dragons. “They (New Pal) are a very good football team, we have to prepare as hard as we can.”
The Dragons defeated Pendleton Heights 46-7 earlier in the season. Pendleton Heights has several players that were injured earlier in the year back, and Broughton feels the experience that it gave the freshmen filling in for them will help.
Unfortunately for Pendleton Heights, it appears Clemmons may miss the game due to a recurrence of concussion symptoms. Clemmons came out of the game not long after scoring in the second quarter. He was hit hard on a fourth-down rushing attempt and spent the second half on the sidelines in street clothes.
The Arabian seniors that played their final regular season home game were: Matt Goff, Cody Cochran, Chandler Wilson, Brady Huber, Jim Arney, Austin Boulware, Ronnie Trout, Dallas Walker, Hunter Cook, Brandon Riggs, Jonah Gray, Eren Davis and Casper Guldager.