"It's a big win for us," GHS head coach Eric Davis said. "Our kids worked really hard -- they played hard. Their kids deserved to win, our kids deserved to win; unfortunately somebody's got to lose. Our kids made plays and we made just enough of them tonight."
On the other side of the field, South Putnam head coach Troy Burgess was less than pleased with what he saw from his team.
Greencastle found itself down 20-0 with 6:19 remaining in the third quarter, and that's when Davis dipped into his bag of trickery to get GHS on the board.
Starting quarterback Tanner Parker pitched the ball to Michael Muncie, who set himself and fired a long bomb to Keegan Remsburg, who caught the ball in stride and cruised to the endzone to make the score 20-7 with 5:57 left in the third.
Burgess said he told his players that Greencastle has been a big play team all season and was disappointed with the way his team responded on the night.
"Big play, big play -- that's what they've done all year long. And what do we do? We give them a halfback pass, we don't do our assignments on the option, two big plays and then we put the ball on the ground six or seven times," Burgess said.
It was Parker once again who sparked the GHS offense to its second touchdown.
After a South Putnam three-and-out, Parker took the snap and raced down the field for a 56-yard pickup. He then hit Michael Lawson for a seven-yard strike. Three plays later, Mac Shuee rushed in from five yards out to pull the Tiger Cubs within six at 20-14.
South Putnam had five fumbles on the night and one of those would essentially cost them the contest.
A bad pitch from Zimmerman to Gibson found the turf and Greencastle linebacker Jesse Vermillion jumped on it to give the Tiger Cubs some prime real estate at the South Putnam 14-yard line.
On the next play, Parker took the ball and covered the distance, zigzagging through the Eagle defense to score with 7:20 remaining in the fourth quarter.
With the score tied 20-all, it came down to another player with the last name of Parker to put the Tiger Cubs ahead from good. Senior kicker Kyle Parker strode onto the field and connected on a strong extra point to give GHS the lead.
When asked about his team's trouble holding onto the ball Friday, Burgess said that too came down to disciplined.
"It was ridiculous," Burgess commented. "Again, it's just being undisciplined. It's not holding onto the ball, we're five weeks into this thing and we -- just go to hold onto the ball. We have to know what snap count to go on. We have to know when to snap the ball. If we go on one, we have to snap the ball on one, not before that. It's just little things like that. The little things are what are frustrating right now.
"Last week, we just got our tails kicked in the second half by a better team and tonight we just gave it away. And I'm not taking anything away from Greencastle. They deserved the game. They didn't make the mistakes down the end, they made the plays and they deserved the game," he added.
On the Eagles next drive, they looked destined for pay dirt and had an opportunity to take the game, but a dropped pass in the endzone, stiff defense and multiple penalties pushed the Eagles beyond striking distance and they turned the ball over on downs.
"It was a nice job of our defense stepping up in that position. They'd been getting the ball driven down, driven down and to make that stand is a testament to our kids," Davis said.
On their final drive, the Tiger Cubs brought in power rusher Vermillion, who rushed six times for 35 yards and converted a fourth-and-one to keep the ball in the Tiger Cubs hands as the clock went to all zeros.
Looking forward to next week, Davis hopes his team can continue to improve and rise to the challenge of their county rivals to the north.
"Hopefully another solid effort, that's what we're looking at right now, is getting better and better each week," Davis said. "We're in a position I think next week we're going to get a stiff challenge from North Putnam and we'll try to do the best we can and get our kids better and see where we stand. I think that's why you play the game."
South Putnam entered the game with a new look. Receiver Rob Gibson assumed the duties of lead rusher, with Brayden Freeman moving to fullback. The moved looked like a stroke of genius as Gibson scored the Eagles first touchdown in the second quarter and another midway through the third.
Starting quarterback Grant Zimmerman scored the third Eagle touchdown at the 8:23 mark in the second quarter.
Following the game, an emotional Freeman briefly addressed his teammates before they dispersed and Burgess loved the passion his senior showed on the night.
"Brayden played his heart out," Burgess said. "He sacrificed, here's our starting tailback, he sacrificed to move to full back so we could run that wishbone look. He didn't care if he carried the ball, just give it to them and I'll block for them. What it's going to take is 11 guys on the field playing with that kind of heart and with that kind of passion.
"Brayden Freeman cares about South Putnam football, Brayden Freeman doesn't care about Brayden Freeman," he said. "And until we can get 11 guys out there that do that and want to do things the way we want them to do it, this is what's going to happen It's part of that disciplined thing. Football's a team sport and we've got to do things the way we've designed to do things, we can't just do things the way we want to do it."
South Putnam will travel to Cloverdale Friday at 7 p.m., while Greencastle travels to North Putnam for a 7 p.m. start.
South Putnam 0 14 6 0 -- 20
Greencastle 0 0 7 14 -- 21
Score by Quarters
SP -- Gibson 3yd. run, Gould kick 9:21
SP -- Zimmerman 23yd. run, Gould kick 8:23
SP -- Gibson 7yrd. run, kick blocked 6:19
GHS -- Muncie 53yd. pass to Remsburg, Parker kick 5:57
GHS -- Shuee 5yd. run, Parker kick 11:21
GHS -- Parker 14yd. run, Parker kick 7:20
Rushing -- Gibson 15-72 2TD, Smith 13-76, Freeman 4-12, Zimmerman 12-43
Passing -- Zimmerman 3-8 35 yards
Receiving -- Freeman 2-27, Varvel 1-8
Rushing -- Parker 6-76 TD, Shuee 8-21 TD, Hesler 15-39, Vermillion 6-35, Teal 3-11
Passing -- Parker 2-12 16 yards; Muncie 1-1 53 yards TD
Receiving -- Remsburg 2-62 TD, Lawson 1-7
Next game -- South Putnam will travel to Cloverdale Friday at 7 p.m., while Greencastle travels to North Putnam for a 7 p.m. start.