GREENCASTLE – One possession is what the game between Crawfordsville and Greencastle came down to Friday night.

Unfortunately for the Athenians, it was the Tiger Cubs who made that one play to escape with a 27-20 season-opening win.

“I have to commend the kids on their effort and the way they fought tonight.” Athenian head coach Larry Getts said. “Trailing 21-7 at the half last year, they would’ve collapsed—tonight, they showed the heart of a competitive football team.”

Greencastle’s first two scores came off Athenian turnovers. Senior Devin Clar scored on runs of 2 yards and 16 yards to give the Tiger Cubs a 14-0 lead with 6:00 left before half.

That’s when Crawfordsville’s D’Yonta Bounds started his terrific night. He returned the next kickoff 46 yards to the 48-yard line. Caden Jones finished that 9-play drive with a 6-yard run to cut the lead to 14-7. The big play on the drive was a 22-yard completion from Trent Johnson to Daulton Bridgewater on third down.

Greencastle scored with 0:08 remaining in the half to take a 21-7 lead.

Crawfordsville hurt themselves in the first half with penalties. They were flagged four times for 60 yards which stalled some drives.

However, the third quarter was all Crawfordsville.

Greencastle kicked to Bounds again on the second half kickoff. This time he raced 85 yards untouched to give Crawfordsville momentum.

Greencastle, facing a third and one from the Athenian 1-yard line fumbled the snap and Crawfordsvile took over at their own 17. Three plays later, Johnson found Bridgewater for an 84-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 21-20.

“When you’re rebuilding, you have to show grit and toughness, and I thought our guys did that tonight.” Getts said. “We preach that adversity builds character, and we revealed a lot tonight.”

After Greencastle forced an Athenian 3-and-out, they went on a 14 play drive taking 5:30 off the clock to take a 27-20 lead.

Crawfordsvile had one last opportunity.

They took over at their own 25 yard line. Johnson had two big completions on the drive. The first a 14-yarder to Bridgewater, and the second a 38-yarder to Cameron Saunders. Roughing the passer was called and allowed Crawfordsville to set up shop at the Tiger Cub 13.

However, Greencastle came up with the biggest play of the game on fourth and goal from the two yard mark, stopping the Athenian offense for no gain to preserve the win.

It was a good night offensively for the Athenians. Johnson was 6-10 for 182 yards and a score. He also led the team in rushing with 64 yards on 10 carries. Bridgewater had 5 catches for 144 yards and Saunders the one grab.

Clor led the Tiger Cubs with 193 yards on 26 carries and 2 touchdowns. They outgained Crawfordsville 301-281.

“Our conditioning started coming out at the end.” Getts said. “We were wearing them down.”

The Athenians will play their home opener against Terre Haute West Vigo on Aug. 26.