GREENWOOD, Ark. — Greenwood wide receiver Grant Karnes lives for the big stage.
“I knew I could come up in the big moments because I’ve been doing that the past three years.”
So when the lights shined brightest Friday night against Northside, Karnes stepped-- more so jumped-- into the spotlight.
With Greenwood trailing 53-50 with 7 seconds left, quarterback Kane Archer launched a last gasp-attempt down the left sideline toward his sophomore wideout.
Karnes caught the ball a few yards shy of the end zone but managed to dive in for the game-winning score.
It secured a 56-53 win over Northside and sent the home team and crowd into a frenzy.
That touchdown catch was Karnes' third and most important one of the game.
It capped a furious Greenwood rally-- the Bulldogs trailed by 18 points two separate times in the fourth quarter, and by 11 points with 15 seconds left in the game.
“I wasn’t really nervous or anything,” Karnes said. “I told Kane to throw the ball to me. He said he would. Soon as the ball was snapped, I took off, and I figured it was going to be a jump ball in the endzone, but it was thrown short. So I was the first one to come forward, I caught it, Aiden Kennon shielded a guy, and we got in the end zone.”
“That was (the) craziest moment of football I’ve played,” Karnes said.
It was also, Karnes' best game of the season.
On varsity as just a sophomore, he already posted his 2nd 100-plus yard game, recording nine catches for 227 yards and three scores, including the game-winner.
“You know, he got a little advantage, we moved him up last year in the playoffs after his ninth-grade season,” Greenwood head coach Chris Young said. “So he’s had some experience. Got rid of those jitters last year, and he’s just making plays.”
“Not only when he has the ball, but also without the ball,” Young added. “He’s doing a great job blocking and getting other guys open, so I’ve been very happy with him.”
The night was made even more special by the fact Karnes had around 10 family members in attendance, coming from all over Arkansas and Oklahoma.
“That was the coolest thing because one, with all of them there, a lot of them had never watched me play,” Karnes said.
“A lot of them just came down just for this game, and I bet a lot of them come back now," Karnes said.
And they shouldn’t be the only ones keeping an eye on Grant Karnes, according to his head coach.
“I can promise you it won’t be the last time you hear his name,” said Taylor. “He’s a special athlete, not only in football, in basketball and baseball. He’s a really hard worker and he’s going to have a really good career at Greenwood.”
With Friday night, certain to be one of the highlights of that career.