GREENLAND — Greenland Class of 2022 defensive end JJ Hollingsworth is a future Razorback, but right now he’s busy trying to help the Pirates to the best season possible.
Hollingsworth, 6-4, 250, and his teammates defeated Cedarville 28-26 Friday night to move to 6-2 on the season. Cedarville spent the majority of the game running to the opposite side of Hollingsworth, who doubles at left guard on offense. Unofficially, Hollingsworth finished with three tackles, one for loss and a pancake on offense.
“We played a pretty good ballgame,” Hollingsworth said. “We had a couple of mistakes, but we overcame them and came back from that in the long run.”
The Pirates have only lost to Elkins in the season opener and then to Charleston. They have only the one conference loss to Charleston and now own a four-game winning streak. They will be at Hackett on Friday and then close out the regular season at home against West Fork on Nov. 6.
“I mean we’re 6-2 now so I think it’s a pretty promising season,” Hollingsworth said. “I think we can win out and have a pretty good seeding in the playoffs. I think it’ll look pretty good for us from there.”
Greenland was 7-5 in 2019 and it appears they could top that record this season. Coming into the Cedarville game, Hollingsworth had 43 tackles, including 29 solo, 9.5 for loss and 5.5 sacks.
“Individually, I feel like I’m doing my job,” Hollingsworth said. “My biggest thing this year I just wanted to stick to my job and really, I made a couple of big plays, just trying to stick to whatever my coaches tell me to do. Execute and just make things work out.”
Cedarville ran most of its plays away from Hollingsworth. Has that been happening a lot this season?
“It’s kind of the thing I’ve expected all year,” Hollingsworth said. “That’s why I’ve kinda just stuck to my job. At the end of the day our team won.”
While Hollingsworth’s current team is obviously doing well, his future team at the University of Arkansas has taken the nation by storm this season. They are 2-2 and only a blown call at Auburn away from being 3-1. Hollingsworth has taken notice.
“The Hogs are looking good,” Hollingsworth said. “Offense is getting there too. Defense started out the season strong. There’s no doubting that. Defense everybody knows that I don’t have to say it. The offense is getting there too and they are looking really good.”
Like everyone else Hollingsworth is very impressed with Barry Odom, Arkansas’ defensive coordinator.
“He’s a really good football coach and we are blessed to have him,” Hollingsworth said.
For Hollingsworth it’s an exciting time since when he was offered by Arkansas and then later committed no one was sure if there would even be a football season at any level this fall due to COVID.
“We’re just blessed to be able to play,” Hollingsworth said. “We’ve been lucky enough to stay healthy and stay clean. We’ve played every game so we’re kinda lucky on that side. So is Arkansas they haven’t had too much trouble from COVID from what I’ve heard.”
Hollingsworth has some talented teammates as well. Quarterback Gabe Wilson has put up some big numbers and owns an offer from Hendrix. He entered last night’s game having passed for 902 yards and eight touchdowns while also rushing for 275 and seven more scores. Running back Jett Dennis entered last night’s game with 1,322 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns. Both Wilson and Dennis had big games last night as well and they too play both ways. Several wide receivers are making plays for the Pirates as well.
“Gabe is a big dude,” Hollingsworth said. “You can’t stop him running. When he runs the ball he runs it. When he throws we’ve got some pretty good receivers too. We’re getting passing game right and our offensive line is starting to look a little better as the season has gone on. We’re making plays.”
Since Hollingsworth stays on the field for both offense and defense and some special teams he welcomed the cold night on Friday as opposed to some of the hotter games previously.
“The cooler weather, being a big boy myself, the cooler weather has helped,” Hollingsworth said. “It’s hard, but at the end of the day you just go out there and play football. Just kinda make things happen. I’m giving it all for my team.”
Lee Larkan is Greenland’s head coach. He has a record of 116-63-1 at the school. Former Razorback great Jermaine Petty coaches the defensive line for the Pirates.