GREENFIELD — For the majority of the first four seasons under head coach Travis Nolting, the Greenfield-Central Cougars had primarily used the Wishbone offense as a running attack.

It worked.

With back-to-back 7-4 seasons in 2021 and 2022, the Cougars had winning records in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2010-11.

On Friday, in a 49-0 win over Class 3A Madison, G-C threw for — in the first half alone — nearly as many yards as it had passed for the entire 2019 season and not too far off the total in 2020, Nolting’s first two campaigns with the Cougars.

Junior quarterback Dallas Freeman threw four first-quarter touchdown passes, and rushed for another in the second. In the first two quarters, he completed 9 of 11 attempts for 231 yards. Up 49-0 at halftime, Freeman and the rest of the starters sat out the second half.

The Cougars haven’t negated the run, they just have more weapons, and they’re using them.

“We are very multi-dimensional this year,” Nolting said. “We’ve got some playmakers out wide — with [tight end} Lane Wadle going to Georgia Tech, Kirk Knecht is a fantastic receiver, and we’ve got a great backfield of guys.

“The biggest question mark on us was, how are we going to be after we graduated all these great players — Andrew Zellers, Owen Anderson, Gael Bravo, Brayden Herrell — all those guys that were running the ball for us last year. I think we answered that (Friday). We’re not rebuilding, we’re trying to reload … with the ability to throw the ball as well as run, I think we’re pretty dangerous.”

The team threw for 246 yards in 2019 and 313 in 2020. The 2021 team threw four touchdown passes the entire season.

Greenfield-Central began showing a more diversified Wishbone last year when Freeman began the season as the starting quarterback. He threw for 219 yards in last year’s season opener at Plainfield and had three other games with 140 or more yards passing.

In Friday’s opener, the passing game went to another level.

Knecht had four catches for 139 yards. Jacob Hinton had two catches for 24 yards and a score and Boston Willard had three grabs for 68 yards and a touchdown. Wadle had a reception for a two-point conversions and had a pair of long receptions, including one for a touchdown, called back due to penalties.

After four running plays to start the game, Freeman hit Knecht for a 42-yard completion. Two plays later Hinton caught a 7-yarder for a touchdown.

The next series, Freeman hit on 2 of 3 tries, finishing another scoring drive with a 41-yard touchdown to Willard.

Knecht was the recipient of the next two TD strikes. The veteran returner/receiver caught a 53-yarder and a 22-yarder to put G-C up 29-0 with just 19 seconds left in the first quarter.

We came out and executed the game plan that we felt was best for us,” Nolting added. “We felt like we had mismatches with our outside guys on their corners, who were smaller. Overall, a great performance all around.”

The Cougar defense got on the scoreboard in the second quarter. Kody Smith had a 24-yard interception return and Payton Foley picked up a fumble and scored from 12 yards away. In between the two defensive scores, Freeman had a 10-yard touchdown run.

“I have to give a shout-out to coach (Josh) Holden, our defensive coordinator,” Nolting said. “He’s doing a fantastic job. We’ve had a defensive change this year. We’re running an odd front and bringing a lot of heat with Foley and Zach Blevens at ends and the Hinton brothers at outside backers. It’s a dangerous combo.”

Greenfield-Central didn’t negate its running attack. Sophomore fullback Braylen Benavente had, unofficially, 13 carries for 55 yards. Cooper Hinton had two carries for 30 yards.

“We’re still a run-dominated team,” Nolting said. “I know that maybe didn’t show (Friday) by the stats. Dallas had a great offseason developing as a player and I think he’s much more confident and calm in the pocket when he is throwing the ball. He’s worked on getting stronger. He missed some games with injury last year and I think the weightroom has paid off for him getting his body more physically ready to take the demands it’s going to have.”

Greenfield-Central travels to Greensburg Friday.

Greenfield-Central 49, Madison 0

Madison (0-1);0;0;0;0;-;0

Greenfield-Central (1-0);29;20;0;0;-;49

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter

GC – Jacob Hinton 7 pass from Dallas Freeman (Aaron Lee kick) 9:53

GC – Boston Willard 41 pass from Freeman (Lane Wadle pass from Bradley Malet) 6:04

GC – Kirk Knecht 53 pass from Freeman (Lee kick) 3:38

GC – Knecht 22 pass from Freeman (Lee kick) :19

2nd Quarter

GC – Kody Smith 24 interception return (Lee kick) 11:05

GC – Freeman 10 run (kick blocked) 5:00

GC – Payton Foley 12 fumble return (Lee kick) 4:45