Noland Blocks Outside Noise Heading Into Final Game

GREENWOOD (KFSM) - In today's world of up to the minute recruiting sites, there's no such thing as flying under the radar.

Even if that were possible, Greenwood's Connor Noland wouldn't have that luxury any way.

Noland has been in the spotlight of Arkansas fans for years and he's heard all the proclamations from nearly everyone but he's found a way to block out the noise and just focus on the task in front of him.

"I’m just really competitive, that’s my gig," Noland said. "I’m a competitive person. I’m going to come out here and compete not matter what’s going on or whatever is being said or anything like that. I’m just staying within myself and our team and we’re just coming out here and playing ball."

Noland has signed to play both football and baseball at Arkansas. That's something hasn't been done successfully since Barry Lunney Jr. in the early 1990s but Noland has the numbers to show that he might be able to do it.

During his time at Greenwood, the Bulldogs went 37-2 and it was capped with a 6A state championship in 2017. Noland was named the Gatorade player of the year in Arkansas as well. He threw for 5,768 yards and 61 touchdowns in his career while adding 1,223 yards rushing with 15 more scores.

On the diamond, Noland has been just as good. In the past two seasons, the Greenwood senior is 16-2 with a 0.48 ERA while striking out 195 batters compared to just 21 walks.

"The biggest thing is is he knows how to handle the pressure," Greenwood baseball coach Trey Holloway said. "He doesn’t let it bother him. Whether it be football. Whether it be baseball. Whether it be talking to the media. Whether it be talking to the president. It doesn’t matter. He’s going to have a good time and he’s going to be him and that’s what makes him great."

Noland has one final game as student at Greenwood, the 6A state championship against Benton on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. The Bulldogs will be the favorite with Noland getting the start on the mound but, like the past three years, he's not worried about what's going on outside his locker room.

"I don’t think there’s any pressure," Noland said. "We’ve played a great season. We’ve had fun. We’ve been competing the whole time and we’re just going to go out there and play ball and it will take care of itself."