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In what many considered to be the 7A game of the week, it was the Bentonville Tigers who pulled away in the second half to defeat the Wampus Cats of Conway by a score of 47-21.


In an exciting first half that swung back and forth, Bentonville drove the length of the field on its first possession. Quarterback Andrew Edwards directed a series of option plays in which he kept the ball down to the Conway 43. Edwards then hit wide receiver Cooper Smith on three short passes down to the 30. On a big 3rd and 10 play, Edwards hit Sean Anderson on a screen pass, setting up first down on the 15. After two runs by Anderson, the Tigers had a first and goal from the 1-yard line. Conway’s defense stood strong, but couldn’t keep Edwards out of the endzone on a 3rd down QB sneak, giving the Tigers an early 7-0 lead.


Not to be outdone, the Wampus Cats returned the favor quickly on their first possession. After a nice return by Jamaal Bethune, Conway started on its 33. A couple of plays later, Bethune carried it for a 1st down to the 45. Quarterback Ben Weese then hit wide receiver Micah Mosely on a 10-yard pass to Bentonville’s 45. Just a few plays later, Conway capped off the drive with a 33-yard touchdown pass from Weese to wide receiver Jayden Williams to tie the game at 7-7 with 3:53 remaining in the first quarter.


Conway’s defense rose on Bentonville’s next possession, forcing a three and out. After a shanked punt by the Tigers,  the Wampus Cats were in business at the Bentonville 45. It didn’t take long for Conway to capitalize with Bethune taking it in on a 31-yard run, giving the Cats the lead 14-7 at the 1:59 mark.


The lead wouldn’t last for long. Bentonville started on its own 20 on the ensuing possession. A QB keeper good for 10 yards moved the ball to the 30. Two plays later, Edwards went over the top to a wide open Cooper Smith for a 70-yard touchdown reception, knotting the score 14-14 with :32 left in the quarter.


Both defenses settled down and took over in the 2nd quarter, with the teams mainly trading punts. It was Bentonville that put up the only points of the period. A 37-yard run by Sean Anderson down to Conway’s 18 got things started. A couple of runs later, the Tigers were on the 3-yard line. The Wampus Cat defense rose to the occasion however, keeping its foe out of the endzone and forcing a field goal by kicker Loaan Turner to make the score 17-14 at the half.


After a hard-fought first half, the second stanza would eventually belong to Bentonville. After the Tiger defense forced a punt, the offense scored on its first play of the half with a 46-yard touchdown strike to receiver Chas Nimrod, padding the lead to 24-14 with 9:56 left in the third.


Conway’s next possession ended with an interception by Tiger linebacker Zane Ochoa, who returned the ball 30 yards to the Conway 36. On its very next play, running back Josh Ficklin took it to the house. After a missed conversion, it brought the score to 30-14 with 6:52 left in the 3rd quarter.


Bentonville then added a field goal after Conway fumbled on its next possession making the score 33-14 at end of the third.


The Tigers then added a touchdown on their first possession of the 4th quarter when Anderson scored from one yard out, making it 40-14.


The Wampus Cats showed no quit however, marching down the field on a 74-yard scoring drive, capped off with a 3-yard touchdown run by Boogie Carr, to make the score 40-21 after the kick.


The Tigers weren’t quite done, completing the game with an 80-yard drive of their own. Highlighted by three consecutive carries from the Conway 45 by Johny Pike, who put it in the endzone to make the final score 47-21.


Article filed by Mark Jenkins

09/04/20, 11:50 p.m.


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Bentonville too much to handle for Conway Wampus Cats