Zion Hatley rushed 29 times for 176 yards and four touchdowns as the Arkadelphia Badgers defeated the Batesville Southside Southerners in the second round of the 4A state playoffs by a final score of 42-8 Friday evening.
BATESVILLE, Ark. – Zion Hatley rushed 29 times for 176 yards and four touchdowns as the Arkadelphia Badgers defeated the Batesville Southside Southerners in the second round of the 4A state playoffs by a final score of 42-8 Friday evening.
Arkadelphia was in control of the game throughout, holding a 16-point lead at halftime. Southside cut the Badger lead to eight midway through the third quarter, but the Badgers wore out the Southerners in the fourth quarter, outscoring them 26-0.
Arkadelphia’s defense dominated the game. The Badgers only allowed 162 total yards and forced two turnovers, both of which were in the fourth quarter. Junior linebacker Josh Wallace had multiple sacks, and senior lineman Demarco Britton had multiple tackles for loss and a forced fumble. Sophomore linebacker Kyron Harrison made multiple sure tackles including a big hit on the Southerners’ quarterback, while Ricky Rogers sacked the quarterback in the end zone and forced a safety.
Arkadelphia’s offense was effective as well, gaining 335 total yards in the game. The Badgers leaned on the run game, rushing for 264 yards and five touchdowns. In addition to Hatley’s performance, sophomore quarterback Cannon Turner rushed 12 times for 52 yards. Senior wide receiver Logan Lucas rushed twice for 36 yards and a touchdown. Turner led the Badgers’ passing attack by completing four of six passes for 71 yards.
Batesville Southside only gained 162 yards in the game and were reliant on their running game, which gained 116 of those yards. Caden Huskey ran 12 times for 64 yards, and Brayden Duncan ran 19 times for 46 yards and a touchdown. The Southerners’ junior quarterback, Koby Rich, completed 6 of 18 passes for 46 yards.
After a helicopter flew into the stadium to deliver the game ball, Arkadelphia opened the game with possession and took almost six minutes off the clock as the team drove into the red zone where Gabe Goodman converted on a 24-yard field goal attempt to give the Badgers an early 3-0 lead.
After forcing the Southerners to punt, the Badgers scored once again. Zion Hatley capped off the Arkadelphia drive with an eight-yard touchdown rush to give Arkadelphia a 10-0 lead heading into the second quarter.
The two defenses battled it out to start the second quarter. Arkadelphia stopped Southside on fourth down to gain possession of the ball, but Cannon Turner then threw an interception to give the ball back to Southside. Luckily for Turner, however, his defense bailed him out with two big sacks to keep the Southerners off the scoreboard.
After the Southside turnover, Arkadelphia was finally able to put points on scoreboard. Zion Hatley rushed 52 yards over the left tackle on the first play of the drive to score his second touchdown of the game. A miscue on the extra point meant Arkadelphia led 16-0, a score which would last until halftime.
Early in the second half, defense prevailed and the two teams traded possessions, but Southside broke the scoring drought with a 37-yard rushing touchdown from Brayden Duncan. The Southerners converted their two-point conversion attempt to draw the Arkadelphia lead to eight.
The Badger lead would remain at eight until early in the fourth quarter. Cannon Turner threw a 24-yard pass to Alec Lewis on fourth-and-16 to put the Badgers at the five-yard line. It was there that Zion Hatley rushed into the end zone for his third score of the game.
On Southside’s ensuing possession, Britton stripped the ball from the Southerners’ quarterback and recovered the fumble at the 15-yard line to give the Badgers great field position for their next drive. The team took advantage with a 30-yard field goal from Gabe Goodman which gave it a 26-8 lead.
After forcing Southside to punt, Lucas slid from wide receiver to quarterback and rushed for a 34-yard touchdown across the right tackle.
On Southside’s next drive, Rogers sacked the Southside quarterback in the end zone to give Arkadelphia a 35-8 lead with just over three minutes remaining, and Hatley rushed for a 19-yard touchdown a few moments later to extend the Badger lead to 42-8 before the end of the game.
The win advances the Badgers to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs where they will host the Ashdown Panthers this Friday night. The Badgers defeated the Panthers 44-26 earlier this season at home. Kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.