With less than two minutes remaining on the scoreboard at All-Care Field, Darmon Hubbard of the Sylvan Hills Bears blocked Gabe Goodman's punt and sent it into the back of the end zone, causing a safety and giving the Bears a decisive 16-14 victory over the Arkadelphia Badgers in the opening week of the season Friday night.
With less than two minutes remaining on the scoreboard at All-Care Field, Darmon Hubbard of the Sylvan Hills Bears blocked Gabe Goodman’s punt and sent it into the back of the end zone, causing a safety and giving the Bears a decisive 16-14 victory over the Arkadelphia Badgers in the opening week of the season Friday night.
The game started well for the Badgers, with solid play on both the offensive and defensive sides of the football to give the team a 14-0 lead heading into halftime.
The second half was a different story, however as the Badger offense stalled after the halftime break and the Badger defense was unable to stop the power run game of quarterback Nate Floyd as the senior lead the Bears to two long, clock-eating touchdown drives.
The game opened optimistically for the Badgers. Despite starting the opening drive at its own seven-yard line, Arkadelphia was able to drive deep into Sylvan Hills territory, where the offense stalled and senior kicker Gabe Goodman pushed a 42-yard field goal wide right.
The Badgers defense covered for the offensive mistake, however, as junior linebacker Cole Turner stripped the ball from Floyd on a long run, giving the Badgers possession. Just four offensive plays later, Zion Hatley bounced a power run outside of the tackles and outpaced an athletic Sylvan Hills defense en route to a 51-yard opening touchdown.
Arkadelphia’s defense continued its dominance on the next possession, as junior linebacker Kyron Harrison intercepted a hurried pass, giving the ball back to a Badger offense which was unable to get anything going.
On Sylvan Hills next offensive drive, they were forced to punt out of the back of their end zone. A high punt was caught by senior defensive back and recent Harvard commit Victor Tademy in full stride and Tademy blew past the Sylvan Hills coverage team and into the end zone, giving the Badgers a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.
The remainder of the first half was a defensive battle as neither team could produce enough yards on offensive to put together a substantial drive.
The second half began optimistically for the Badgers, but quickly went downhill as uncharacteristic mistakes plagued the Badgers late in the game.
After stalling the Sylvan Hills offense despite a few big plays, the Badger offense found itself deep in Sylvan Hills territory and gunning for the end zone.
After one long pass attempt fell incomplete, junior quarterback Cannon Turner forced a pass into coverage and saw his pass fall into the hands of Sylvan Hills defensive back Khalil Muhammad.
From that point on, Sylvan Hills dominated the game. A 14-play, 82-yard effort on the ensuing drive saw the clock run into the early moments of the fourth quarter as wildcat runner Dionte Hutchinson ran the ball eight yards into the end zone.
Following a Badger three-and-out on offense, the Bears struck again with a 16-play, 57-yard touchdown drive which took the game clock down within two minutes.
After being stopped offensively, Goodman fielded a long snap off the ground and saw his punt blocked into the back of the end zone by the Sylvan Hills defense, giving the Bears a two-point lead and possession of the football, effectively ending the game for the Badgers.
Arkadelphia will look to recover this Friday, but will face a tough challenge in that recovery as the Class-6A Benton Panthers come to town. Kick-off for the contest is slated for 7 p.m.