The Arkadelphia Badgers playoff hopes for this year relies on winning out the remainder of their three games and they have to get some help from other teams ahead of them after Friday’s 23-21 loss to the Mena Bearcats at Badger Stadium.
With only eight seconds showing on the clock, Nathan Warner’s 42-yard field goal attempt fell inches short as the buzzer sounded. The kick was the last possession for the Badgers after Mena scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 70-yard pass with 2:25 left in the game.
Arkadelphia started off the game with a promising drive when Zion Hatley ran for 19 yards and Shemar Dickens carried for six yards. After a loss of two yards, quarterback Cannon Turner passed to Dickens for a 16-yard gain. Hatley ran for a 9-yard gain on first down to set up a 32-yard touchdown run with 10:06 left in the first quarter. Warner added the extra point for a 7-0 lead.
The Bearcats turned the ball over on downs at the Arkadelphia 31 on their first drive of the game. When the Badgers got the ball back, Turner ran for 8 yards, Hatley had a 1 yard run and an 8-yard run, then had a six yard run and Turner ran for 8 yards. A holding penalty set the ball back to the Mena 43, but Turner ran for 9 yards on third-and-12. On fourth down, Turner passed to Alec Ruble for 23 yards and a first down at the Mena 11. Two plays later, Turner passed to Dickens for an 8-yard touchdown. Warner added the extra point for a 14-0 Arkadelphia lead with 1:59 to play in the first quarter.
Mena came back quickly with a 50-yard touchdown run with 21 seconds left in the first quarter to make it 14-7. For the entire second quarter, both team punted to end their respective possessions to leave the score 14-7 at halftime.
Mena opened the second half with a punt from the Arkadelphia 43. Two plays later, the Badgers fumbled at their own four yardline and the ball bounced into the end zone where it was recovered by a Bearcat for a touchdown. The score tied the game 14-14 with 8:23 left in the third quarter.
The Badgers fumbled the ball on first down after receiving and returning the ensuing kickoff to their own 37. Mena, though, turned the ball over on downs at the Arkadelphia 21.
After the Badgers had to punt, Demarco Britton recovered a Mena fumble at the Bearcats 26. Arkadelphia moved the ball to the Mena 13, but threw an interception that was returned to the 46.
A double fumble play gained the Bearcats 27 yards on the last play of the third quarter and set up a 19-yard field goal three plays later to take a 17-14 lead with 10:08 left in the game.
Arkadelphia got the ball back and Hatley ran the ball four straight times for gains of 7, 6, 4 and 23 to set up the offense at the Mena 23. Turner ran for a 5-yard gain and added four more yards on another carry. Hatley ran for a 5-yard gain for a first and goal at the Bearcat 10. Two plays later, Turner threw to Dickens for an 11-yard touchdown. Warner added the extra point for a 21-17 lead with 6:40 left in the game.
Mena was forced to punt and Hatley returned the ball to the Mena 35. Four plays later, Hatley was stopped for a 3-yard loss on fourth down at the Mena 27. On the next play, the Bearcats broke free for a 70-yard score.
The Badgers got the ball back with 2:45 left in the game and Hatley had a 27-yard run. A Mena pass interference penalty moved the ball to the Bearcat 34. Turner was sacked for a 10-yard loss and passed to Ruble for a 9 yard gain on third and 20. Warner’s attempt was on line, but fell a few inches short of the goal as time expired.
Arkadelphia travels to Ashdown next week.