Arkadelphia controls 2nd half

PEA RIDGE -- Arkadelphia's difference-making drive Friday was one on which it didn't score.

After receiving the kickoff to open the second half, the Badgers (13-1) milked six minutes off the clock and punted, pinning Pea Ridge at its own 12. Facing fourth down from its own 33, Pea Ridge's Jakota Sainsbury's fake-punt pass was deflected at the line of scrimmage, resulting in a turnover on downs.

Less than a minute later, Arkadelphia's Josh Burnham scored from a yard out, pushing a 28-18 Badgers lead to 34-18 and changing the trajectory of a 51-26 Class 4A semifinal victory at Blackhawk Stadium.

"We're down by two scores and we need to score, and my fear was that if we punt they're going to take another five or six minutes off the clock and we would just run out of time," Pea Ridge Coach Stephen Neal said. "We thought we had it, but their linebacker did a great job and made a heck of a play."

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Badgers running back Zion Hatley then tacked on a touchdown run -- his fourth of the night -- in the opening minute of the fourth quarter to seal the victory. The junior rushed for 169 yards and 5 touchdowns on 20 carries.

Pea Ridge was first on the board thanks to running back Drew Winn's 32nd rushing touchdown of the season, a 12-yarder. The Blackhawks extended their lead to 10-0 on Luis Reyes' 32-yard field goal early in the second.

Hatley finally got loose, leading the Badgers from a 10-point hole to a 28-18 halftime lead behind three second-quarter touchdown runs. His first was a 66-yarder to get Arkadelphia on the board, and he sandwiched the next two around Dillion Scott's 50-yard punt return touchdown.

"We're good with adversity," said Hatley, whose fifth touchdown set the final score.

Winn and receiver Hayden Holtgrewe were constants for Pea Ridge. Winn caught two passes and rushed for 114 yards and the Blackhawks' first score.

Holtgrewe was steady on the perimeter, hauling in a career-high 10 passes for 89 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Holtgrewe was the lone Blackhawk with a reception until Sainsbury hit Jordan Witcher for an 8-yard gain with five minutes to go in the third quarter.

Pea Ridge's 26 points tied for the most allowed by the Badgers in a game this season, but the Blackhawks defense had no answer for Hatley or quarterback Cannon Turner, who also rushed for more than 100 yards.

"The season only ends for one team the way you want it to end," Neal said. "Unfortunately we weren't that team this year."

Arkadelphia will face Warren next week in search of its first state championship since 1987.

"It's really exciting," Arkadelphia Coach J.R. Eldridge said. "Players, coaches, everybody just got after it, played as hard as they could and just executed well."

Sports on 12/02/2017

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