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Football: Blackhawks will realize their success after tears dry

PEA RIDGE -- Pea Ridge senior Jackson Tillman spent the final minutes of Friday's semifinal game stretched out on a table with tears in his eyes after being helped off the field was an injury.

The ice pack on his left ankle explained some of the pain, but the tears also flowed with the realization Jackson had played his last game at Pea Ridge after Arkadelphia beat the Blackhawks 51-26.

"I wouldn't want to go out any other way," Tillman said after leaving the game prematurely because of his injury. "Playing at home, playing with my brothers, that's all I wanted. We just fell one short."

Pea Ridge was eliminated in the state semifinals by a 4A-7 Conference team for the second time in three years. But Tillman and his fellow seniors will be remembered for the 36 wins they compiled during a three-year period at Pea Ridge.

"These seniors have won more games than any other senior class that has come through here," Pea Ridge coach Stephen Neal said. "The leadership they've provided and what they've done for this community will be remembered. They've established a tradition and expectations here and, for that, we'll be forever grateful to them."

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Arkadelphia running back Zion Hatley scored four touchdowns, including a 66-yard run after Arkadelphia had fallen behind 10-0.

PLAY OF THE GAME

Dillion Scott returned a punt 50 yards in the second quarter to give the Badgers a 21-10 lead.

FOURTH-DOWN FAILURES

Arkadelphia failed on consecutive fourth-down gambles, which Pea Ridge turned into a 10-0 lead in the fourth quarter.

The Badgers tried a trick play on 4th-and-14 at their own 44, but Logan Lucas fumbled while attempting to pass and the Blackhawks recovered.

Drew Winn then scored on an 8-yard run for a 7-0 lead.

Quarterback Connor Turner stumbled while trying to hand off on 4th-and-3 and the Blackhawks recovered another loose ball in the backfield. Luis Reyes then added a 32-yard field goal to put Pea Ridge ahead 10-0 early in the second quarter.

Pea Ridge failed on two fourth-down plays in the second half, including one at the Blackhawks 33 that Arkadelphia used to increase its lead to 34-18.

DOUBLE DIGIT DEFICITS

Falling behind 28-10 wasn't the biggest first-half deficit Pea Ridge faced this season.

Pea Ridge trailed Booneville 19-0 but won the game 29-19 behind more than 200 yards rushing by Drew Winn. The victory came the same week Pea Ridge defeated Hamburg and the twin wins earned the Blackhawks the No. 1 ranking in Class 4A.

Pea Ridge cut its deficit to 28-18 at halftime Friday, but the Badgers had too much firepower for the Blackhawks to mount a comeback.

BAD NEWS BADGERS

Arkadelphia had its best season in 1987 when the Badgers went 14-0 and won the Class AAA state championship under coach John Outlaw.

Arkadelphia was ranked No. 1 in the final Associated Press poll in Arkansas over Fort Smith Northside, which finished 11-3 in Class AAAA. The Badgers were also ranked No. 22 nationally by USA Today.

Arkadelphia beat White Hall 21-6 in the championship game after eliminating Van Buren 28-0 in the semifinals.

ONSIDE KICKS

Injured defensive end Jordan Jarboe used a sledgehammer as a crutch while walking the sidelines in support of his Arkadelphia teammates. The senior's left leg was heavily wrapped after he suffered a serious knee injury in a game against Bauxite. ... Former Arkansas assistant football coach Fitz Hill was born in Arkadelphia and played wide receiver at Ouachita Baptist. ... Arkadelphia assistant coach Ben Chandler used a megaphone from the sideline to communicate with players on the field.

Sports on 12/02/2017

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