Saturday, November 11, 2017
FAYETTEVILLE -- Those in and around Fayetteville hoping for a rematch with Bryant will now get their wish.
Fayetteville rolled to a 64-34 win against Fort Smith Southside to advance to next week's state quarterfinals. Bryant, which handed the Purple'Dogs a 38-37 overtime loss in Week 2, awaits coach Billy Dawson's club, which has now won six in a row.
Fayetteville 64, Fort Smith Southside 34
Fay — Jackson 26 pass from Bowers (Richardson kick), 4:28
Fay — Gray 30 pass from Bowers (Richardson kick), 1:52
South — Solomon 68 pass from Gatewood (Robles kick), 1:33
Fay — Gray 29 pass from Bowers (White run), :40
Fay — Nolen 54 run (Richardson kick), 9:39
Fay — White 14 run (Richardson kick), 9:21
Fay — Hinton 5 run (Richardson kick), 3:15
South — Jackson 4 pass from Gatewood (Robles kick), 7:37
South — Love 12 pass from Gatewood (Robles kick), 7:04
South — Jackson 44 pass from Gatewood (pass fails), 4:11
Fay — Gray 31 pass from Bowers (Richardson kick), 1:58
Fay — Hinton 6 run (Richardson kick), 9:14
Fay — Conley 50 INT return (Richardson kick), 7:46
South — Gatewood 4 run (Robles kick), 4:10
"They're a good football team," Dawson said of Bryant. "We'll be looking forward to going to play them. I think they're one of the best teams we've played this year, I really do. It ought to be an interesting week for us. To get to prepare another week, our guys will be excited about that, so we'll see how it goes."
The Purple'Dogs struggled to find consistency in the running game throughout the regular season, finishing with just more than 900. Friday those woes went away. Running back Nate Nolen rushed for 150 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, while Dan Hinton and Jackson White each finished with at least one touchdown run and 60 yards on the ground.
In the first half, Fayetteville rushed for 243 yards. Its season-high in a game entering the postseason was 177.
"We hadn't had that all year," Dawson said. "We're averaging about 100 yards per game, so we're tickled to death to have 200. That's big-time for us.
"Every time I looked up we were getting some chunk yardage. When it started off, they did a really nice job taking away Cody (Gray) and Kris (Mulinga). Our offensive line did a really nice job. I was really proud of them, and I thought our backs blocked well for each other as well."
Eventually, though, Gray and Mulinga got loose. Gray, who caught three touchdown passes from quarterback Darius Bowers, now has 16 total, and his 98 yards receiving placed him over 1,000 for the year. Mulinga also added to his league-leading numbers, hauling in seven passes for 99 yards.
Bowers finished his night 14-of-22 through the air of 223 yards -- surpassing 3,000 for the season -- and four touchdown passes. On Fayetteville's first scoring drive, he connected with White on 4th and 21 for a 26-yard score. He also ran three times for 39 yards and three first downs. Bowers is eager for another shot at the Hornets.
"They got us here at home, so we're trying to go there and hopefully get a win," Bowers said.
Three Purple'Dog defensive backs came up with interceptions as well, including Jon Conley's 50-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to push Fayetteville over the 60-point mark.
After jumping out to a 43-7 halftime lead, Southside scored 20 unanswered points to open the second half and pull within two scores midway through the third quarter. But Fayetteville recovered a Southside onside kick and proceeded to put the game away with back-to-back touchdown drives.
Sports on 11/11/2017
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