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Arkansas high school football team withdraws from playoffs after I-30 bus accident

The Helena-West Helena football team has withdrawn from the Class 4A playoffs after being involved in a school bus accident Friday night in Benton.

The Arkansas Activities Association announced the withdrawal in a news release Saturday.

Helena-West Helena was scheduled to play Arkadelphia in the Class 4A first round Friday, but the game was postponed.

Three school buses from the Helena-West Helena School District and one other vehicle crashed on Interstate 30 about 4:30 p.m. Friday, shutting down the inside and middle westbound lanes at mile marker 116 in Benton.

Helena-West Helena Superintendent John Hoy said in a statement Saturday that the buses were carrying approximately 78 students, which included the football team, the cheerleaders and the band. Hoy said 38 students were taken to local hospitals for minor injuries and evaluations, and all students were released from the hospital Friday night. All three of the bus drivers involved were shaken up but uninjured.

With the withdrawal, Arkadelphia (9-1), the No. 2 seed from the 7-4A Conference, advances to the second round of the Class 4A playoffs. The Badgers will travel Friday to Southside Batesville (10-1), the No. 1 seed from the 2-4A Conference.

Helena-West Helena, the No. 5 seed from the 2-4A, was 6-4 during the regular season.

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