Photographs by Special to the Democrat-Gazette/JIMMY JONES
Pulaski Academy running back Isiah Woods (center) runs through a tackle by Little Rock Christian linebacker Grant McElmurry (43) during Friday’s game at Joe B. Hatcher Stadium in Little Rock.
Saturday, October 7, 2017
Pulaski Academy is used to reaching the end zone.
But on Friday night, the Bruins (6-0, 3-0 5A-Central) exceeded 80 points for the first time, earning an 86-56 victory over Little Rock Christian (5-1, 2-1) at Joe B. Hatcher Stadium in Little Rock in a matchup of undefeated 5A-Central Conference teams.
There were 142 points scored and 1,368 combined yards gained in a game that lasted 3 hours, 10 minutes, with the Bruins outgaining the Warriors 965-403.
The Bruins' 86 points was the third-highest by an Arkansas high school team, trailing Nashville's 91 points in 2016 against Idabel, Okla., and Fountain Lake's 88 points against Hot Springs Lakeside in 2008.
Pulaski Academy Coach Kevin Kelley's team scored on 13 of their 14 possessions Friday night, a week after scoring on all eight possessions against Beebe.
"We tell our offense, 'Our goal is to score every time,' " Kelley said. "People say, 'Don't make unrealstic goals.' I'm borderline if that's realistic or not. But for the last two weeks, they've pretty much done it."
Senior quarterback Layne Hatcher completed 36 of 46 passes for a state-record 745 yards and 6 touchdowns. He threw two touchdown passes to senior Brett Lynch and one apiece to seniors Tra Johnson, Nathan Biagoni and John David White, and junior Brayden Bratcher.
"We want perfection," Hatcher said. "We were one short there at the end of the first half. We count it as a drive.
"But we're very happy with how our offense performed."
Johnson had a game-high 15 receptions for 325 yards. Biagoni caught 3 passes for 151 yards. Lynch had 6 receptions for 89 yards and Henry added 6 catches for 55 yards.
Sophomore EJ Anderson rushed 8 times for 66 yards and 1 touchdown; Bratcher rushed 9 times for 61 yards and 2 scores .
Little Rock Christian was led by senior quarterback Jackson Bowersock, who completed 23 of 35 passes for 374 yards with 8 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.
Senior wide receiver Trey Harris caught 8 passes for 173 yards and 3 touchdowns. Sophomore wide receiver Chris Hightower had 8 receptions for 116 yards and 2 touchdowns while junior wide receiver Justice Hill finished with 4 catches for 57 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The game was tied at 14-14 at the end of the first quarter, but Hatcher threw three touchdown passes in the second quarter to help the Bruins take a 34-28 lead at halftime.
Hatcher's 27-yard touchdown pass to Lynch extended Pulaski Academy's lead to 53-42 with 43 seconds left in the third quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, Hatcher's onside kick was recovered by junior Luke Bratcher. Brayden Bratcher, Luke's brother, scored from 8 yards out to make it 60-42 with 11:49 to play.
The Warriors responded with Bowersock's 24-yard touchdown pass to Hightower to pull within 60-49 with 10:47 left. But the Bruins stretched their lead to 66-49 with 9:15 remaining on Hatcher's 28-yard touchdown pass to White.
Then, Luke Bratcher recovered his second onside kick, which set up Hatcher's 11-yard scoring pass to Henry for a 72-49 advantage with 8:17 left.
Kelley and Hatcher both said that when the Bruins recover two onside kicks, they're undefeated.
On Friday, the two onside kicks helped the Bruins earn their 52nd consecutive conference victory.
"The onside kicks are huge," Kelley said. "They're a momentum changer. They're a game-changer."
"We've been working on the onside kick. We got most of them tonight," LR Christian Coach Eric Cohu said. "But those two were costly."
Cohu said the Warriors have to look forward after Friday's loss and prepare for Little Rock Parkview, which is 3-0 in the 5A-Central after its victory over Beebe.
"Turn the page," Cohu said. "We'll move on to Parkview. It's a long season. We're just getting started."
Sports on 10/07/2017
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