Photographs by Charlie Kaijo
Springdale Har-Ber linebacker Trevor Alderson (44) leaps over Bentonville quarterback Nathan Lyons during Friday night’s game in Bentonville. The Tigers defeated the top-ranked Wildcats 24-21.
Saturday, October 7, 2017
BENTONVILLE -- Kam'Ron Mays-Hunt is accustomed to making big plays on offense, but it was his defensive heroics that Bentonville High's football team needed Friday night.
The senior dove for Springdale Har-Ber quarterback Grant Allen's fumble and fell on the loose ball with 1 minute, 23 seconds remaining to preserve the Tigers' 24-21 upset victory over the top-ranked Wildcats during 7A-West Conference action at Tiger Stadium.
Bentonville High 24, Springdale Har-Ber 21
Har — Collins 1 run (Zizumbo kick), 8:08.
Har — Copher 5 run (Zizumbo kick), 4:03.
Bent — Lyons 2 run (Younger kick), 9:59.
Bent — Smith 15 pass from Lyons (Younger kick), 1:05.
Bent — FG Younger 26, 8:27.
Bent — Miller 1 run (Younger kick), 5:41.
Har — Copher 13 pass from Allen (Zizumbo kick), 4:07.
"I just tried to play defense and make big plays over there," Mays-Hunt said. "I thought I was going to get a pick on the play, then I saw the ball and said 'Heck yeah. I'm diving on it.' I dove on it, and it almost came out. I kept it, and I had to clinch the ball for my life."
Bentonville's defense stiffened over the last three quarters after it was burned by a pair of long passes that eventually led to Har-Ber (5-1, 2-1 7A-West) taking an early 14-0 lead. The Tigers had three interceptions, including one by Mays-Hunt to start the fourth quarter deep in Bentonville territory, as well as the fumble recovery.
Har-Ber used Grant Allen's 13-yard touchdown pass to Payton Copher to pull within 24-21 with 4:07 remaining and eventually forced Bentonville to punt the ball away with 1:39 remaining. Allen started the drive with a 12-yard pass to Copher to the Wildcats 44, but he was forced to scramble on the ensuing play and eventually lost the ball.
"Bentonville did a heck of a job and executed well," Har-Ber coach Chris Wood said. "They won the line of scrimmage, and we had too many turnovers. There were too many mistakes in a game like this, but hat's off to Bentonville.
"I loved our kids' fight in the end. We had a lot of resilience and never gave up. We had the ball and had an opportunity there at the end. We'll grow from it and move on."
Bentonville quarterback Nathan Lyons did his part in pulling Bentonville (4-2, 3-0) back into a 14-14 tie by halftime. The senior capped a 16-play, 80-yard drive when he scored from 2 yards out after he had bobbled the snap on a fourth-down play, then hit Dylan Smith with a 15-yard touchdown pass with 1:05 before halftime.
The Tigers took the lead for good on their opening possession of the second half when they settled for Sam Younger's 26-yard field goal with 8:27 left in the third quarter. A 44-yard punt return by Harrison Campbell allowed Bentonville to start its next drive at the Har-Ber 17, and the Tigers scored four plays later on a 1-yard run by Easton Miller, who finished with 29 carries for 134 yards.
"I'm proud of our running back and our offensive line," Bentonville coach Jody Grant said. "How about our quarterback and his toughness and his ability to make plays on big downs?
"We asked a lot out of our quarterback, and he answered. I'm proud of the way he played, and he had some big-time throws and catches. That secondary is as good as there is in the state, our they did a good job against our guys. However, we were still able to do some stuff."
Sports on 10/07/2017
NWADG.com for only
$0.99 for the first month.