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Football: Stone Bryant a two-way terror for Tigers against Shiloh Christian

PRAIRIE GROVE -- Chalk up another stone-cold victory for Prairie Grove over Shiloh Christian.

Senior Stone Bryant caught touchdown passes of 55 and 30 yards and had an interception in the fourth quarter to preserve a 35-21 victory for Prairie Grove over Shiloh Christian on Friday at Tiger Stadium. It was the third consecutive victory for Prairie Grove (6-0, 3-0) over the Saints (4-2, 2-1) and set up a showdown next week at Pea Ridge for the lead in the 4A-1 Conference.

Bryant was a two-way terror for the Tigers, who sealed the game on a 47-yard interception return for a touchdown by Demarkus Cooper with one minute, 15 second left in the game. Stone Bryant now has six touchdown catches and three interceptions on the season.

"He's a warrior," Prairie Grove coach Danny Abshier said of Bryant, whose twin brother, Colin Bryant, also had an interception in the game. "There's a lot of warriors out there on the field and Stone is one of the biggest."

Stone Bryant juked two defenders for his second touchdown catch after he caught a 50/50 ball for a touchdown in the second quarter to put Prairie Grove ahead 20-7.

"(The defender) was on me and we both had the ball," Bryant said of his first touchdown catch. "I ripped it out of his hands, basically, and I had it when we went to the ground."

FANCY PLAY

Shiloh Christian has long had a reputation for creative play-calling and the Saints displayed it in the first half.

Three players handled the football in the backfield on a flea flicker that started with quarterback Landon Brown. Brown handed to another player, who handed to a second player, who then tossed the football back to Brown.

Brown lobbed a long pass down field but the pass was knocked away by Stone Bryant, who was playing safety for the Tigers.

FOURTH-DOWN FAILURES

Shiloh Christian would've been ahead at halftime instead of trailing if not for some fourth-down failures.

The Saints were 0 for 5 on fourth-down attempts after reaching Prairie Grove territory in the first half. Shiloh Christian reached the Prairie Grove 31 with three seconds left in the first half but failed to take the lead when a pass into the end zone was intercepted by Colin Bryant.

Shiloh Christian finally converted on a fourth-down play in the second half but that was followed by two more failed attempts on fourth down.

REPLACE, RELOAD

The "next man up" philosophy is one all coaches emphasize, but Prairie Grove seems to have more success than most at replacing graduated or injured players.

The quarterback position is a perfect example. Senior John David Elder is a first-time stater who has led the Tigers to a 6-0 record. He replaced Zeke Laird, who started for the first time last year and led the Tigers to a 12-1 record and an appearance in the state semifinals.

Laird replaced Sam Dodd, who led Prairie Grove to a 13-2 record and an appearance in the state championship game at War Memorial Stadium. That's a combined record of 31-3 from three different quarterbacks at Prairie Grove, which has won four of the past five championships in the 4A-1 Conference.

PLAY OF THE GAME

Shiloh Christian was in possession late in the fourth quarter when Demarkus Cooper intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown to put the Tigers ahead 35-21. Cooper showed anticipation and good hands on the play when he moved from the outside and swiped a screen pass near the middle of the field.

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Stone Bryant caught two touchdown passes and intercepted a long pass by Shiloh Christian in the fourth quarter. Bryant also had 68-yard reception from quarterback John David Elder that led to a touchdown and flipped the field when the first quarter was played mostly in Prairie Grove territory.

ONSIDE KICKS

Former Prairie Grove standout Dylan Soehner is a redshirt freshman at Iowa State, where he is a backup tight end and special teams player for the Cyclones. Soehner sat out last season with an injury. ... The 14 points allowed by Prairie Grove in the first half were more than the 12 points per game average the Tigers held coming into the game. ... Prairie Grove forced Shiloh Christian to use a timeout in the fourth quarter when the Tigers lined up for a play on fourth down, then punted the ball when the teams returned to the field.

Sports on 10/07/2017

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