Originally published October 6, 2018 at 07:00a.m., updated October 6, 2018 at 01:00a.m.
FAYETTEVILLE -- Fayetteville's speed was on full display during Friday's 50-14 win against Van Buren at Harmon Field.
The speed came from the one-two punch of Beau Stuckey and Connor Flannigan, who wear jersey Nos. 1 and 2. The duo, along with Hank Gibbs' passing and a sack-happy defense, was the difference in the Bulldogs improving to 5-1 overall and 2-1 in 7A-West play while the Pointers slipped to 2-3, 1-2.
Fayetteville 50, Van Buren 14
Van Buren 7 7 0 0 – 14
Fayetteville 14 21 9 6 – 50
Fay – Charboneau 21 pass from Gibbs (Richardson kick), 9:21
Fay – Flannigan 29 pass from Gibbs (Richardson kick), 2:57
Van – Bartholomew 78 pass from Phillips (Flores kick), 2:12
Fay – Stuckey 75 pass from Gibbs (Richardson kick), 10:08
Van – Bartholomew 14 pass from Phillips (Flores kick), 5:16
Fay – Flannigan 87 kickoff return (Richardson kick), 5:00
Fay – Flannigan 39 pass from Gibbs (Richardson kick), 1:21
Fay – Perry 5 run (Richardson kick), 9:46
Fay – Safety, 5:12
Fay – Nelson 78 run, :00
"They're really good football players who can run," said Fayetteville coach Billy Dawson. "We get caught up sometimes in guys who have a lot of speed, and those guys can really run, but those are two good football players and I thought our quarterback did a nice job of getting the football to them.
"We're getting better. We played a little cleaner penalty-wise, so I'm proud of where we're at and the direction we're heading."
Gibbs connected on a 21-yard touchdown pass to Luke Charboneau and a 29-yard pass to Flannigan to give Fayetteville an early 14-0 lead before Van Buren responded with a 78-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Gary Phillips to Jude Bartholomew.
Van Buren failed to recover a muffed punt inside Fayetteville's 10-yard line when Stuckey somehow swiped the ball away from three Pointers players who appeared to have a beat on the ball. Two plays later, RJ Riley made up for it by recovering a fumble, but the Bulldogs defense stiffened to force a field goal attempt that was no good. Another stop early on came when sophomore Sebastian Rodriguez intercepted Griffin's pass near the goal line.
"Defensively we played pretty well all night," Dawson said. "The quarterback got loose a couple of times, but he's a good player. We had broken down coverage wise the past three or four weeks, so we honed in on coverage and I thought our corners played their best game."
Three plays after the missed field goal, Gibbs hit Stuckey on a tunnel screen and Stuckey did the rest by slicing through a seam in the defense for a 75-yard touchdown sprint.
Van Buren answered when Phillips hooked up with Bartholomew again for a 14-yard scoring strike to make it 21-14. Phillips had carries of 11, 14 and 9 to keep the drive alive. It also was aided by an official's mistake that resulted in five plays before a first down. On the fifth play, which was played like it was 4th-down-and-8 because no one noticed the extra play, Phillips through an incompletion, but a roughing the passer penalty extended the 15-play, 75-yard drive.
That was as close as the Pointers would get as Flannigan returned the ensuing kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown and added to the lead on a 39-yard touchdown pass from Gibbs to Flannigan. Flanningan finished with 6 receptions for 137 yards while Gibbs was 14 of 26 for 262 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Van Buren would never score again thanks to a Bulldogs' defense that sealed the victory with four second-half sacks, including a sack for a safety by Trindyn Meadows.
"We were running a few stunts, but not a lot," Dawson said. "We've got some guys up front like Coleman Johnson, Keondre Conley, Marcus Tortorello and some others who are pretty good. Coleman and Keondre off the edge are hard to handle and make a lot of plays and force [offenses] into tough spots."
Fayetteville's Montell Perry began the second-half scoring when he followed a 24-yard run with a 5-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. The Bulldogs put an exclamation point on the victory as they were attempting to run out the clock with running plays when sophomore Rees Nelson spring free for a 78-yard touchdown run as time expired.
Sports on 10/06/2018
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