Photo: Richey Miller, clearchoicephoto.com
Earlier in the week, Fayetteville head football coach Daryl Patton said a fire needed to be ignited within the Bulldogs’ rushing attack. Whatever fuel he and his coaching staff threw on the fire worked.
Fayetteville (8-0, 5-0) vs. Har-Ber (5-3, 3-2)
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1
Location: Jarrell Williams Bulldog Stadium, Springdale
Behind a strong rushing attack and two forced turnovers, the Bulldogs defeated Siloam Springs, 35-14, in a contest that was closer than the score might indicate.
Siloam Springs (1-6-1, 0-5) pulled within 21-14 of the Bulldogs early in the fourth quarter and threatened to narrow the gap further by moving within the Bulldogs’ 20-yard line, but had to settle for a field goal attempt that failed.
With around 7:00 to play, Patton and Bulldogs’ offensive coordinator opted to put the ball in the hands of the Bulldogs’ running game, and it responded with a clock-burning, 80-yard march for touchdown. Braydon Cook capped the drive with a 1-yard plunge
“Our offensive line did the best job of blocking that they’ve done all year,” Patton said. “Braydon Cook and Javontee Smith really responded. They ran the ball really hard and that made a big difference in the game.”
Cook carried 31 times for 196 yards and three touchdowns.
“They were giving us the run and when we started having some success, it really opened up our passing game,” Patton said.
The Bulldogs recovered a fumble earlier in the game and Kennedy Wade and Jordan Dennis picked off passes, but Terrell Tyson’s interception return for a touchdown late in the game amounted to style points for Fayetteville.
“Terrell made a great play,” Patton said. “He and our defense played very hard. Until the last two games, we had been about even in turnover ratio. But we recovered three fumbles against Rogers, and we had three interceptions and fumble recovery last night. We may have bent a little, but we didn’t break.”
Patton complimented the play of the Panthers, who are playing 7A/6A West opponents close, but have yet to get over the hump.
“That was a hard-fought game by two teams that were doing everything they could to win,” Patton said. “You have to give Bryan Ross and his team and his coaching staff a lot of credit. They improve each week, and his team plays really hard.”
The Bulldogs travel to Jarrell Williams Bulldog Stadium on Friday to face the Har-Ber Wildcats (5-3, 3-2), which lost a 59-42 shootout to Rogers on Friday.
“Let me tell you, Rogers is a very good football team,” Patton said. “It might be a surprise to some that Har-Ber lost to Rogers, but they are very good at what they do, and the triple option is a real challenge when you don’t see it every week. I wouldn’t want to be a team from the Central that will have to play them the first week in the playoffs.”