Conway High’s defense got the offense ignited Friday night and the Wampus Cats scored on all three possessions of the second half to take a 35-6 homecoming victory over Little Rock Parkview at Centennial Bank Field at John McConnell Stadium.
The Cats (6-1, 3-1) rebounded from a loss at Fort Smith Southside last week and stayed in contention for the 7A/6A title with a major confrontation at Greenwood next week. Greenwood defeated Fort Smith Southside to take undisputed possession of first place in the league with CHS and Southside a game behind.
Conway blocked an extra point, intercepted Parkview quarterback Caerlon Harden twice (once in the end zone) and stifled another drive on downs by the Patriots (2-5, 1-5).
But it wasn’t easy after the Cats used their power game to drive 56 yards in 13 plays on their first possession with Cody Rhoades connecting with Quenton Wyrick for 13 yards and the touchdown. Parkview came back with an 80-yard drive, capped by a 5-yard run by Rashaad Earls. Derick Dooley then blocked the extra point to preserve Conway’s 7-6 lead.
Malik Clemens neutralized an interception with an interception of his own. Late in the first half, the Cats drove to a 3-yard touchdown by Brannon Kotch to take a 14-6 lead at intermission.
Conway scored on all three of its second-half possessions, mixing up its offense nicely.
The onslaught began with A.J. Burton’s interception in the end zone on the Patriots’ first possession. Rhoades passed 7 yards to Quincey Wardlaw for the second of his three TD passes. Sidney Moore then took a reverse for an 89-yard touchdown and Rhoades passed 56 yards to Brandon Cox for another touchdown.
"We changed some things on our blocking schemes to combat their stunt and blitzing game and defensive coverage at halftime," said Conway coach Clint Ashcraft. "They (the Pats) moved the ball down the field but we clamped down when they got close in the red zone. We got our power game working, which opened things up for that reverse."
In other Faulkner action, Alma overtook Vilonia in a wild one, Conway Christian remained in contention for a conference title and Greenbrier continued to roll.
At Vilonia, Alma scored 24 straight points after the Eagles had taken a 32-17 halftime lead in a showdown that could determine a high seed in 5A-West. Alma won 48-38.
It was the second straight defeat for the Eagles (5-2, 3-2).
Vilonia used interceptions by Jake Steward and Tyler Knowles, a fumble recovery and 47-yard field goal by Triston Meye to take command in the first half.
Sophomore quarterback Jared Willis sandwiched a 3-yard run by Houston Cotton with a 4-yard TD pass to Drew Estes and a 27-yarder to Steward and a 46-yard to Michael Atkinson to put the Eagles seemingly in command at the half.
The Airedales (6-2, 4-1) dominated the second half behind quarterback Gates Jensen, who ran for two touchdowns and passed for another and Preston Linker booted a 36-yard field goal to give Alama a 41-32 with 6:03 left in the fourth quarter.
Willis completed passes to Cotton, Madison Temples and Chase Marshall to set up Joseph Owens' 8-yard TD run with 1:33 left to pull the Eagles with 41-38 with 3:48 left. Vilonia’s attempt for two failed.
After a late interception, Jensen passed for a touchdown that put things out of reach.
Vilonia plays at Huntsville next week.
The Mayflower Eagles and the unbeaten Harding Academy Wildcats engaged in a wild one with Harding Academy taking a 69-49 victory at Searcy.
The Eagles (3-5, 2-3) had 298 yards of offense at the half but the Wildcats (8-0, 5-0) scored on every possession and punctuated things with an interception return for a touchdown on the last play to the half to take a 62-21 lead. The Wildcats scored 41 straight points after Mayflower pulled to a 21-all tie early in the second quarter.
Adam Dycus completed 25 of 32 passes for 446 yards and two touchdowns.
Daniel Geiber caught five passes for 83 yards. Josh Woodham had TD receptions of 2 and 85 yards. Drew Duncan caught 6 passes for 48 yards. Madison Chambliss had nine receptions for 123 yards, including TD’s of 21 and 3 yards. Garrett Taylor had 98 yards in re ceptions with a 69-yard TD.
Dycus rushed for one touchdown and Geiber, who had 86 yards on eight carries, rushed for another.
At Cutter, Conway Christian, which had 393 yards of offense, powered to a 50-14 lead at the half, put the mercy rule on and defeated Cutter Morning Star, 50-28.
The Eagles (6-1, 5-0) now have a showdown at home next week at undefeated Magnet Cove (which defeated Bigelow, 20-6), for possibly the 2A-5 title.
Tanner Stevenson completed all 15 of his passes for 279 yards. Chandler Ferrand had seven receptions for 153 yards and Andrew Dather five for 79. Ancil Lea rushed for 64 yards on 10 carries.
Stevenson ran 4 yards for one touchdown then passed 30 yards to Jonathon Antonio, 5 yards to Dather for first-quarter scores. Dather scored on a 11-yard run.
In the second quarter, Dather ran 10 yards for one score and Lea 5 yards for another. Stevenson passed 24 yards to Ferrand for another touchdown.
Two-point conversions were scored on a pass from Steevenson to Ferrand, a pass from Stevenson to Antonio, a run by Stevenson and a run by Lea.
At Greenbrier, the Panthers (8-0, 5-0) remained undefeated and set up stretch-run games against Alma and Vilonia with the 34-21 victory.
The Saints took an early lead hung tough for awhile before the Panther offense assumed control late in the second quarter behind quarterback Seth Peters and running back Austin Fischer.
Peters, one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the state, threw for 244 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 163. Fischer ran for 113 yards and a touchdown and caught eight passes for 111 yards.
Greenbrier will play at second-place Alma next week before hosting Vilonia to close the regular season.