MORRILTON — Vilonia didn’t fall into Morrilton’s trap by looking ahead to next week’s season-ending game with arch-rival Greenbrier for the Faulkner County Judge’s Cup.
The Eagles (6-3,4-2) controlled the clock and made few mistakes on offense, while the defense came away with four stops on fourth-and-short in their 20-6 victory at Devil Dog Stadium on Friday.
"It was a sloppy field, and we couldn’t use (running back) James Sax very much on the corners," Vilonia coach Jim Stanley said. "The kids took care of business and I’m really proud of them. This means a lot to our kids. From where they were in July to where they are now is just unbelievable."
Vilonia’s defense made three stands on fourth down in the first half, and one of them led to the only score of the first half.
The Eagles stuffed Morrilton’s Justin Criswell on fourth-and-2 and took over on their 17 with 8:48 left before the intermission. Vilonia’s Eric Ebmeyer then ripped off a 48-yard run down to the Morrilton 22. However, the Eagles were backed up to the 38 after two consecutive penalties for false start and holding. Vilonia was able to set up a fourth-and-3 situation and fullback Jake Wiedmeir pounded through the defensive front and picked up six yards down to the 10. The next play Ebmeyer scored on a quarterback keeper around the right end at the 3:58 mark. Griffen Nelson kicked through the extra point to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead going into the half, but not before one more stand by the defense on fourth down at the Vilonia 26.
The Eagles’ came out of the half and marched the ball down the field for a touchdown. Sax popped a 39-yard run, which was capped off by a 2-yard run for Robbins. The extra point attempt failed, and the Eagles led 13-0.
The Devil Dogs (1-8,1-5) responded with a 59-yard scamper from Criswell on fourth-and-three, pulling the home team within 13-6.
Ebmeyer answered Morrilton’s touchdown on the Eagles’ next possession. Ebmeyer, who had success on the quarterback keeper the entire night, faked a handoff to a back, and then shook a linebacker on his 45-yard run. Nelson tacked on the extra point to give the Eagles’ a 20-6 lead with 2:08 left in the third quarter.
"We just kept running the quarterback sneak," Ebmeyer said. "We were just able to run it down their throats again this year."