Hooten’s called Greenbrier and Arkadelphia’s game at Greenbrier the Class 5A game of the week, and it lived up to the hype.
Little defense was played in a 55-47 shootout as the Panthers go 3-0 in nonconference play.
It was a back-and-forth battle for much of the first half, until Greenbrier pulled away on a 42-yard rushing touchdown by senior quarterback Cooper Wilcox to make the score 28-13 with 5:05 left in the first half.
Arkadelphia answered with a 68-yard touchdown pass, but Wilcox made the score a non-factor as he hit junior wide receiver Carter McElhany on a 41-yard touchdown pass.
A missed Badger field goal later paved the way for a 47-yard touchdown pass from Wilcox to senior Jacob Mathis to make the score 42-20 with 9:45 left in the third quarter.
The tide began to change as Arkadelphia scored on a 9-yard passing touchdown and then successfully recovered an onside kick, which set up a 43-yard rushing touchdown by senior running back Jaishon Davis.
Davis once again ran into the endzone on a 3-yard rush, pulling the Badgers within two with 11:58 left in the game.
The two teams played at a stalemate for about six minutes until senior Shannon Howard picked off Arkadelphia junior quarterback Donovan Whitten at the Badger 30-yard line.
He returned the interception to the 3, but a penalty forced the ball back.
Wilcox then connected with Thatcher Strack on a 13-yard pass to put Greenbrier up 49-40 with 6:23 left in the game.
Two minutes later, Whitten hit Braylon Bailey on a 46-yard touchdown pass to once again pull within two.
Greenbrier sat on the ball over the next few minutes, but a timeout with four seconds left allowed Wilcox to score to put the game away at 55-47.
The Panthers are off next Friday and will enter their final season in the 5A West as they host Morrilton on Sept. 24.
Greenbrier’s Class 5A West intra-county foe Vilonia had a close game at home as well, hosting 5A Central’s Maumelle.
The Eagles entered the game as a four-point favorite, but ended up winning 34-32 over the Hornets.
Vilonia senior wide receiver Kannon Bartlett kicked things off in a big way as he returned the opening kick for a touchdown.
The Eagles defense stymied the Maumelle offense, but Vilonia senior quarterback Austin Myers was picked off for the first of three interceptions on the night.
The interception was caught at the Vilonia 35-yard line and returned to the end zone by senior Hornet Maurice Mosby with 10:40 left to play.
Myers corrected things temporarily as he threw 5- and 18-yard touchdown passes to senior wide receivers Connor Eary and Jamison Hinsley, respectively to make it 20-7 with 9:47 left in the game.
Myers was then picked off again on the Eagles’ next drive by Maumelle senior safety Maxwell Pace at the Vilonia 33.
Pace returned it to the endzone for a second pick-6 as Maumelle pulled within seven.
Myers bounced back and threw a touchdown pass to Bartlett for a 36-yard touchdown pass, making the score 27-13 with 5:39 left in the third.
The Hornets cut the Vilonia lead down to single digits as junior quarterback Weston Pierce connected with junior running back Jaylen McKenzie from 9 yards out.
Another Myers touchdown to Eary made the score 34-19 with 9:55 left to play, but a 12-yard rushing touchdown and a 49-yard passing touchdown by Maumelle pulled the Hornets within two with 6:19 left in the game.
Vilonia kept Maumelle at bay to pick up a second consecutive nonconference win.
The Eagles travel to Russellville on Thursday to round out nonconference play.
In Conway, the Wampus Cats played host to their future 7A Central mates Jonesboro and handled business for a 42-25 win.
Jonesboro kicked an early field goal to go up 3-0, but that was the last time the Hurricane held a lead.
Conway got on the board on its ensuing possession as junior wide receiver Clayton Fisher was in the right place at the right time as he caught a tipped ball and ran 50 yards for what totaled to be a 71-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Donovyn Omolo.
The Hurricane connected on a second field late in the first and the two teams were deadlocked at 7-6 until Omolo hit senior wide receiver Manny Smith on a 19-yard touchdown with 16 seconds left in the first half.
After halftime, Jonesboro pulled within two as senior quarterback Rykar Acebo and senior wide receiver Jesse Washington III connected on fourth down for a 30-yard touchdown pass.
Conway answered as junior running back Jayllen Chambers rushed for a 3-yard score.
On the Wampus Cats’ Omolo hit junior wide receiver Romarrion Fields on a 70-yard touchdown pass to put the Wampus Cats up 28-12 with 6:54 left in the third quarter.
Jonesboro junior running back Brock McCoy then rushed for a 2-yard touchdown late in the third as a missed 2-point conversion left the Hurricane trailing by 10.
Conway scored twice more on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Omolo to Smith and a 10-yard rushing touchdown by junior running back Jamarion “Boogie” Carr.
A Joneboro touchdown with 30 seconds left in the game put them down 17 to close out the game.
The Wampus Cats end nonconference play at 2-1 and will have next week off before hosting Little Rock Southwest on Sept. 24.
The Mayflower Eagles dropped to 0-2 on the season as they fell 49-13 to Fountain Lake.
The Eagles will look to bounce back as they play at Central Arkansas Christian next Friday to round out nonconference play.
Conway Christian fell victim to the sportsmanship rule once again Friday as it lost 44-0 to Class 3A opponent Atkins on the road.
Next Friday, the Eagles travel to Perryville to close out nonconference play.
Quitman was off Friday, but return to the field next Friday at Mountain View.