Fifth-ranked Hogs upset No. 2 McClellan
Arkansas High is one step closer to taking the crown.
With the possibility of the Conference 5A-South championship on the line, the Razorbacks came out of halftime and fought through adversity to score 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to dethrone previously-unbeaten Little Rock McClellan, 21-15, on Friday night at Razorback Stadium.
Arkansas High (6-1, 4-0), coming into the game ranked fifth in the Associated Press poll, takes over sole possession of the top spot in the conference with just three games remaining: Hot Springs, Hope and De Queen.
“To give yourself a chance to win a conference championship and to come out victorious is big for this program,” Arkansas High head coach Barry Norton said. “It’s been 12 years since the school has won one. So, to play the way we did and to fight the way we did with a lot on the line, we handled it very well tonight and that shows the character these kids have.”
Second-ranked Little Rock McClellan (6-1, 3-1) shut down the Razorbacks for the most part through three quarters. The Crimson Lions held the home team to just 40 yards before intermission while accumulating 120 of their own.
“We had to find a way to win this one,” Norton said. “Cameron Collier came up huge for us in the second half tonight on both sides of the ball. It shows how great of a player he is and how he always finds a way to put us in a position to win these tough games.” Indeed.
After being held to a mere 32 yards before halftime, Collier got a spark in the second half and scored both of the Razorbacks touchdowns to seal the victory.
Down 15-7 to begin the fourth quarter, Arkansas High needed just two plays to find the end zone. On first down Collier had a huge 23-yard rush and followed it up with a 59-yard score to cut into the deficit, 15-14. On the next McClellan drive, a bad snap forced a fumble and Collier scooped it up for a 41-yard recovery to give the Razorbacks their first lead, 21-15, which would prove to be enough for the win.
Collier finished with a game-high 145 yards and both of the Razorbacks’ offensive touchdowns on 19 carries.
“I told them at halftime, ‘This game is right where we thought it would be,’” Norton said. “We made a couple of adjustments for the second half, and we told the kids to just keep fighting. We have to fight for every inch, because those inches will turn into a foot, and that alone will help you win these tight games. And we did.”
Neither team found the end zone in the first quarter. They traded threeand-outs on their first drives and Arkansas High recovered a fumble in the red zone on the Crimson Lions’ second drive.
The Crimson Lions, however, pumped out 120 yards offensively in the first two quarters and held the ball for nearly 12 minutes total in the second. After taking the punt to open up the quarter, the visitors had a 13-play drive that resulted in 68 yards and Lloyd’s first score of the game on a 1-yard run.
Collier would help answer back on the following possession after the Hogs recovered an onside kick attempt with 3:56 remaining in the half. After getting their first first-down of the game, Collier broke open on the left sideline and found paydirt on a 14-yard dash to knot the score.
The Razorbacks bucked the trend of having a lot of penalties and finished with 25 yards on just five flags.
“We didn’t get into a lot of penalty trouble tonight,” Norton said. “I thought there were a couple of calls that didn’t go our way, but we got the win and that’s what matters the most.”
Little Rock McClellan got big contributions on the ground, with running back Derrick Lloyd Jr. and quarterback Jaylon Williams combining for 142 yards. Williams finished with a teamhigh 76 yards and a score on 19 totes, and Lloyd added 66 yards and a score on 22 attempts.
With the win and Arkansas High wins the remaining three, it will be crowned conference champions for the first time in over a decade.
“I’m really proud for our kids right now,” Norton said. I told them I was probably as nervous for this game as I was for the very first game I ever coached, because I wanted for them to win so badly. It’s been so long for this program”
Arkansas High will be back in action next Friday when it hosts Hot Springs.
Arkansas High 0 7 8 0 — 15
Little Rock McClellan 0 7 0 14 — 21
LRM-Derrick Lloyd Jr 1 run (Xavion Morgan kick), 3:56 AHS-Cameron Collier 14 run (Patrick Cook kick), 2:45
LRM-Jaylon Williams 1 run (Williams run), 1:25
AHS-Collier 59 run (Cook kick), 11:46 AHS-Collier 41 fumble return (Cook kick), 9:29 McClellan AHS
First Downs 15 6
Yards Rushing 197 134
Yards Passing 59 16
Passes A-C-I 8-5-0 11-2-0
Fumbles-Lost 5-2 2-0
Penalties 4-35 5-25
Punts-Avg. 2-23.0 5-29.8 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING—McClellan, Derrick Lloyd Jr. 22-66, Jaylon Williams 19-76, Xavion Morgan 8-3, Broderick Lacy 2-19, Jeremiah Akins 4-33. Arkansas High, Cameron Collier 19-145, DeJordan Mask 2-(minus 11).
PASSING—McClellan, Williams 4-6-0 35, Morgan 1-2-0 24. Arkansas High, Sean Foreback 2-10-0 16, Drake Browning 0-1-0 0.
RECEIVING—McClellan, Brandon Williams 1-16, Morgan 1-16, Lacy 1-3, Williams 1-24. Arkansas High, Browning 1-8, Collier 1-8.