‘Hawks bounce Bobcats
The Blackhawk offense gave their opponent some new looks on offense, and the results were the same as Pea Ridge mercy ruled Berryville in a 35-0 shutout victory last week.
“We didn’t come into this game any differently than we did last week against Prairie Grove,” head coach Stephen Neal said.
“We always make our focus to be upon preparing ourselves to do what we can do. We are about getting better each week.”
The ’Hawks’ Jakota Sainsbury put up 15 passes in the opening quarter, completing 10 of them. The senior field general eventually completed 15 of 24 passes for 128 yards and a pair of touchdowns, both of them to Jordan Witcher.
Tailback Drew Winn only carried 14 times, but averaged more than 10 yards a carry as he piled up 161 yards on the ground. Winn’s efforts put him over the 1,500 mark for the season, averaging 190 yards per game.
The ’Hawks won the toss to receive the opening kickoff, and what has become the custom of district opponents this season, the kick was short, allowing the ’Hawks to take over at their own 44. Opposing teams have chosen to avoid giving fleet return men Winn, Witcher and Hayden Holtgrewe the chance to run a kick back which has served to give the ’Hawks a short field.
The ’Hawks began the game by driving down the field on the strength of 7-, 14- and 5-yard passes to Peyton Galbraith, Bradley Wright and Witcher to get to the ’Cat 25. Tightening pass defense forced a turnover on downs, and on the Bobcats’s second offensive play, Berryville’s Archer broke through for a 23-yard run to ’Hawk territory. Unfortunately for the hosts, their next three runs netted but a yard per carry, forcing a Bobcat punt. Holtgrewe gathered in the punt at the 5, then raced, spun, out manuevered, then outran the defense to score on a 95-yard return. With 6:29 on the clock, Evan Green drilled the point after for a 7-0 Pea Ridge lead.
Blackhawk defenders locked down the next Bobcat series, allowing no yards on three carries. The subsequent punt set the ’Hawks up on the Pea Ridge 31. A first down pass from Sainsbury to Holtgrewe netted 10 yards and a new set of downs. An 8-yarder from Sainsbury to Brayden Ralph then put the ’Hawks on the midfield stripe.
Winn’s number was called twice in succession with the tailback gaining 7 then 9 yards for a first down on the Berryville 34. Wright then caught a pass for 9 yards, followed by a 5-yard catch by Witcher. Wright caught another for 6 yards, with Witcher nearly scoring on the next play, gaining 17 yards before being brought down on the Bobcat 1. Trevor Henry burst up the middle on the next play for the score with 0:39 left in the quarter. Green’s second kick gave the ’Hawks a 14-0 advantage.
The ’Hawk defense picked up where it left off, holding their hosts to but a single yard in three plays. Berryville’s desire to not let a ’Hawk run back a punt allowed the Bobcat kicker punt one to sideline coach John King.
Starting at the Bobcat 47, the ’Hawks went to Winn who picked up 27 yards total on four carries to the Berryville 20. Disaster struck two plays later, however, when a Blackhawk fumble turned the ball over to Berryville on their own 17-yard line. The Cats could not escape their end of the field though, as three runs by Berryville ball carriers netted but a single yard again. The ensuing punt went six rows deep in the visitors bleachers, giving Pea Ridge excellent field position on the Bobcat 28.
Winn nearly broke through on a 7-yard run, and the ’Hawks would score on the next play. Berryville did a good job covering the primary receivers, and after a scramble, Sainsbury spotted Witcher who broke away enough to catch a pass and run it into the end zone. Green kicked the PAT through and the ’Hawks were comfortably ahead 21-0 with 6:57 left in the half.
With more and more Blackhawk players entering the fray, Berryville finally got some traction in their offense, behind the running of Smith and Archer. They combined for 36 yards, moving the ball into Blackhawk territory at the 33. Tackles for losses by Jackson Tillman and Tristin Brewer proved to be the clods in the churn that derailed the drive, with the ’Hawks getting the ball back after stopping a fourth down play.
The ’Hawks got 20 quick yards from Winn on two carries, but could go no further, turning the ball back over on downs on the Bobcat 44. Berryville then got as close to the goal line as they had been up to that point, moving to the 26-yard line. However, Brewer blew up the march, tackling the quarterback for a 5-yard loss just before intermission to extinguish the threat.
Berryville had the ball to start the second half, and mounted a mild threat moving to the ’Hawk 38 where they faced a fourth and 2. Brewer nailed Brown, the Cat running back, for a 2-yard loss to get the ball back to Pea Ridge.
It would take Pea Ridge just two plays and 24 seconds to expand the lead. Winn ran right on first down, spinning past, darting by and running over defenders until he was finally stopped 38 yards later at the Bobcat 22. Winn, the state’s leading scorer, then bolted into the end zone on the next play ith 7:16 left in the third period. Green was again accurate and the ’Hawks led 28-0.
Carson Rhine then administered the coup-de-grace, swiping a Berryville ball on their third play following the kickoff. Winn picked up 3 yards on a rush and then picked up 7 more on a short
pass from Sainsbury. Winn exploded for 22 additional yards to give the ’Hawks a first down on the Berryville 20. Sainsbury picked up the next 10 yards to a pass to Wright, then went the rest of the way on a 10-yard pass to Witcher. Green’s kick activated the Mercy Rule, as Pea Ridge assumed a 35-0 lead with 3:45 left in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter moved to a conclusion fairly quickly with neither side moving past the mid-field stripe. The loss dropped Berryville to a 1-7 mark, mathematically eliminating them for a playoff spot. The ’Hawks saw their standard rise to 8-0 with games left against Huntsville and Shiloh to finish the regular season. Currently the holder of the No. 1 playoff seed, the ’Hawks will defend that position in the last regular season home game next week in Blackhawk Stadium.
Seven different Blackhawks had receptions for the ’Hawks, a season’s high. The receiving corps was led by Witcher and Wright’s five catches each with Holtgrewe having three receptions. Witcher led the way in receiving yardage with 58 yards.
Defensively, Tristin Brewer led the way with 12 tackles followed by Mike Mahoney with nine and Jackson Tillman and Adam Trammel tied with seven stops each.
Blackhawk sophomore No. 35 Hunter Rains plowed through Bobcat defenders Friday night in Berryville. Below, Blackhawk senior No. 81 Ryan Sheppard carried the ball to gain yards for the team.