Tigers Search­ing For Con­sis­tency


Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - SPORTS WEEK - By Mark Humphrey

PRAIRIE GROVE — When light­ning strikes the im­pact ei­ther en­er­gizes or de­mor­al­izes a team.

Things didn’t bode well for Prairie Grove, which held an early 7-0 lead Fri­day af­ter light­ning caused a 30-minute de­lay with 1:45 left in the first quar­ter. Dardanelle’s of­fense took the field af­ter play once more got un­der­way scor­ing two touch­downs to take a 14-7 half­time lead on the way to hand­ing Prairie Grove a 35-17 non­con­fer­ence loss.

Prior to that Prairie Grove held the San­dlizards.

“It’s like we’re play­ing very well, then we just for­get about what we’re do­ing,” said Prairie Grove coach Danny Ab­shier, lament­ing the de­fen­sive let­down.

Ab­shier is look­ing for more con­sis­tency all the way around. The Tiger of­fense was un­pro­duc­tive at times, es­pe­cially in the third quar­ter when other backs were subbed in to carry the ball giv­ing Gar­rett Hel­temes a breather. Hel­temes went over 100 yards rush­ing for the sec­ond straight game av­er­ag­ing 10 yards-per-run on 14 car­ries.

“He’s ex­tremely durable,” Ab­shier said. “He’s about the only thing we can get go­ing right now. We run some­thing and he makes it hap­pen.”

Hel­temes scored the first touch­down of the game on a 30-yard run

at the 3:25 mark of the first to cap a 99-yard drive af­ter Dardanelle’s place-kick style punt rolled dead at the Tiger one. Wing­back James Mill­wood churned out a 46-yard carry on the 9-play drive.

Then came the light­ning break and Prairie Grove suf­fered a let­down. There were 26 penal­ties called, which slowed the game al­ready de­layed by light­ning. Both teams had more than 100 yards marked off in penal­ties, and the Tigers could not sus­tain drives due to all the flags. Prairie Grove man­aged a mere 43 yards in the sec­ond quar­ter.

In the third quar­ter a drive stalled, but Prairie Grove sent out the field goal unit and Cade Walker con­verted from 30 yards out to trim the score to 14-10 at the 7:48 mark. The Tigers would get no closer. San­dlizard ju­nior quar­ter­back Jo­ran Met­calf com­pleted 9-of-18 passes with two touch­downs, and ran 12 times for 93 yards and a pair of scores on the ground. The San­dlizards out­gained Prairie Grove 333 to 325 in total of­fense. Dardanelle held an 183 to 58 ad­van­tage in pass­ing yardage. Met­calf con­nected with Sam Wil­liams on a pair of deep passes, in­clud­ing a 49-yard touch­down to put the San­dlizards ahead, 28-10.

Prairie Grove senior quar­ter­back Ethan Scates was 2-for12 for 58 yards pass­ing be­fore leav­ing with an in­jury in the fourth quar­ter. Backup quar­ter­back senior Ethan Guen­ther (6-0, 230) handed off to Hel­temes, who ram­bled 67 yards to the San­dlizard 14. The 4-play, 81-yard drive cul­mi­nated in Mill­wood’s 13-yard touch­down run. Walker’s ex­tra-point kick ac­counted for the 35-17 fi­nal.

The Tigers (0-2) suf­fered their worst reg­u­lar sea­son home loss since a 40-14 set­back to Cassville, Mo., on Sept. 9, 2011. The last Arkansas team to win by three touch­downs at Tiger Den Sta­dium was Gravette in the reg­u­lar sea­son fi­nale, a 35-14 de­feat of the Tigers on Nov. 5, 2010. The Lions went 9-2 that year, which was the last time Prairie Grove missed the play­offs.

For trivia buffs — that’s an im­pres­sive streak of 35 home field reg­u­lar sea­son games go­ing back to the 26-point loss to Cassville, Mo., and 37 games dat­ing back to a 21-point loss to Gravette.


Prairie Grove sopho­more Cade Grant broke up this Dardanelle pass. The Tigers were beaten 35-17 by the San­dlizards Fri­day, leav­ing Prairie Grove still search­ing for its first foot­ball win of the 2018 sea­son.

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