By Chase Hartsellc
On Friday night, Arkadelphia Badgers from the past and present convened at Badger Stadium to celebrate homecoming. Following a night full of festivities, Arkadelphia Football gave fans even more reason to celebrate in the form of a 48-14 homecoming victory over the visiting Fountain Lake Cobras.
After reaching the end zone on their opening drive of the game, the Badgers (3-3, 2-1) initiated a 21-0 scoring run to open up the game. The Cobras (3-3, 1-2) got on the board when junior Juan Diggs ran back an onside kick for a touchdown late in the first half. Arkadelphia would respond with a touchdown in the closing seconds of the second quarter, marking the beginning of another 21-0 run for the Badgers that carried over into the second half. Both teams would trade scores in the final four minutes of the game to provide the final result.
In front of an energized crowd at All Care Field, Donovan Whitten provided perhaps his best performance of the season thus far. By the final whistle, the junior quarterback had completed 19 of his 27 attempts for 364 yards and five touchdowns. Whitten also added 51 yards on the ground on just six attempts, including a quarterback sneak late in the second quarter that also went for a score. In total, he accumulated 415 offensive yards and six touchdowns.
Following the previous week’s loss against Robinson, Arkadelphia head coach Trey Schucker was impressed with how his quarterback responded.
“Donovan had a really big bounceback night,” Coach Schucker said in a postgame interview. “I was very proud of him and how he handled himself.”
Alex Loy received a tip of the cap from the homecoming crowd, completing a hat trick of touchdowns before the first half expired. The senior wideout snagged his first touchdown catch on a precise 16-yard pass from Whitten, helping the Badgers put up the first points of the night. Whitten connected with Loy again early in the second quarter as the junior quarterback rolled out of the pocket before hitting his open man downfield for a 42-yard score. Loy would complete his trifecta on a 55-yard touchdown missile from Whitten with 3:20 remaining in the first half. By the end of the night, Loy had hauled in eight catches for 155 yards and three scores.
It was the kind of excellent performance that Coach Schucker has come to expect out of one of his team’s prominent senior leaders.
“He’s been consistent all season,” Schucker commented when discussing Loy’s offensive execution. “[He] does a great job for us. He’s just one of our playmakers that we can rely on.”
In a breakout performance, Seth Golden also threatened to reach the 100-yard threshold. The sophomore wideout made his presence felt, posting 93 yards on three receptions. On the last of those catches, Golden secured a deep pass from Whitten before taking it to the end zone for an 80-yard score.
On a night where young Badger talent shined, Carter Babb was another standout in Arkadelphia’s receiving corps. The junior wide receiver tallied two long catches, with the latter coming in the form of a 23-yard touchdown pass from Whitten that served as Babb’s first score of the 2021 campaign.
Another main contributor was senior wideout Braylon Bailey, who collected 49 yards on four catches.
Though he had a relatively quiet night compared to other recent performances, Jaishon Davis still provided important production for Arkadelphia’s offense. The senior running back recorded 12 rushing attempts for 64 yards and a touchdown, which came on a 2-yard run from power formation with 6:11 left in the third quarter.
Following a tough matchup against Robinson the week prior, Arkadelphia’s defense held the Cobras’ offense off the board for nearly 45 minutes of Friday’s 48-minute contest. In another breakout showing, sophomore Nick Williams provided consistent disruption and managed to record an interception for the Badgers. Additionally, senior Kobe Buckley made several open-field tackles in late-down situations, including a sack that resulted in a turnover on downs during a crucial defensive stand. Senior Alex Turley, junior Max Wilson, and sophomore KD Young, among others, provided further pressure up front.
After Friday night’s loss, Fountain Lake falls to 1-2 in conference play and 3-3 overall. Next week, following back-to-back road matchups, the Cobras return home to face Bauxite.
With Friday’s homecoming win, Arkadelphia advances to 2-1 in conference play and 3-3 overall. Next Friday, they’ll face an intriguing matchup as they head back on the road to face Haskell Harmony Grove. After recording no wins in 2020, the Cardinals have already posted two victories in 2021, including a 27-22 conference road victory over Bauxite on Friday. Kickoff between Arkadelphia and Haskell Harmony Grove is set for 7:00 p.m. on October 15th, with the game being available for livestream on arkadelphiabadgertv.com.
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