By CHRIS BABB | The Arkadelphian
Friday was Homecoming for Arkadelphia High School and the Badger football team used a quick start to cruise to a 54-7 win over Mena in their first true home game of the year, sending the Homecoming crowd home happy and a bit early.
After the crowd watched the crowning of 2022 Homecoming Queen Makayla Gentry and Maid of Honor Aliyah Ware, they soon watched the Badgers (5-0, 2-0) take advantage of recovering a Mena onside kick to start the game.
Quarterback Donovan Whitten hit senior receiver Carter Babb for 15 yards and on the next play, sophomore Kyle Reed ran 41 yards down the left sideline for his first of two touchdown runs on the night and the Badgers were off.
The Badger defense forced Mena (3-2, 0-1) to punt after holding the Bearcats to negative yardage on its first possession of the game.
Arkadelphia wasted no time finding the end zone again, playing their first game on the new turf of AllCare Field at Badger Stadium.
After a pass to Babb and a quarterback keeper, Whitten found senior receiver Tripp Campbell for a big gainer inside the Bearcat five. After a short run from Reed, Whitten found Babb all alone in the back left corner of the end zone for the second of six first-half Arkadelphia touchdowns.
Whitten hit LaTonnieo Hughes for touchdowns of 32 and 22 yards, Reed ran for 21 and Whitten found junior receiver Evan Bailey for a 22-yard touchdown to wrap up the efficient first-half offensive effort for the Badgers. The Badgers scored touchdowns in all six of their first-half possessions.
Although it was the Badger offense the piled the points on the left side of the scoreboard, it was the Badger defense that kept the Bearcats from keeping pace on the other side of the scoreboard.
For the entire game, the Badgers limited Mena to 172 total yards of offense. Including special teams, 22 different Badgers registered tackles in the game. Junior linebacker Cade McBride had nine tackles and senior Marveon Berry added eight. The Badger defensive line combined for three sacks with solo sacks coming from Kaden Brown and Alex Gatlin. Max Wilson and Nykkisson Wimberly combined for the third sack. Wilson and junior defensive lineman KD Young were credited for quarterback pressures while Young and McBride got to the quarterback throughout the night.
Leading 41-7 at halftime, Badger head coach Trey Schucker rested the starters and gave the entire second half to the reserves. Sophomore Ja’Quavus Purifoy scored on a 52-yard touchdown run and senior Allen Buckley scored his first touchdown of the season to cap off the scoring for the Badgers on the night.
Open Week Number 2
This week is Arkadelphia’s second of three open weeks on the 2022 schedule. This is the first open week that falls during the conference schedule. This week would have been the week when Arkadelphia traveled to Fountain Lake to play the Cobras, but Fountain Lake is playing 8-man football for the 2022 season. The Badger junior high teams will still play Fountain Lake this week and those games will be on AllCare Field at Badger Stadium. The Badger seventh-grade team will play Fountain Lake’s seventh grade at 5:30. The junior high game (combined eighth and ninth grade game) will kick off at 7 p.m.
Inside Badger football with Trey Schucker
Badger fans can watch weekly recaps of Badger games along with insight and a breakdown for Badger head coach Trey Schucker each week following a game. Host Chase Hartsell and Schucker break down highlights of the previous week’s game, announce the weekly Player of the Week honors and preview the next opponent on game weeks. The show can be seen on the Arkadelphia Public Schools APSD-TV YouTube Channel.