WHITE HALL — White Hall survived Forrest City’s passing game. Now it has to get ready for Pulaski Academy’s in Little Rock.
Ethan Adams’ 197 yards passing wasn’t enough for Forrest City to get by White Hall, which barely outgained the Mustangs in total yards 378-370 and won 35-19 in a 5A state first-round game Friday night. Next for the Bulldogs is the vaunted attack of Pulaski Academy, last year’s 4A champion which cruised past Vilonia 62-21.
“It’s just an honor,” said White Hall quarterback Terrance Warren, who completed 10 of 15 passes for 108 yards and a touchdown and ran for two more TDs. “I just thank God every time I get to play another game. This is my senior year, and I just want to make it all the way.”
The Bulldogs (9-1) had 273 rushing yards, and it was a big run on the game’s first play from scrimmage that got them going. Running back Kendrick Edgerson sprinted 55 yards on a draw for a touchdown on the play.
He finished with 161 yards on 13 carries.
“We’ve got a lot of good backs,” Warren said. “You don’t know who’s going to strike first.”
But Adams, who threw for about 2,000 yards on the season going into Friday, went right to work on the next series, completing 4 of 5 passes and scoring on a 1-yard sneak to tie the game at 7. He went 14 for 31 but tossed three interceptions.
“You know they’re going to throw it and catch it some,” White Hall coach Mike Vaughn said. “You just have to make the tackles and plays at times and you have to score points.”
While the Bulldog secondary got a workout against the Mustang offense, they raised their interception count in the last five games to 15. Joseph Stewart made his seventh in that span to stop Forrest City’s opening drive of the second half.
Warren ran for a touchdown in the second quarter to give the Bulldogs a 14-7 lead, which would be the margin at halftime. But it could have been much greater for the Bulldogs.
Quinton Winston picked off Adams and had a 93-yard touchdown return shortened to 43 yards for a block in the back penalty. After Warren’s rushing touchdown, a potential special teams touchdown for the Bulldogs was thwarted because of an inadvertent whistle, when Warren fielded a punt that bounced White Hall’s way and was headed into the end zone untouched. But by rule, according to the officials, the down had to be replayed because of the whistle.
Warren threw an interception three plays later, but White Hall dodged a bullet by stopping Forrest City on downs at its own 12 with 22 seconds left before halftime.
White Hall also had two long drives stopped short in the first half. Running back Irvin Tisdale lost a fumble at the Forrest City 13 that snapped a 62-yard drive, and then Arkansas verbal commit Tevin Beanum, Forrest City’s standout defensive end, stopped Edgerson for a 2-yard loss on fourth-and-short at the Mustangs’ 10.
The Bulldogs took a little more command early in the fourth quarter when Warren scampered seven yards to put his team up 21-7. But Forrest City’s Richard Temple would keep it close, returning the following kickoff 90 yards for a score. Austin Berry blocked the extra-point attempt.
Justin Lantrip blocked a Forrest City punt and the ball was recovered at the Mustangs’ 8, setting up Irvin Tisdale’s TD run the next play with 7:05 left. The Mustangs pulled within 28-19 the next series on a 10-yard run by Davieon Parchman, but things spiraled a little out of control for the visitors from there.
When White Hall recovered an onside kick, Forrest City was slapped with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty. But something drew the ire of Mustangs coach Rich Trail, and he was flagged twice after storming onto the middle of the field, moving the ball 45 yards to the Mustangs’ 25 for the Bulldogs’ next series.
Warren finished that drive with an 11-yard scoring pass to Stewart.