White Hall and Watson Chapel seem to have a penchant for scoring plenty of points, but neither head coach expected 89 points combined their teams’ head-to-head battle Friday night at Bulldog Stadium.
“If I did, I’d have nightmares,” White Hall coach Mike Vaughn said after the 48-41 victory, the Bulldogs’ second straight over the Wildcats. “I thought we could hold them, but I knew it could happen. We knew we had to score points, but not that many.”
Both teams eclipsed their season points-per-game averages and almost combined for 900 total yards. White Hall came away with exactly 500 yards.
“High-school football, these days, it gets like that,” Watson Chapel coach George Shelton said of the points. “We certainly have to tip our hat to White Hall. They did a great job and made very few mistakes.”
Luckily for the Bulldogs (5-1, 3-1 in 5A-South) there were some defensive stands to hold off the Wildcats. After White Hall padded its lead to 48-41 on a 60-yard touchdown run by Irvin Tisdale, Watson Chapel turned the ball over on downs on its next two series and Joseph Stewart ended the last Wildcats threat with an interception with about a minute to go.
“They made some critical defensive plays when they had to, and that’s what you have to do if you’re going to win a big ballgame,” Shelton said.
The pick was Stewart’s biggest play on a night in which he had two touchdown catches and a touchdown run.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game, but it was pretty exciting,” Stewart said “Terrance (Warren) threw some amazing passes. He’s the one who opened me up. If he had thrown it long or thrown it short, it wouldn’t have happened the way it did.”
Vaughn said this past week was the first time Stewart has been “100 percent” since an ankle injury at the start of the season.
The loss knocked Watson Chapel (5-2, 3-1) a game behind leader Camden Fairview in the 5A-South standings and gave White Hall control of second place. Watson Chapel and Camden Fairview will square off in the regular-season finale Nov. 2 in Camden.
Next on the marquee: Cardinals at Ricebirds
Now that Watson Chapel vs. White Hall is in the record books, No. 1 and No. 3 in Class 4A can take their rightful place on the marquee.
Top-ranked Stuttgart will host Dollarway in the most anticipated game of the 2-4A Conference season. Both teams are 7-0 and 4-0 in the league and Stuttgart is looking to avenge a 26-23 loss on its own field to Dollarway in last year’s 4A second-round playoff.
“It’s a big situation,” Dollarway coach Cortez Lee said. “It’s something we worked for the whole year. It basically came to life.”
But setting up the top-rank showdown was just part of the Cardinals’ motivation to win each game leading to this Friday, Lee said.
“We had it in the back of our minds, but we couldn’t look ahead,” Lee said. “With teams you’re not familiar with (in the 2-4A), it’s hard to get a gauge on them.”
Aside from the unbeaten records, Lee sees more similarities between his team and the Ricebirds, like run-oriented offenses and good size on the offensive and defensive lines.
“It’s kind of a mirror image,” Lee said.
Unhappy with shutout performance
Usually a coach is happy with his defense when it has a shutout performance.
In Pine Bluff’s 41-0 win over Little Rock Fair, the War Eagles were unable to get the ball to the red zone and did not advance the ball past the Zebras’ 35-yard line.
However, Pine Bluff coach Bobby Bolding was unhappy with the defense.
“They stunk it up (Friday),” he said. “No points were scored, and that’s about it.”
The War Eagles were able to move the ball into Zebras’ territory consistently, moving the ball across midfield five times.
Bolding did limit how much time some players would be on the field, though, to make sure everyone is healthy for Pine Bluff’s key 7A/6A-South Conference game against El Dorado this Friday.
“We tried to limit some guys and kept them on one side of the ball,” he said. “We got through the game and we are healthy.”