Bulldogs leave nothing to chance

DE QUEEN—White Hall recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff in the end zone for a touchdown in coasting to a 48-6 win over the De Queen Leopards in 5A-South action at Leopard Stadium on Friday night.

“Our kids played well and played hard,” White Hall head coach Mike Vaughn said. “To start off like we did … you got to give them a lot of credit. Effort is something we talked about all week long and I thought they gave a good effort tonight.”

White Hall (8-2, 5-2 5A-South) did not overlook winless De Queen (0-10, 0-7) while setting the tempo from the opening kickoff when Issac Nelson recovered the fumble to give the Bulldogs a 6-0 lead. Throughout the night, the Bulldogs controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, including forcing three turnovers on defense and controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball as the Leopards could never respond.

White Hall found the end zone on offense for the first time on the night when junior running back Kendrick Edgerson scored on a 10-yard run to put the Bulldogs in front 13-0. After an interception by Nelson, the Bulldogs’ offense set up at the De Queen 41-yard line with 4:47 left in the first. The Bulldogs needed just four plays to punch it in when junior quarterback Kirk Baugh took a quarterback keeper to the left and scurried into the end zone for a 20-yard TD run. The PAT by Joseph Failla made it 20-0.

The Bulldogs forced another punt and scored two plays later when Edgerson found the end zone again for a 4-yard TD run, giving the Bulldogs a 27-0 lead. Edgerson would finish the night with only seven carries for five yards and two TDs, leaving midway through the second quarter with an apparent injury. Vaughn alluded to the injury after the game, saying it’s imperative to get healthy before playoffs.

“We hope everything is okay as far as injuries,” Vaughn said. “That’s one thing we have to work with when we get home. We have to check with a few guys who got hurt. That’s a major concern right now.”

With 1:53 left in the first quarter, Dylan Cantwell recovered a De Queen fumble deep in Leopards territory. White Hall scored two plays later when Baugh connected with Kaseem Smith for a 23-yard TD to put the Bulldogs up 34-0 after Failla added the PAT. Baugh finished the night 8-of-11 with 119 yards and one TD while Smith finished with two catches for 36 yards and a TD.

Junior Courtney Anderson added TD runs of 16 and 43 yards to give the Bulldogs a 48-0 lead at halftime while inducing the sportsmanship rule the rest of the game. Anderson finished the night with three carries for 69 yards and two TDs. De Queen’s lone touchdown of the night came with 5:28 left in the game when Kobie Whitmore caught a TD catch from Brady Hanney. The PAT failed giving the game its final score.

With Camden Fairview’s 28-14 win over Watson Chapel on Friday night, the Bulldogs finish the regular season as the No. 3 seed and will head to Little Rock Mills their first-round 5A playoff game against the Central runner-up. Mills earned the No. 2 seed by beating Helena-West Helena Central 20-13.