After being down 24 points and climbing back to within five, the White Hall Bulldogs fell to the Little Rock Parkview Patriots 38-26 Friday night.
A highly anticipated 5A Central matchup that will play a big part in playoff positioning turned out to be a close game after it seemed that Parkview would steamroll their way to a victory.
Both defenses traded stops on 4th and short to force turnovers on downs near mid-field to open the game.
When Parkview got the ball back, they looked to keep it on the ground as much as they could, using back up quarterback Geary Allmon for the majority of the night. That wasn’t what they’ve put on film, White Hall Head Coach Mike Vaughn said.
Vaughn also emphasized that turnovers played a part in the Patriots being able to jump out and build a 24-point lead.
“I thought our defense played well,” Vaughn said. “We put them in bad situations on offense by giving them great field position off of turnovers. When you have three turnovers in a game like this, it’s a major difference. They did some things on offense that they haven’t done all year. They used No. 3 (Allmon) a lot more which was wise on their part.”
After Parkview running back Johnathan Campos broke off two big runs to put the Patriots on the White Hall three yard line, they used their starting quarterback Landon Roger’s 6’4 frame to sneak it into the end zone on third and goal.
On their second possession, Bulldogs quarterback Josh Looney tried to find wide-out Baylor Owen in triple coverage, but it was picked off and returned the White Hall eight yard line.
The Bulldogs' defense held Parkview to a field goal, but the offense would come back out and flop.
Parkview was putting pressure on White Hall’s quarterback with an edge blitz, and a strip sack that was recovered by White Hall on their own two yard line put them in a 3rd and 41 situation.
Allmon returned a punt down to the White Hall 37. On the first play of the second quarter, Allmon sprinted up the middle after a zone read for a 37-yard rushing touchdown.
White Hall’s struggles continued as the Parkview defense picked off Looney again with 10:46 to play in the first half. The Bulldogs' defense didn’t surrender any points on the ensuing drive by the Patriots after the interception, but another turnover by White Hall followed quickly.
Junior running back Donte Buckner fumbled, marking the third turnover of the first half for the Bulldogs.
Parkview kept the ball on the ground, and they utilized their bruiser back, Thomas ‘The Train’ Mccauley. Mccauley broke through the middle of the Bulldogs defense for a run that put them on the White Hall 24 yard line. Allmon capped the drive with a jump pass to Erin Outley to help put Parkview ahead 24-0.
The Bulldogs in the second half looked like a completely different team offensively, and it didn’t take long for White Hall to strike to open the third quarter. Looney connected with senior athlete Koby Drake for a 62-yard touchdown pass to put the Bulldogs on the board.
After a quick stop by the Bulldogs' defense, their offense kept things rolling. Buckner had his biggest run of the night up to that point to spark the drive, and Looney found Drake again for an 11-yard touchdown pass. White Hall went for two-point conversions after their first two scores but both failed, giving Parkview a 24-12 advantage.
The Patriots answered on the ensuing kickoff as Campos returned it across the 50 yard line. Mccauley punched it in from two yards out after the Patriots started the drive with a short field.
Heading into the fourth quarter, White Hall’s offense found their stride. They were positioned on the Parkview 24 yard line on 4th and 10. Vaughn’s decision to go for it paid off as Drake recorded his third touchdown of the game, this time connecting with a wide-open Baylor Owen for a 25-yard touchdown out of a reverse.
White Hall used an onside kick that they recovered at mid-field to make it a one-possession game as Looney threw his third touchdown pass of the night, finding Tre’don Marks in the left corner of the end zone to make the score 31-26 with seven minutes to play.
White Hall’s defense forced a punt to give their offense a chance with a little over three minutes to play, but Parkview got a break with a punt that was downed on the White Hall three yard line.
The Bulldogs weren’t able to pick up a first down after starting deep in their own territory, and they were forced to give the ball back to the Patriots on their own 11 yard line.
Parkview used the 6’4 Rogers to punch it in on third and goal on another quarterback sneak to put the game out of reach for White Hall.
After being down by 24 points early and fighting their way back, Vaughn said he saw what he already knew, that this team just won’t quit.
“They don’t quit, they play hard every down, all game long, and you can’t ask for much more than that,” Vaughn said.