BENTONVILLE -- Kam'Ron Mays-Hunt is accustomed to making big plays on offense, but it was his defensive heroics Bentonville needed Friday night.
The senior saw Springdale Har-Ber quarterback Grant Allen fumble, and he fell on the loose ball with 1:23 remaining to preserve the Tigers' 24-21 victory over the top-ranked Wildcats during 7A-West Conference action at Tiger Stadium.
"I just tried to play defense and make big plays over there," Mays-Hunt said. "I thought I was going to get a pick on the play, then I saw the ball and said, 'Heck yeah. I'm diving on it.' I dove on it, and it almost came out. I kept it, and I had to clinch the ball for my life."
Bentonville's defense stiffened over the last three quarters after it was burned by a pair of long passes that led to Har-Ber (5-1, 2-1) taking a 14-0 lead. The Tigers had three interceptions, including one by Mays-Hunt to start the fourth quarter deep in Bentonville territory, as well as the fumble recovery.
Allen's 13-yard touchdown pass to Payton Copher pulled Har-Ber within 24-21 with 4:07 remaining, and Har-Ber eventually forced Bentonville to punt the ball away with 1:39 remaining. Allen started the drive with a 12-yard pass to Copher to the Wildcats 44, but he was forced to scramble on the ensuing play and lost the ball.
"Bentonville did a heck of a job and executed well," Har-Ber Coach Chris Wood said. "They won the line of scrimmage, and we had too many turnovers. There were too many mistakes in a game like this, but hat's off to Bentonville.
"We had the ball and had an opportunity there at the end. We'll grow from it and move on."
Bentonville quarterback Nathan Lyons pulled Bentonville (4-2, 3-0) into a 14-14 tie by halftime. The senior capped a 16-play, 80-yard drive when he scored from 2 yards out after he had bobbled the snap on a fourth-down play. He later hit Dylan Smith with a 15-yard touchdown pass with 1:05 before halftime.
The Tigers took the lead for good on their opening possession of the second half when they settled for Sam Younger's 26-yard field goal with 8:27 left in the third quarter. A 44-yard punt return by Harrison Campbell allowed Bentonville to start its next drive at the Har-Ber 17, and the Tigers scored four plays later on a 1-yard run by Easton Miller, who finished with 29 carries for 134 yards.
"I'm proud of our running back and our offensive line," Bentonville Coach Jody Grant said. "How about our quarterback and his toughness and his ability to make plays on big downs?
"We asked a lot out of our quarterback, and he answered. I'm proud of the way he played, and he had some big-time throws and catches. That secondary is as good as there is in... Click here to read full article
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette