Football: Bentonville message to West: 'Not in our house'

Posted: November 4, 2017 at 5:50 a.m.

BENTONVILLE -- With the clock winding down, senior Dwight Crawford grabbed the pole holding a Bentonville flag with the Tiger logo on it and wouldn't let go as he ran onto the field.

He didn't let go while shaking hands with players from the opposing team and he grasped the pole even tighter when a teammate tried to pry it away.

This night was special, culminating in a 37-28 victory that earned Bentonville High the 7A-West Conference championship while handing rival Bentonville West its first defeat of the season.

"We showed we wouldn't let them come in and take over our house," said Crawford, who had a pass breakup that led to an interception. "Everybody got on the same page and we got focused. That's how we won the championship."

Bentonville (8-2, 7-0) won the league championship after starting 1-2 on the season. The Tigers held West (9-1, 6-1) scoreless in the second half and added a safety after the game was tied 28-28 at halftime.

BIZZARO WORLD

It was Bizzaro World at Tiger Stadium Friday, straight out of a Seinfeld episode where the norm is strangely inverted.

Bentonville West was the home team Friday, which meant fans of the Wolverines got to sit in the chairback seats on the west side while Bentonville High fans were moved to the bleachers on the east side.

West honored its seniors before the game and Bentonville High fans watched a long procession of students and parents walk onto the field and leave under an arch lined with balloons of the West school colors.

The Tigers were supposed to dress in the visitors' locker room but they instead got off the bus after dressing at the soccer field on campus.

Normalcy will return next season when West will have its own stadium after sharing Tiger Stadium with Bentonville High for two years. The Bentonville School Board recently approved financing for the $3.7 million project for completion of the stadium in Centerton.

MESSAGE MASTERS

Signs, signs, everywhere the signs.

The students at Bentonville High and Bentonville West hung up some creative signs along the fences at Tiger Stadium.

One sign on the Bentonville side read "Hey, West time to pucker up and kiss your winning streak good-bye." Another sign read "Wolverines are just very large weasels."

The West students countered with a sign that read "Your field, your school, our game."

FULL HOUSE

Friday's game drew an overflow crowd as expected for the second meeting between two Bentonville teams fighting for the conference championship.

Even the extra bleachers that were brought in early last week were filled and some fans sat in plastic chairs on the north end of the stadium next to the Bentonville band.

The stadium began to fill up quickly after the gates opened at 5:30 p.m. and long lines at the concession stands formed an hour before the game.

CLOSE KICK

Bentonville kicked off at the West 30-yard line in the second quarter following two unsportsmanlike penalties on the West defense and one on the West sidelines.

Bentonville used the field position to try an onside kick but West recovered and took over at its 16.

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Kam'ron Mays-Hunt scored two touchdowns on an 18-yard pass catch and a 98-yard kickoff return.

PLAY OF THE GAME West had just tied the score when Kam'ron Mays-Hunt returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards to give the Tigers a 28-21 lead.

ONSIDE KICKS

Both teams receive a first-round bye in the state playoffs that begin next week. ... Bentonville advanced last year to the state semifinals, where the Tigers lost to Fayetteville, 46-21, for the second straight year. West made the playoffs with only three wins and were eliminated in the first round by Cabot, 64-34. ... Mays-Hunt caught a long pass on Bentonville's first play from scrimmage but the touchdown was called back because of a penalty. ... Tyrese Smallwood bounced off tacklers while moving laterally, then dove into the corner of the end zone to score on a 1-yard run for West on fourth down. ... Bentonville High honored its seniors last week during a victory over Rogers Heritage.

Sports on 11/04/2017