PEA RIDGE -- Dakota Winn extended his right arm and batted the football away from a Shiloh Christian receiver in the end zone.
It didn't matter that Pea Ridge led 32-6 at the time. It didn't matter that it was just a two-point pass attempt. It didn't matter that there were just 2 minutes, 43 seconds left in the game. That play exemplified how thoroughly Pea Ridge dominated Friday's game from start to finish.
How They Scored
Pea Ridge 32, Shiloh Christian 6
Pea — Caudill 46 pass from Brumley (kick fails), 8:55
Pea — Brumley 80 interception return (pass fails), 3:00
Pea — Ivy 60 run (pass fails), 4:04
Pea — Ivy 2 run (Edwards kick), 11:33
Pea — Ivy 10 run (Edwards kick), 6:02
Shiloh — Solomon 5 pass from Reece (pass fails), 2:43
The Blackhawks dominated every phase of this 4A-1 Conference title game and completed the first 10-0 regular season in school history with its 32-6 win in Blackhawks Stadium in front of a packed house that started arriving two hours early.
"We've looked forward to this all year," Winn said. "We've been rivals since the fourth grade and I wanted to play hard the whole game. Coach was on me all night saying the fourth quarter is where we'll win the game."
Pea Ridge (10-0, 7-0 4A-1) won the game with a stifling defense that forced three Shiloh Christian turnovers, including an 80-yard interception return for a touchdown by Seth Brumley. The Blackhawks turned away the Saints (7-3, 6-1) time and again, and usually it was Winn delivering the key play.
"The defense was outstanding tonight. It's played good all year long," Pea Ridge coach Tony Travis said. "Everybody wants to talk about offense and deservedly so, but our defense has been steady all year long and they came through big for us tonight."
Pea Ridge led 12-0 at half after scoring on its opening drive, and Brumley's huge interception return. But Winn helped preserve the shutout with two key plays, both to prevent touchdowns. The first came on a pass breakup after the Saints reached the Blackhawks 6 in the first quarter, and the second came after Shiloh Christian drove from its own 14 to the Pea Ridge 31 to open the second half. On fourth-and-five, Saints quarterback Connor Reece appeared to have Adler Goode open in the end zone, but Winn raced over to bat the pass away.
Three plays later Shane Ivy broke loose on a 60-yard touchdown run to put the Blackhawks up 18-0.
"I didn't feel like we ever had any of the momentum," said Shiloh Christian coach Jeff Conaway. "I just didn't feel like we could ever get anything going. We were chipping away, but we never really broke anything, never really got into a rhythm."
Pea Ridge added two more scores following Ivy's long run to secure the conference title, a bye next week for the first round of the Class 4A playoffs, and home-field throughout the playoffs.
"This is huge," said Brumley, who finished the game 4-of-7 for 107 yards passing. "We haven't won a conference championship since 1994. A perfect season ... this is just great."
• The Saints lost two key players to injury during the game. Kyle Freeman injured his knee, and Goode suffered a shoulder injury. Conaway did not know the extent of the injuries after the game.
• Ivy finished the game with 183 yards on 33 carries.
• Shiloh Christian sophomore John-Marcus Carruthers rushed for 90 yards on 21 carries.
Up Next: The Saints will host a first-round playoff game next week against Jonesboro Westside.
Sports on 11/08/2014
Print Headline: Blackhawks Lock Down 4A-1 Title