SPRINGDALE -- Fayetteville quarterback Taylor Powell completed 19 of 23 first-half passes for 296 yards and 5 touchdowns in a 56-7 victory over Springdale on Friday night.Gallery: Fayetteville vs Springdale
Fayetteville quarterback Taylor Powell threw for 296 yards and five touchdowns in the first half to carry the Bulldogs, ranked No. 2 in Class 7A by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, past Springdale 56-7 for their fifth victory in a row.
Fayetteville’s Nate Nolen tries to get around a Springdale defender in 7A-West Conference action. Nolen and the Bulldogs cruised past their longtime rivals 56-7.
"I thought it was important for us to follow up an important win last week and come out and not have a letdown," Fayetteville Coach Bill Blankenship said. "We operated hitting on all pistons. We just want to keep getting better. We think it's right to be trying to peak for the playoffs."
Powell led Fayetteville (8-1, 5-1 7A-west) to touchdowns on all four first-quarter possessions and on six of eight drives in the first half. The senior's lone hiccup came in the second quarter as Springdale's Jayden Minchew jumped a route and came away with an interception.
"It was a big win. We came out sharp and executed pretty well," said Powell, who is now two shy of tying former Fayetteville quarterback Brandon Allen's Class 7A state record of 98 career touchdown passes. "Some plays we could have done better on, but I'm really proud of our guys."
Powell, who has committed to play at Wake Forest, scored on a 10-yard run on an option read to put Fayetteville up 28-0 near the end of the first quarter. Senior receiver Barrett Banister had 10 catches for 141 yards and 2 touchdowns in the first half. Neither saw the field after halftime.
"Barrett is Barrett. He's always reliable," Powell said. "He's my safety blanket and one of my go-to guys. All of our guys are great. ... It's a great win."
After pitching a shutout last week at Springdale Har-Ber, the Fayetteville defense forced four turnovers. Junior defensive back Frank Morgan had two interceptions in the second half.
Fayetteville's Andrew Ellis scored his third defensive/special teams touchdown of the season off Will Litzinger's blocked punt. Ellis scooped up the loose football and returned it 26 yards to set the halftime score at 49-7.
For the game, Fayetteville held Springdale to 27 yards rushing on 18 carries.
"I love what we're doing [on defense]. We're becoming more dominant," Blankenship said, "and making it really tough on [opponents]."
Fayetteville backup quarterback Darius Bowers tacked on a 1-yard touchdown run to finish the third quarter. Receiver Cody Gray also caught two touchdown passes and finished with four receptions for 93 yards.
Powell now has an opportunity to break Allen's record against Van Buren next week.
"It means a little because I know Brandon, I know Austin. They're good guys," Powell said, referring to Brandon, now with the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars, and Austin, now Arkansas' starter. "But right now I'm not focused on that. ... I'm just focused on football. The records and stats will take care of themselves."
Friday was Senior Night for Springdale, who honored 11 seniors before the game, as well as Kyler Williams' family beforehand. Williams, a senior wide receiver, died in a car accident Sept. 24.
"He meant so much to this program," Springdale Coach Zak Clark said. "The least we could do was have his family represented."
Springdale, which was led by Alex Thompson's 112 yards on seven catches, will play for playoff seeding next week at Rogers in the regular-season finale.
Sports on 10/29/2016
Print Headline: Powell nears 7A mark with 5 TDs