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PEA RIDGE -- Drew Winn has carried the title of little brother over the course of his playing career at Pea Ridge.

His older siblings were stars for the Blackhawks, but folks around town said for years, "Just wait until the little one gets up there." Now it's Drew Winn's time, and the Pea Ridge senior is making the most of it.

Winn rushed for 314 yards and scored 4 touchdowns on just 20 carries, and Pea Ridge managed to answer every Gravette challenge in a 42-28 victory in 4A-1 Conference action Friday night.

Winn scored on runs of 62, 3, 4 and 80 yards, and Pea Ridge (6-0, 3-0 4A-1) needed every one of them to hold off Gravette (3-3, 1-2), which got a huge night from its own running back Austin O'Brien. The senior rushed for 283 yards and scored 2 rushing touchdowns and 1 receiving.

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"That running back [O'Brien] and that quarterback [Tajae White] are some really, really good players, and I'm glad we got a chance to play against them tonight because we're going to see some kids like that as we move along over the course of the season," Pea Ridge Coach Stephen Neal said.

No. 2 Pea Ridge jumped out to leads of 21-0 and 28-7 at halftime as the Blackhawks kept White and O'Brien in check in the first half. It was a different story in the second half as Gravette found huge running lanes, starting with the opening drive of the third quarter when O'Brien ripped off 65 yards on the fourth play of the series. Bailey Soule found the end zone with 9:56 left in the third quarter, cutting Pea Ridge's lead to 28-14.

After Gravette forced Pea Ridge into a three-and-out, the Lions got another big run from O'Brien, this time for 26 yards to near midfield. The next three plays resulted in two sacks and an incompletion. On fourth down, Gravette snapped a punt over the head of Chris Childress, and by the time Childress ran it down, he was at his own 1.

But the Blackhawks were penalized twice on the play, one for an illegal substitution and another for a sideline infraction. That kept Gravette's drive alive, and O'Brien was able to get a first down at the Pea Ridge 48. But the Blackhawks' defense again came up with key stops and forced a Gravette punt to end the threat.

"We adjusted to their formation a little better," Neal said. "We made sure our kids understood where they needed to be aligned and we fixed it."

Gravette Coach Bill Harrelson said that was a huge swing when it appeared his team was in position to really make it close.

"We had a chance, but we just couldn't capitalize on it," Harrelson said. "I could not be any prouder of how my kids fought and how they played, but we came up short again, and they're getting tired of hearing that, but hopefully it will pay off in the weeks to come."

Pea Ridge drove 82 yards after the stop to extend its lead to 35-14, then after Gravette scored on a perfectly executed hook and lateral for 46 yards, Winn exploded for an 80-yard touchdown to put the game away.

That sets up a big 4A-1 game at home next week against unbeaten Prairie Grove, which held off Shiloh Christian on Friday night to remain unbeaten.

Sports on 10/07/2017

Print Headline: Pea Ridge thrives on back of youngest Winn

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