ROGERS -- Fayetteville's offense struck quickly and the defense stopped a Rogers Heritage rushing attack cold as the Purple Bulldogs jumped to a big lead and cruised to a 35-14 road win Friday night at Gates Stadium.
Senior Cody Gray returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown on Fayetteville's first possession, then added two more touchdown catches from quarterback Darius Bowers as the Purple'Dogs led 21-0 with 3 minutes, 31 seconds left in the first quarter.
Fayetteville 35, Rogers Heritage 14
Fay — Gray 65 punt return (Richardson kick), 9:14.
Fay — Malinga 26 pass from Bowers (Richardson kick), 6:00.
Fay — Gray 13 pass from Bowers (Richardson kick), 3:31.
Fay — Gray 3 pass from Bowers (Richardson kick), 9:01.
Fay — Flannigan 19 run (Richardson kick), 0:11.
Herit — Gall 10 pass from Brown (Arrue kick), 3:17.
Herit — Brown recovers fumble in end zone (Arrue kick), 10:49.
Fayetteville coach Billy Dawson said his team has consistently gotten better each week, despite a 1-4 start. But the Purple Bulldogs have combined for 87 points in winning the last two weeks. There's no substitute for that, Dawson said.
"These kids work really hard and there's nothing like winning," Dawson said. "I don't care how good you play or how hard you play. There's nothing like the feeling of winning.
"To come out the last two weeks and scoring 80 points and defensively playing really well. I'm really proud of our kids."
Fayetteville (3-4, 2-2 7A-West) used only six offensive plays to grab the early lead as Bowers found Gray and Kris Malinga often. The Purple'Dogs mixed in a little running game in a 13-play, 75-yard scoring drive, but it also culminated with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Bowers to Gray on third-and-goal.
Bowers went 19 of 22 for 165 yards through the air with three touchdowns in the first half as Fayetteville rolled up a 35-0 lead. The Purple'Dogs first team watched the second half from the sideline.
Dawson likes the way Bowers has progressed, too, this season. But he's not alone. Gray finished with seven catches for 59 yards and two touchdowns, along with the punt return for a score. Malinga added five catches for 60 yards and a touchdown.
Heritage (1-6, 1-3) came off back-to-back strong games running the ball, but Fayetteville gave War Eagles quarterback Trey Kitterman fits, sacking him five times in the first half. The War Eagles had minus-2 yards rushing at halftime and just 44 yards passing.
Heritage coach Tony Travis said his team didn't have the same fire it did a week ago in getting a win over Van Buren.
"Very reminiscent of a last year when we got a win, then the next week against Bentonville the same thing happened in the first half," Travis said. "We didn't play hungry. We've got to get that back. Just because we're playing the better teams in our conference doesn't mean we throw the towel in."
The War Eagles put together a seven-play, 64-yard scoring drive finished off with a 10-yard pass from Zach Brown to Zach Gall late in the third quarter. They added another score, taking advantage of a bad snap on a Fayetteville punt. Sophomore Griffin Brown recovered the fumble in the end zone for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter to set the final score.
Sports on 10/14/2017
Print Headline: Fayetteville rolls over Rogers Heritage