For a team known nationally for never punting and rarely kicking extra points, it was a field goal that carried Pulaski Academy to its 20th consecutive victory Friday night.
Senior quarterback Layne Hatcher kicked a 20-yard field goal as time expired as the No. 4-ranked Bruins held on to beat Little Rock Parkview 43-40 at War Memorial Stadium.
"Had no doubt in my mind that he'd hit it," Pulaski Academy Coach Kevin Kelley said of Hatcher. "He's kicked forever and ever. I really wasn't worried about him hitting it.
"I just wanted to get it close enough to where it's just like an extra point, and he'll make those 99.9 percent of the time."
The last time the Bruins (8-0, 5-0 5A-Central) made a field goal was when Will Hastings hit a 23-yarder in the fourth quarter of Pulaski Academy's 38-28 victory over Wynne during the 2014 Class 5A state championship game.
Hatcher had to wait through a timeout and three encroachment penalties on Parkview before even attempting the kick. Once he did, the ball sailed down the middle of the goal posts, prompting a wild celebration on the Bruins' sideline.
The kick also capped a huge night offensively for Hatcher, who completed 37 of 60 passes for 465 yards and 5 touchdowns with 3 interceptions. Senior wide receiver Tra Johnson had 15 catches for 135 yards and 4 touchdowns for the Bruins, who finished with 540 yards of offense and won their 53rd consecutive conference game. Senior wide receiver Brett Lynch had 8 catches for 148 yards and 1 touchdown.
But Parkview (4-4, 3-2) made things tough on a Pulaski Academy team that had won all of its games this season and 17 of its past 19 by at least 28 points.
The Patriots used a three-man rush and dropped eight in coverage for most of the game. Parkview, which forced five turnovers, also used the running of junior quarterback Geary Allman, who finished with 140 yards and 4 touchdowns on the ground, to sustain long drives. That limited the Bruins' possessions and shortened the game.
"I'm not into moral victories, but I'm so proud of these guys," Parkview Coach Brad Bolding said. "We wanted to use that clock and play sound on defense. We made some mistakes there in the second half, but overall, I can't be disappointed.
"I'm all about playing hard and getting better, and I thought we did both [Friday]."
Senior Trevon Hadley added 90 yards rushing and two touchdowns for Parkview.
The Patriots trailed 16-14 at halftime but took a 21-16 lead on a 22-yard touchdown run from Allman with 7:20 left in the third quarter. The Bruins answered on Hatcher's 33-yard touchdown pass to Johnson.
The teams traded scores over the next five possessions, with Johnson hauling in a 10-yard score with 10:30 left in the game to give Pulaski Academy a 40-34 lead.
Parkview regained the lead three series later after holding the Bruins on downs at their own 22. Allman scored on a 1-yard run with 1:57 left, but the extra-point attempt was blocked.
Hatcher responded by driving the Bruins 69 yards in 11 plays before connecting on his game-winner.
"Hats off to Coach Bolding because they had a great game plan," Kelley said. "They recovered every onside kick and kept drives going with big plays. But overall, we're excited just to get out of here with another win. And it's good for us that it was a close game."
Sports on 10/21/2017