FAYETTEVILLE -- Cemari Dobbins went from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs in a matter of minutes late in Fayetteville's 34-28 win against Springdale Har-Ber at Harmon Field on Friday.
The Bulldogs senior cornerback was burned for an 80-yard touchdown pass from Grant Allen to Matt Thomas that evened the score at 28-28 with 10 minutes, 11 seconds remaining in regulation. He came to the sideline slapping his chest with his right hand.
FAYETTEVILLE 34, SPRINGDALE HAR-BER 28
Fay — Bowers 1 run (Richardson kick), 5:16
Har — Allen 1 run (Zizumbo punt), 11:17
Fay — Morgan 58 pass from Bowers (Richardson kick), 4:12
Fay — Gray 6 pass from Bowers (Richardson kick), :40.6
Har — Cook 14 fumble (Allen run), 11:14
Fay — Mulinga 80 pass from Bowers (Richardson kick), 10:58
Har — Copher 24 run (Zizumbo kick), 5:54
Har — Thomas 80 pass from Allen (Zizumbo kick), 10:11
Fay — White 18 run (kick failed), 5:23
"That play was on me," Dobbins said.
Dobbins redeemed himself two Wildcats' possessions later by intercepting a deep pass from Allen, who overthrew Nick Parchman with 2:42 remaining. That, along with a read option keeper by quarterback Darius Bowers for a first down, sealed a third consecutive victory for Fayetteville (4-4, 3-2 7A-West).
"I knew I had to bounce back for my team," Dobbins said. "I saw (Parchman) running the post, but I saw the ball come out more like (Allen) was throwing a fade, so I just tracked the ball and caught it."
The rematch of the 2015 state title game lived up to its billing with high-tempo offenses and big defensive plays by both teams throughout. Bowers matched his season interception total with two, but completed 20 of 35 passes for 343 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for the game's first score and the Bulldogs never trailed.
The Wildcats (5-3, 2-3) have lost three straight games and haven't won at Harmon Field since the shootout of 2010. They trailed 21-6 at halftime but rallied back behind its defense (Bryton Cook had an interception and returned a fumble for a touchdown) and the running of Payton Copher, who finished with 109 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries in his first full game back from a shoulder injury.
"It was hard-fought and I thought both teams were pretty resilient," said Har-Ber coach Chris Wood. "We kept coming back and answering each other's scores and we came up on the short end with two offensive turnovers on the last two possessions."
Fayetteville's Kris Mulinga had nine receptions for 214 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown when he went up and over Har-Ber defender Tevin Eckwood for a catch before high-stepping out of tacklers on hsi way to the end zone. Jackson White scored what proved to be the winning touchdown when he burst up the middle for 18 yards with 5:23 remaining in regulation.
But the Bulldogs' defense was the difference. Kaden Martindale, Dotson Schaefer and Keondre Conley combined for six sacks in the first half. Conley and Martindale each had a fumble recovery and Will Litzinger had an interception. Martindale also blocked a punt that set up a 58-yard touchdown pass from Bowers to Frank Martin.
"We're going to enjoy this one," said Fayetteville coach Billy Dawson. "It's been an eight-game fight for us and to see it culminate and get to this point, this is a really big win for us. We've had four games just like this and we've came out on the other end of it.
"We did everything we could do offensively, but our defense is the reason we're standing here today."
Sports on 10/21/2017
Print Headline: 'Dogs, Dobbins down Wildcats