SPRINGDALE -- Zak Clark wiped away sweat, tears and more than a decade of futility as he was mobbed at midfield by his Springdale High players and most of the student body.
The Bulldogs football coach erased 11 consecutive seasons of losses to crosstown rival Springdale Har-Ber in Friday night's 43-42 win in Jarrell Williams Bulldog Stadium.
Springdale High 43, Springdale Har-Ber 42
Har-Ber 14 14 7 7 — 42
Springdale 6 15 7 15 — 43
Har — Wood 48 pass from Wittschen (Rodriguez kick), 6:43.
Spring — Simon 33 pass from Allen (Kick failed), 4:20.
Har — Burns 37 run (Rodriguez kick), 1:59.
Spring — Boyd 4 pass from Allen (Barroso kick), 9:50.
Har — Burns 53 run (Run good), 8:41.
Har — Burns 10 run (Rodriguez kick), 2:09.
Spring — Vaughan 19 pass from Allen (Allen pass to Cornelius), 1:01.
Spring — Cornelius 13 pass from Allen (Barroso kick), 8:28.
Har — Wood 15 pass from Wittschen (Rodriguez kick), 3:14.
Har — Burns 48 run (Rodriguez kick), 9:18.
Spring — Sikes 24 pass from Allen (Barroso kick), 2:38.
Spring — Sikes 14 pass from Allen (Allen pass to Cornelius), :09.
Not since the first year after the Springdale schools opened the second high school have the Bulldogs walked off the field with a win.
It wasn't easy, nor did it look like it was possible late in the fourth quarter.
"This is unbelievable," Clark said. "That's why you play every second and every snap. Certainly, it wasn't great at times, but we played great at times and at other times we didn't."
Springdale trailed by two touchdowns -- 42-28 -- with 9 minutes, 18 seconds left in the game when Har-Ber junior Jay Burns scored his fourth touchdown of the game to go along with 329 yards rushing on a 48-yard burst through the Bulldogs' defense.
Then the Bulldogs found a way to finally contain the electric junior back when it counted the most.
With just over four minutes left, Springdale (5-1, 2-1 7A-West) drove 94 yards in 10 plays with senior quarterback Grant Allen hitting 7 of 10 passes on the drive, including the 24-yard strike to Connor Sikes to pull the Bulldogs within 42-35 with 2:38 left.
Springdale attempted an onside kick, but Har-Ber's Reid Tatom fought for the recovery near midfield. In the scrum to get the ball, Har-Ber (3-3, 1-2) was flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, then the Wildcats were flagged twice for false starts. The loss in field position proved to be huge.
The Bulldogs forced a Har-Ber punt, and Brock Pounders returned the kick to the Springdale 43 with 1:09 left in the game. Allen coolly led the team down the field inside the Har-Ber 25 after a 20-yard dart to Martre Simon with 34 seconds left and no time outs remaining.
On first down, Allen's pass in the end zone was nearly picked off, but he scrambled for 11 yards on second down to the 13. On the next play, Allen found Sikes in the right corner of the end zone with 9 seconds left, pulling Springdale within 42-41.
Allen said there was never any doubt the Bulldogs were going for two points and the win.
"In the fourth quarter, coach (Bryant) Davis came up and said 'we're going to score and get the ball back and score again and go for two and win the game,'" Allen said.
"No, there was no doubt, none," Clark said about the decision to go for the win rather than the tie and force overtime. "When you come back like that. We had a play ready. We told the guys in the huddle when Brock returned the punt, so we knew what play we were going to."
Sometimes even the best-laid plans go awry, and this one did not develop as planned when Allen took the snap.
"The play was designed to be a dig in the back of the end zone," Allen said. "But (Hunter) Wood covered it up, so I just tried to keep the play alive and Jaden (Cornelius) was wide open and made a great catch."
The final seconds ticked off the clock on the ensuing kickoff as Har-Ber tried a star-burst play and multiple laterals before the ball was finally recovered, sending Springdale students flying over the railing around the field.
"We didn't act right and we'll get better at that, but golly these guys were four years old the last time this school beat Har-Ber," Clark said. "It's a big deal. It's a big deal for everybody and I'm just lucky and fortunate enough to be here when it happened."
Har-Ber coach Chris Wood, the only head coach the Wildcats have had after serving as an assistant coach at Springdale prior to the split, said he was proud of both teams.
"I thought this was a great high school football game," Wood said. "Both teams left it all on the field. This was a back and forth tussle and in the end, they found a way to make some plays."
Jaden Cornelius of Springdale joins in the celebration after Springdale defeated Springdale Har-Ber 43-42 Friday, Oct. 5, 2018, at Jarrell Williams Bulldog Stadium in Springdale. Cornelius caught a pass to score a two-point conversion and take the lead with only 9 seconds remaining in the game.
Springdale Har-Ber tight end Errington McRae (44) fends off Springdale’s Jajuan Boyd in the first quarter Friday at Jarrell Williams Bulldog Stadium in Springdale. Springdale won 43-42.
Sports on 10/06/2018
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