Senior tailback Kendel Givens ran 11 times for 119 yards and 5 touchdowns, as defending state champion Little Rock Christian extended its school-record winning streak to 22 games, 42-14 over White Hall, in the semifinals of the Class 5A playoffs Friday night at Warrior Field.
Little Rock Christian (13-0) will face 5A-Central rival Pulaski Academy for the state championship Dec. 7 at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. Little Rock Christian beat Pulaski Academy in last year's championship game (52-38) and again Oct. 4 at Warrior Field (63-61), snapping the Bruins' 63-game conference winning streak.
White Hall, also a member of 5A-Central and the conference's No. 4 seed, had pushed Little Rock Christian in an Oct. 25 game at Warrior Field, before falling 28-16. But the rematch wasn't nearly as competitive. Little Rock Christian, the conference's No. 1 playoff seed, never trailed and quickly extended a 28-7 halftime lead to 42-7 on Givens' 50-yard run -- his fifth touchdown -- with 7:56 remaining in the third quarter.
"The margin of error gets lower and lower as you move on in the playoffs, so next week we're going to have to have a perfect game," Little Rock Christian Coach Eric Cohu said. "We're going to have to have a great game. But the offense did its job tonight. I felt like overall it was a pretty complete game, but we've got to turn the page and get ready for next week."
In less than 2 ½ quarters, Little Rock Christian's starting offense amassed 395 yards on 36 total plays.
Givens, 5-9, 220 pounds, also scored on runs of 1, 2 and 9 yards in the first half and 2 yards early in the third quarter. Senior quarterback Akeem Gilmore ran 7 times for 57 yards and a 1-yard touchdown early in the second quarter and completed 7 of 9 passes for 96 yards. Gilmore completed 3 of 3 passes for 54 yards on a four-play, 63-yard touchdown drive to close the first half (Givens covered the final 9 yards with 1:04 remaining in the second quarter).
On the first play from scrimmage in the second half, Gilmore ran 50 yards to the 11. Givens scored three plays later for a 35-7 lead with 10:41 remaining in the third quarter.
The Warriors limited senior tailback Donte Buckner to 63 rushing yards on 17 carries. Buckner entered with more than 1,700 yards this fall. The Bulldogs (8-5) finished with 184 total yards. Roughly one-third of that total came on a 58-yard pass completion that set up their only first-half touchdown, Buckner's 1-yard run, to make it 14-7 with 7:16 remaining in the second quarter.
"They're very well-coached," said first-year White Hall Coach Bobby Bolding, who fell one game short of taking a third school to a state championship game. "They're very good sportsmen. They're doing it right here, and they had better players than us on top of that."
Sophomore tailback Zaire Green scored White Hall's other touchdown on a 3-yard run with 3:46 remaining in the game.
Sports on 11/30/2019
Print Headline: LR Christian runs into final behind 5 TDs from Givens