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story.lead_photo.caption Rogers Mountaineers Senior Aron Rendon (4) leaps over Springdale Bulldogs Junior Davon Sparks (1) Friday, October 16, 2020, at Whitey Smith Stadium, Rogers, Arkansas (Special to NWA Democrat-Gazette/Brent Soule)

ROGERS -- Rogers High School used a potent offense to repeatedly fend off potential second-half threats from Springdale High School on Friday to earn a 44-34 homecoming win.

After Rogers (4-1, 1-1 7A-West) missed three weeks due to covid-19 cancellations and lost a close overtime game to Bentonville last week, Rogers coach Mike Loyd called the victory over Springdale (2-5, 1-3) "huge" for his team.

"(It's huge) anytime you win a homecoming game, anytime you win a district game," Loyd said. "You're happy for the players. Last week, we got beat in overtime, and we had chances to win that. I'm proud of our kids, proud of their effort. ... Got to shore some things up on defense and line up right."

Loyd had nothing but praise for senior quarterback Christian Francisco. His performance included five touchdown passes, capped off by a final pass to Kade Seldomridge with about five minutes left.

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"He's a winner," Loyd said. "He just gets things done with his feet. ... He's the one that called that last touchdown. That was his play. He sees the field well and leads well, and he leads by example. He's a winner."

Rogers got its show going early, marching 80 yards in five plays on its first drive before senior running back Aron Rendon punched the ball into the end zone from inside the 5.

Two drives later, Rogers marched from its 36 down to the Springdale 11.

On fourth-and-3 from there, Francisco found junior tight end Joel Garner in the end zone, as he held onto the ball while being tackled for the Mounties' second score. They led 14-0 with 2 minutes, 47 seconds left in the first quarter.

Springdale didn't earn its first defensive stop until four minutes unto the second quarter. After the Rogers punt pinned them on the one, the Bulldogs marched 99 yards for their first touchdown and only score of the first half.

The 27 second-half points scored by the Bulldogs included two scoring drives off just two plays. But it wasn't enough to get within striking distance of Rogers.

"They (Rogers) do a good job giving it to everybody," Springdale coach Zak Clark said. "Had we been able to get them stopped and cut it to one score it would have been really interesting.

It was the third consecutive loss for Springdale.

"We'll start winning when we go out and earn it," Clark said. "We play really hard on Friday, but we got to earn it during the week. That starts on Monday with practice."

FOUR DOWNS

• The offensive highlight of Springdale's night was a 68-yard touchdown pass from Landon Phipps to Tajon Sparks with less than two minutes left in the third quarter.

• Springdale got a special teams highlight in the first quarter when it blocked a Rogers field goal attempt from inside the 20 and recovered at its own 22.

• Rogers running back Aron Rendon needed help walking off the field with a leg injury midway through the fourth quarter and didn't return.

• Next Week: Springdale will again be on the road, visiting Fayetteville. Rogers will be a visitor at Bentonville.

photo
Rogers Mountaineers Senior Christian Francisco (1) scrambles out of the pocket in the game against the Springdale Bulldogs Friday, October 16, 2020, at Whitey Smith Stadium, Rogers, Arkansas (Special to NWA Democrat-Gazette/Brent Soule)

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