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Bentonville West enjoys Homecoming rout against Little Rock Central

by Henry Apple | September 11, 2021 at 3:26 a.m.

CENTERTON -- Bentonville West enjoyed a little bit of everything in its homecoming game Friday night, including a running clock.

Sophomore quarterback Jake Casey threw for a pair of touchdown passes, and the special teams picked up a touchdown off a blocked punt in the first half as the Wolverines went on to post a 40-20 victory over Little Rock Central during the final nonconference game for both teams at Wolverine Stadium.

"We played really well early," West Coach Bryan Pratt said. "We felt really confident about the way we were coming in with our game plan. We just needed our kids to execute, and we needed some confidence. We got that in the first half.

"We came out in the third quarter and played well with our ones. Any time we sub in, it seems to not go too good when the other team leaves its starters in. Those young kids get some experience, and their parents get to see them. That's what it's all about."

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Only a pair of bad extra-point experiences kept West (2-1) from causing the entire second half to be played under the sportsmanship rule. Braden Jones and Dakota Gaines each had a short touchdown run while Casey threw touchdown passes of 46 yards to Ty Durham and 49 yards to Landon Grigg to help the Wolverines build a 33-0 halftime lead.

Instead, the running clock had to wait until Cole Edmondson's 6-yard touchdown run made it a 40-0 game with 8 minutes, 14 seconds left in the third quarter.

"We have to clean up some things with the missed PATs," Pratt said. "That running clock should have been going at the start of the third quarter."

While that part of the special teams play had mistakes, West continued to do good things when its defense forces the opponent to punt. The Wolverines -- who blocked a punt in its opener against Mansfield, Texas, and produced points off a bad punt snap against Muskogee, Okla. -- blocked two Central punts in the first half to extend their lead.

Jones, who scored West's first touchdown on a 5-yard run, made it into the Tigers backfield and blocked a Shaun Burks punt to start the second quarter, and that led to Gaines' 3-yard touchdown run a minute later. A bad snap late in the first half allowed Nick Bell to record the second blocked punt, and Josh Buxton returned the ball 12 yards for a touchdown with 2:39 before halftime for a 33-0 Wolverine cushion.

"The punter, he just was not prepared," Buxton said. "And our defense is always ready to go out there and give it their all. We work on that during practice every single day, and special teams is one of the things we specialize on and spend the most time on.

"Thanks to Coach Pratt because that's something we install every single week. He makes sure we commit on it."

Central (0-3) made the score more respectable as quarterback Nassir Donohoo kept the ball on a naked bootleg and scored on a 42-yard run, then Wesley Johnson added a 12-yard touchdown run to make it 40-13 after three quarters. The Tigers then added a 1-yard run by Adrian Bing to close out the scoring.

Both teams will have next week off before starting conference play with home games. Central will host North Little Rock in 7A-Central action, while West meets Fayetteville in a 7A-West showdown.

Print Headline: Bentonville West routs LR Central


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