BEEBE -- The White Hall Bulldogs beat the Beebe Badgers 28-21 while playing tenacious defense and running the football with a purpose.
Jayden Smith set the tone with some big runs early, and everything else fell into place for White Hall (3-1, 2-0 in 5A-Central) after that. He ended up with 250 yards and 3 touchdowns on 23 carries.
The Bulldogs played tremendous defense on the Badgers (2-2, 0-2), holding them to under 6 completions on over 25 passing attempts between quarterbacks Braydon Sanders and Mason Harbin. Even though the score looked close, the game was never in doubt for White Hall with Beebe's last touchdown coming as time expired.
Despite the victory, White Hall had two touchdowns called back due to penalties, one being a pick-6 by Kyen Weston and the other being a 60-yard touchdown pass brought in by Jayden Smith called back due to offensive pass interference. There was also a fumble recovery for the Bulldogs on their own 1-yard line that was called back due to a roughing-the-passer call.
Even while up 28-14 late in the fourth, the Bulldogs gave up an onside kick. Luckily for them, Beebe didn't have enough time to get two more scores.
THE GAME CHANGED WHEN ...
Beebe fumbled the ball on a punt return with 5 minutes left in the third quarter.
It seemed like they had all the momentum, leading White Hall to commit multiple penalties and even wipe a touchdown off the board to make it fourth and 44 after an offensive pass interference call. They were set to receive the ball down 7-0 at the 40-yard line, but instead fumbled the ball.
White Hall capitalized on this mistake and Jayden Smith broke off for a 32-yard touchdown a few plays after. White Hall ran the ball with ease and cruised to victory after the touchdown gave them some much needed breathing room.
THE GAME BALL GOES TO ...
Jayden Smith. The White Hall running back had himself a game, with a few runs over 25 yards and several over 15 yards and 3 touchdowns and 261 yards total running and catching. He also almost scored a miraculous touchdown to end the half on a physical 50-yard run en route to his huge day.
Two of his touchdowns came on runs over 30 yards.
Weston intercepted a pass and stripped the ball from a running back at the 1-yard line, even though it was called back.
White Hall will face Mills University Studies on the road at 7 p.m. next Friday. Beebe will face Morrilton on the road at the same time.