LITTLE ROCK — Shootout II between Fayetteville and Springdale Har-Ber ended up being more like the Cap Pistol Follies.
The Bulldogs avenged their only loss of the year Saturday night and came away with a surprisingly easy 28-7 win over the Wildcats for their fourth 7A State Championship under coach Daryl Patton.
This one ended up being easy due to Har-Ber’s generosity.
“Getting six turnovers was huge,” Patton said after the game. “The game was decided by turnovers.”
Fayetteville’s Joey Savin picked off five of Wildcats quarterback Fuller Chandler’s passes to become one of the rare times a defensive player named MVP in a title game.
In the first meeting between the two schools back on Oct. 16 when a furious Har-Ber comeback pushed them past the Bulldogs, 47-43. Fayetteville led 40-29 with less than 10 minutes to play.
The Bulldogs picked up their fourth state championship since 2007 and they have now won three of the last five.
Getting here before helped. It also gave them a shot of confidence they could avenge that October loss.
“Our kids have been here and knew what to expect,” Patton said later. “We practiced very well in the playoff run, especially this past week and felt like we were the better team and like we were going to win. Whether we were or not, we felt like we were going to win and that’s our kids’ confidence. They played really well.”
Fayetteville started turning Har-Ber’s errors into points early.
Savin intercepted a Chandler pass at the Wildcats’ 36 and got it all the way back to the 14. Three plays later, Taylor Powell hit an out pass to Drake Wymer in the end zone for a 12-yard score. Jun Fagg’s point-after made it 7-0 before Fayetteville’s offense snapped the ball.
Two possessions later, Har-Ber finally got untracked on offense with Luke Hannon rambling up the middle for 51 yards to the Fayetteville 7 before Kennedy Wade finally got him on the turf. On the next play, Tali Nasilai scored up the middle, Jesus Zimumbo added the extra point and it was tied, 7-7, with 5:12 left in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs got the lead for good in the second period when Luke Rapert ran up the middle for a 45-yard scoring jaunt with 8:52 left and Fagg kicked it to 14-7.
Then came a nightmare pair of series for Har-Ber with Chandler throwing a pair of interceptions, first to Savin at the Fayetteville 11, then a pass was picked off by Andrew Ellis at the Har-Ber 45.
The Bulldogs did nothing with either one of those turnovers and a 31-yard field goal attempt by Fagg as the first half ended sailed wide left of the uprights, leaving the Bulldogs on top, 14-7, at the half.
Late in the third quarter, Fayetteville’s offense got rolling with Powell completing passes of 13 yards to Barrett Banister, then 18 to Garland Allison. From there, Javonte Smith ripped off a pair of runs, first 18, then finally 19 around right end to put the Bulldogs on top 21-7 after Fagg’s point-after.
In the fourth quarter, Har-Ber drove inside the Fayetteville red zone again before a fumble at the Bulldogs’ 13 was recovered by Luke Waller all the way back at the 38.
Powell then completed a 24-yard pass to Wymer, then Smith scored from 31 yards out. Fagg’s extra point made it 28-7 with 5:09 to play.