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Fayetteville knocks off Bentonville for 7A state title

December 3, 2011
By Luke Matheson of 247 Preps

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.--In one of the most exciting state championship finishes in recent years, the Fayetteville Bulldogs utilized a two-point conversion in overtime to defeat the Bentonville Tigers 29-28 Saturday afternoon at War Memorial Stadium.

Despite striking first in the game, the Purple Dogs would need a big fourth quarter comeback to send the game into overtime for the win.

Fayetteville would come storming back in the fourth quarter down 21-7, scoring on and 24-yard pass from Allen to Tyler Tuck with 11:27 to play, and again on a 17-yard pass from Allen to Tuck to tie the game at 21-all.

The Purple Dogs had an opportunity to win the game late in regulation, but kicker Max Coffin missed a 40-yard field goal with less than a minute to play. Bentonville would take a knee to send the game to overtime.

Bentonville took the opening possession and scored on a 6-yard pass from Hardison to Mason Snow. Thomas Crenshaw's kick put the Tigers ahead 28-21. Fayetteville would have to rely on a 3-yard pass from Allen to Reid Holmes on 4th-and-goal to have a chance to win. The Purple Dogs took that chance and won the game on a two-point-conversion pass from Allen to Tuck.

“We was going to go for two all the way,” said Fayetteville coach Darryl Patton. “We didn't want to put that kind of pressure on our kicker after he missed that one earlier in the game. We'd rather go for two and try to get the win than take a chance of a blocked or missed PAT.”

Fayetteville would strike first with 3:06 to play in the first quarter when Austin Allen connected with Alex Brignoni for a 61-yard pass. Coffin's kick gave the Purple Dogs the early 7-0 lead. From that point forward, it was all Bentonville until the fourth quarter.

The Tigers first scored on an 11-yard pass from Dallas Hardison to Jack Kraus with 1:35 to play in the first half to tie the game at seven all. They would score two more times in the third quarter to take a 21-7 lead.

Bentonville's first score in the second half came on a 16-yard Tearris Wallace run, while the second was a 16-yard pass from Hardison to Justin Caylor.

Austin Allen was named the game's Most Valuable Player after finishing the game 27 of 41 passing for 376 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception.

“I've got to give it up to my offensive line,” said Allen. “They did a tremendous job giving me protection and allowing me to have time to make plays. All of the credit in the world goes out to them right now. After we missed the field goal, we knew that if we scored we was going to go for two and try to win the game.”

Going into the game, Bentonville was ranked in the Top 20 by several national polls, and enjoyed a 25-game winning streak.

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