The Pointers hands Darby 50-13 River Valley Conference loss.

The Pointers found themselves in a familiar spot: inside the opponent’s 20-yard line facing a fourth down.

In the previous three games, the junior high squad struggled with finishing the drive. They didn’t have any problem with it Thursday night at Mayo-Thompson Stadium in Fort Smith.

Once the Pointers got a taste of the end zone, it didn’t stop and the Van Buren Freshman Academy won its River Valley Conference opener in a big way as it handed Darby a 50-13 decision.

The win snapped a three-game loss string for the Pointers.

“We took some lumps to start the season. We’ve been in every contest, but we just didn’t have things go our way,” said coach Eric Capp. “Our goal didn’t change, we want to win the conference and now we’re 1-0 with three other teams.”

The Pointers found themselves in a familiar spot: inside the opponent’s 20-yard line facing a fourth down.

In the previous three games, the junior high squad struggled with finishing the drive. They didn’t have any problem with it Thursday night at Mayo-Thompson Stadium in Fort Smith.

Once the Pointers got a taste of the end zone, it didn’t stop and the Van Buren Freshman Academy won its River Valley Conference opener in a big way as it handed Darby a 50-13 decision.

The win snapped a three-game loss string for the Pointers.

“We took some lumps to start the season. We’ve been in every contest, but we just didn’t have things go our way,” said coach Eric Capp. “Our goal didn’t change, we want to win the conference and now we’re 1-0 with three other teams.”

Quarterback Gary Phillips in just his fourth start in the position had 187 yards on six carries and two touchdowns in the first half as the Pointers led 36-13 at the break. Phillips finished the game with 253 yards on seven carries with three rushing touchdowns. He was 2 of 3 for 33 yards with, a touchdown and an interception. The interception may have been a fluke as the pass bounced in and out of the hands of two players before it was caught by a Darby player.

Phillips also returned a short punt 33 yards for the go-ahead touchdown with 0:27 remaining in the third quarter.

“We’re growing every week. I think he and the rest of this team have the chance to be something special,” said Capp. “I thought we had a good game plan for [Thursday night]. The offensive line did a great job and opened up some big holes and our backs ran hard.”

Van Buren finished with 380 yards after tallying 271 in the first half.

Darby got on board with a couple of big plays (pass plays of 31 and 32 yards) to go up 7-0 in the first quarter. Van Buren responded with a 65-yard run by Phillips to the Ranger 10. Phillips covered the next seven yards, but Darby pushed the Pointers to a fourth-and-goal from the Ranger 3.

Phillips went into the end zone unchecked and completed a pass to Brayden Branch and the Pointers were up 8-7.

After forcing Darby to go three-and-out, TJ Dyer covered 52 yards on a single run and the Pointers extended the lead by seven, 14-7.

Van Buren’s defense forced another three-and-out, but on the third play of the Pointers’ third possession of the game, Phillips’ pass bounced around in the air before Darby came up with the interception.

The Rangers were able to convert the turnover into points and got within one, 14-13, but that would be as close Darby would get for the duration of the game.

The Pointers rattled off 22 points in the third quarter. Phillips had an 80-yard touchdown run and he closed out the half with a 10-yard strike to Sam Seeger. Phillips’ ensuing two-point conversion made it 36-13.

The defense came up with the other score as Baylor Shook returned an interception 33 yards for a touchdown.

Van Buren opened the second half on a 66-yard touchdown run by Phillips, and he returned Darby’s first punt of the half for a score.

Chaffin 26, Alma 8

The Airedales struggled in their league opener in Fort Smith.

The squad rushed for 247 yards (8.5 yards per carry) but was unable to finish some drives. An interception was returned for a touchdown and Alma also lost a fumble inside the Cougar 20 before halftime.

Logan Chronister finished with 140 yards rushing and Heith Housewright added 87 yards and a touchdown.

Coach JD Coursey said Robert Cureton led the team in tackles while both Seth Cole and Casey Craft played “very well” on the line.