The Airedales return to the 5A West with a win at home. Mountainburg also grabs a win as Van Buren and Cedarville fall in league contests.
Maybe it wasn't the kind of welcome Vilonia had planned when the Eagles traveled to Alma for the Airedales first 5A West game since 2013. Aside from some miscues, the Airedales picked up their eighth straight 5A West win as it limited Vilonia to just a field goal in the 28-3 win Friday night at Airedale Stadium at Citizens Bank Field. Alma won all seven 5A West Conference games in 2013 as it picked up a conference title. The last Airedale win in the 5A West dated back to Nov. 8, 2013, when Alma defeated Shiloh Christian 37-14. The Airedales didn't need much time for the game-winning touchdown. After forcing Vilonia to go three and out, Alma set up camp on the Eagle 16 after a 26-yard punt return by Brayden Johnson. Garrison Jensen started the game at quarterback and hit Caleb Lamproe on the first play for Alma — a 16-yard touchdown strike with 9:36 left in the first half. Alma took the lead it never relinquished for the rest of the night. Vilonia only got close when it was looking at a fourth-and-goal from the Airedale 1. A false-start penalty backed up the squad and the team settled for a 23-yard field goal by Bryce Garrison. The Airedale offense had sputtered on its next three possessions before it executed a 73-yard, 13-play drive capped with a one-yard run by Jensen with 0:02 remaining before halftime to extend the lead 14-3. Alma came back out at the break to score another touchdown. If it were that simple. The Airedales began on their own 15. The team reached the Eagle 3 after a 14-yard pass from Noah Dotson to Johnson. Next play... holding penalty. Alma was first-and-goal from the 15. Kaleb Pike nearly covered the distance with an 11-yard run. Next play... holding penalty. Alma was second-and-goal from the 13. Next play... holding penalty Alma backed up to the Eagle 25, second-and-goal. A quick two-yard pass from Dotson to Johnson put a small dent into it, but the team was facing a third-and-goal from the Eagle 23. Dotson hit Johnson, who hauled in a game-high seven passes for 68 yards. Johnson broke one tackle and scrambled to the end zone for the score with 5:30 left in the third quarter. The Airedales had consumed 6:30 of the clock for the drive. The Airedales added the final score on a nine-yard run by Pike with 1:48 remaining in the third quarter. Aiden Walker was 4 of 4 on all his PATs. Alma finished with 351 yards of offense with 217 on the ground. The Airedales ran by committee with nine different backs touching the ball. Dotson had eight carries for 84 yards and was 8 of 13 passing for 88 yards with two touchdowns. Jensen was 4 of 6 passing for 46 yards and one interception. Jensen also had seven totes for 40 yards and one TD. Pike added 47 yards and a TD on nine carries, all in the second half. Brayden Harris also added a 52-yard punt return to the Vilonia 38 in the second quarter, but Alma was unable to capitalize on the field position. Vilonia had just 152 yards of offense with 126 on the ground. Ben Duff paced his squad with nine carries for 46 yards. Alma was elevated to the hybrid 7A/6A Central Conference for the past two seasons. In other county football games, Mountainburg snapped a two-game skid with a 50-6 trouncing of Decatur, and Charleston beat Cedarville at Glen Wisely Field 44-14. Bentonville West won its first homecoming game as it rolled past the Van Buren Pointers 42-14.