The Wolverines score quickly and hold off the Pointers.
Bentonville West’s hot start to the season continued on Friday night.
West needed just six plays to notch two quick touchdowns and then added a special teams touchdown en route to a 43-28 win over Van Buren at Blakemore Field at Citizens Bank Stadium in the 7A-West opener for both teams.
West (4-0, 1-0 7A-West) was led by junior quarterback Will Jarrett, who completed his first five passes for 188 yards and the electrifying play of receiver Jadon Jackson.
Jarrett opened the game with a 40-yard completion to Jonas Higson out of the backfield and on the third play of the drive connected with Dakota McDonald for a 2-yard touchdown toss just 1:58 into game. Kicker Blake McDoulett threw a two-point pass to Kendall Young for a 8-0 lead.
After Ryan Keeley recovered a fumble on Van Buren’s two play after the touchdown, Higson ran nine yards to cap a three-play drive. McDoulett toed the extra point for a 15-0 lead.
Van Buren mounted a drive to the West 16, but had to try a 38-yard field goal, which was blocked and picked up at the 32 and returned for a touchdown by Brandon Humes with 4:06 left in the opening quarter for a 22-0 lead.
“We wanted to come and play really well early, and I thought we did that and got in a really good rhythm,” West head coach Bryan Pratt said. “We did what we do in the first half. We played well defensively. We work really hard on special teams. We definitely played well in all three phases of the game.”
Jarrett ran 10 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter and Jackson, who had five catches for 162 yards in the first half and finished with seven for 178, took a sweep in from two yards out for a 36-0 lead.
“The first two or three series, we had four dropped passes and a fumble,” Van Buren head coach Greg Werner said. “We’re putting ourselves behind the 8-ball every time. We’ve got to at some point come out ready to play. We’re not giving ourselves a chance to win.”
Van Buren (0-4, 0-1) got on the scoreboard with 29 seconds left in the half on Caleb Salisbury’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Walter Green on a screen.
West invoked the Arkansas Activities Association’s Sportsmanship Rule, taking the second-half kickoff and scored in nine plays on Jarrett’s 8-yard pass to Jackson.
“They’re as good as anybody, offensively,” Werner said. “In 7A or anybody, they’re as good as anybody, and they’re so fast defensively.”
Two plays later, Salisbury hit Brycen St. Mary on an 83-yard bomb that sparked the Pointers to three touchdowns on three possessions.
Green capped the next drive with a 1-yard burst to cap a 10-play drive on the first play of the last quarter.
Van Buren mounted an 11-play scoring drive after holding West with St. Mary gathering in a 6-yard touchdown pass from Salisbury.
Van Buren had 214 yards in the second half with Salisbury finishing 14-of-29 passing for 265 yards and three scores.
Jarrett finished 12-of-19 passing for West for 275 yards.