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story.lead_photo.caption MARK HUMPHREY ENTERPRISE-LEADER/Prairie Grove 2019 Homecoming queen Olivia Stroud poses with escorts, senior Graham Guenther (left) and senior Hayden Black, along with attendants, Barrett Watson and Ella Davis. The Tigers won Friday's Homecoming game by a 48-7 score over Gravette.

PRAIRIE GROVE -- Prairie Grove (2-3, 2-0 4A-1) utilized an early turnover to change the tone of the game on the way to routing Gravette, 48-7, while celebrating Homecoming Friday.

"Our guys played hard. I think we might have caught Gravette off-guard. That turnover hurt them," said Prairie Grove coach Danny Abshier. "There's accolades all over. There's lots of high events in that game. Keiandre Hobbs cutting, the offensive line opened some big holes and Carter Scates both defensively and offensively."

Turnovers on two key possessions in the first half, both of which ended inside Prairie Grove's 10-yard line, killed Gravette's momentum. Those miscues combined with failure to convert fourth-and-1 at the Lion 44 enabled Prairie Grove to build a 21-0 lead and Gravette could not stop the Tiger first-team offense.

The Lions took the opening kickoff and appeared on the verge of scoring by marching 64 yards. Gravette quarterback Cy Hilger completed consecutive passes of 11 yards to Ian Drake and 9 yards to Chace Austin setting the Lions up in prime position with a first-and-goal from the Tiger 4. The Lions coughed up the pigskin on a fumble recovered by Prairie Grove's Carter Scates at the 20.

Prairie Grove fashioned a 13-play, 80-yard touchdown drive going the opposite direction. The Tigers took a 7-0 lead on Keiandre Hobbs' 4-yard touchdown run followed by Paytin Higgins' extra-point kick, the first of six he would kick in the game.

Jackson Sorters set the tone defensively for the next series by smashing Austin to the ground for a 3-yard loss on first down. Defensive end Graham Guenther ran Hilger out-of-bounds for no gain on second down. Caden Redfern's penetration forced Austin to go wide on a reverse and Jared Harger pushed him out two yards behind the line of scrimmage forcing Gravette to punt.

"We had some breaks tonight. That was good. Graham Guenther was pressing the quarterback every time he was in there," Abshier said. "Jackson Sorters had a big hit. He also made a huge catch to get us close to a first down. Then Knox Laird ran it through for the first down on the next play."

The Tigers mounted a 63-yard scoring drive highlighted by Hobbs' 25-yard run and Harger's 16-yard carry to set up Knox Laird's 8-yard touchdown pass to Redfern for a 14-0 Prairie Grove lead.

On the ensuing series Gravette hurt itself with a false-start followed by an intentional-grounding penalty when Scates sacked Hilger, putting the Lions in a second-and-31 situation. Hilger completed a 24-yard pass to Mason Dagley, but Prairie Grove nose tackle Hayden Black stuffed Austin for no gain on fourth down and possession reverted to the Tigers.

Knox Laird passed to Cordell Whetsell for 20 yards and Hobbs concluded the short field 44-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown run and Prairie Grove assumed a 21-0 lead.

Gravette again moved the ball 64 yards but suffered another turnover when Whetsell dove under a low throw making an interception at the Tiger six.

Prairie Grove could not get a first down and Whetsell came on to punt, which according to Abshier became a key play.

"That one time we punted out of the end zone. Whetsell's punt went out to the 50. That was huge," Abshier said. "They didn't get a chance to return it. That helped us out a lot."

Gravette scored late in the first half on Austin's 25-yard pass from Hilger. He got good blocking downfield which enabled him to run most of the distance. Ren Koopman's kick lowered Gravette's deficit to 21-7 at the 1:13 mark of the second quarter, but they gave Prairie Grove too much time.

Higgins booted a 32-yard field goal with two seconds remaining in the first half and Tigers enjoyed a 24-7 lead at intermission.

"We had 129 yards rushing in the third quarter. That says a lot," Abshier said.

Prairie Grove scored three rushing touchdowns in the period. Harger had a 14-yard run. Cade Grant broke a 48-yard touchdown carry and Asher Sam added a 7-yard run after Black's blocked punt was recovered by David Hall at the Lions' 13 and the Tigers built a 45-7 lead with 1:59 to go in the third establishing a running clock for the rest of the game.

Higgins kicked a 41-yard field goal 51 seconds into the fourth quarter which is the longest field goal made during Abshier's tenure as Prairie Grove head football coach beginning in 1993.


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First Quarter

Prairie Grove -- Keiandre Hobbs 4-yard run (Paytin Higgins kick), 5:00.

Prairie Grove -- Caden Redfern 8-yard pass from Knox Laird (Paytin Higgins kick), 0:10.

Second Quarter

Prairie Grove -- Keiandre Hobbs 13-yard touchdown run (Paytin Higgins kick), 8:03.

Gravette -- Jace Austin 25-yard pass from Cy Hilger (Ren Koopman kick), 1:13.

Prairie Grove -- Paytin Higgins 32-yard field goal, 0:02.

Third Quarter

Prairie Grove -- Jared Harger 14-yard run (Paytin Higgins kick), 8:15.

Prairie Grove -- Cade Grant 48-yard run (Paytin Higgins kick), 5:48.

Prairie Grove -- Asher Sam 7-yard run (Paytin Higgins kick), 1:59.

Fourth Quarter

Prairie Grove -- Paytin Higgins 41-yard field goal, 11:09.

Sports on 10/09/2019

Print Headline: Tigers Capitalize On Turnovers

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