Badgers Run Wild in First Round

Arkadelphia Takes Care of Star City to Advance in State Playoffs

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Arkadelphia Badgers Logo

Donovan Lee, Assistant Sports Editor

The first round of the Arkansas High School Football Playoffs began this past Friday. For Arkadelphia, it was a chance to set the foundation for their possible third title run in four years. For Star City, it was a chance to knock out a 4A powerhouse and make a statement.

The Badgers (7-1) and Bulldogs (4-5) were both coming off of losses the prior week to end the regular season.  Arkadelphia lost to Malvern 33-25, and Star City to Crossett 35-21. A bounce-back win to start the playoffs would extend the season for one team and end the season for another.

The Badgers began the game hot, initiated by a Kyler Phifer kickoff return for 69 yards to put them in great field position early. Division 1 commit Jaishon Davis would finish the job from 11 yards out for the score and would build on that to compile an insane performance for his Friday night outing.

With a plethora of impact plays on the ground by Davis (11 rush, 30 yds; 3 rec, 117 yds, 4 total TDs) and through the air courtesy of Arkadelphia quarterback Braeden Thomas (8-13, 192 passing yds, 4 rushes for 52 yards, 3 total TDs), Arkadelphia scored all of their points (42) within the first half, invoking the Sportsmanship Rule for the rest of the game.

With a nonstop clock, Star City’s chances of a comeback were insurmountable. Although they were able to tag on two scores in the second half, the Badgers were too much for Star City, as Arkadelphia advanced to the first round of the playoffs with a 42-20 victory.

Arkadelphia will continue their quest for another state title on Nov. 20 as they travel to face Mena in a primetime Friday night game under the lights. Mena secured their spot in the first round of the playoffs so they awaited the winner of the Badgers-Bulldog matchup.