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Prep Football: Long pass sets stage for Van Buren loss

BENTONVILLE — Cody Scroggins made it past behind the Van Buren defense and just waited for Kasey Ford to get him the ball.

Once the two Bentonville players made the connection, the only thing that kept the junior receiver from scoring was his balance. He stumbled and fell inside the Pointers 1.

It didn’t matter much Dylan Smith scored on the next play, and the blowout ensued. He and Hekili Keliiliki each finished with a pair of touchdowns, and Bentonville celebrated homecoming with a 38-7 victory during 7A/6A-West Conference action Friday in Tiger Stadium.

“He started juggling the ball a little bit,” Bentonville coach Barry Lunney said. “He started concentrating on the ball, and lost his balance.

“Cody is one of the finest players, in my opinion, in the state of Arkansas. He’s always making plays. I wish for him that he could get it in, but it was a nicely executed play.”

Bentonville (6-2, 5-0) did get in another long pass for a score, but this time Ford’s target was Jimmie Jackson. The two connected for a 48-yard touchdown pass to give the Tigers a 24-0 lead with 8 minutes, 38 seconds left in the first half.

Keliiliki, who scored on a 10-yard run in the first quarter, added a 4-yard touchdown run just before halftime, then Smith’s second score — a 3-yard touchdown run — helped the Tigers invoke the sportsmanship rule with 8:43 remaining in the third quarter.

“We’ve got to coach our guys to be in better position,” Van Buren coach Brooks Coatney said. “We’ll go to work on that next week.

“The deep pass has been one of the things that has hurt us. It was so unfortunate that it happened so early in the game, and you can’t do that against Bentonville. They’re probably the best team in the state, and for sure the best team when they are ahead.”

EXTRA POINTS:

• Colton Ross set up Bentonville’s second score when he stepped in front of a Van Buren receiver for an interception, then returned it 35 yards to the Pointers 30.

• Ford surpassed the 1,000-yard mark in passing this season when he completed 6 of 9 attempts for 165 yards. The sophomore now had 1,070 yards this season since taking over in Week 2 against Broken Arrow, Okla.

• Van Buren (1-7, 0-5) avoided the shutout with Eversole’s 12-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Martin, who dove and stretched the ball into the end zone with 10:20 remaining.

• Bentonville’s defense held its opponent to less than 100 yards passing for the fourth straight game, limiting the Pointers to 98 yards on 13 of 22 passing.

UP NEXT: Van Buren also returns to the area as it will play Rogers Heritage at Gates Stadium.

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