It did not take long for Springdale’s Deandre Murray to take control of the game. In fact, one play was all he needed.
Murray’s 62-yard touchdown run on the game’s first play from scrimmage sparked the Bulldogs to a 49-21 win against Van Buren Friday at Blakemore Field.
The win puts Springdale (5-2, 3-1) in control of earning a playoff berth. A win next week at home against Heritage could put the Bulldogs in position to earn a home playoff date for the first time since the 2005 5A state championship team.
“We felt really good offensively tonight. It was just going out and executing tonight,” Springdale coach Shane Patrick said. “We made some big plays out there. But it was not just Deandre. (Tight end) Josiah Wymer made some big catches and Fuller (Chandler) made some good throws. We did a lot of good things tonight.
Murray finished the first half with 244 yards on 19 carries with three touchdowns. He also caught a 32-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, one of four thrown by Chandler in the game.
“It’s unfortunate for us that he got loose like that on us to start the game,” Pointers coach Brooks Coatney said. “He set the tone tonight. He has been a hard guy to stop the last two years.”
After that quick score, Van Buren (1-6, 0-4) tried to surprise the Bulldogs defense by going for a fourth down at its own 34. The play failed and Springdale got possession at the Pointer 31.
Three plays later, Chandler hit Murray for a 32-yard pass for a 14-0 lead just more than three minutes into the game.
Van Buren never recovered.
“Their defense also made some big stops,” Coatney added. “We were trying to stay in the game, maybe get a score and get back into the game. That’s just the way it went tonight.”
Springdale rolled up 518 total yards. Chandler threw for 198 yards and his favorite target was tight end Josiah Wymer, who had five catches for 105 yards and two scores.
Brad Eversole, who has been out with an ankle injury, returned at quarterback for Van Buren and threw for 243 yards on 28-of-44 passing. Andrew Martin had 11 catches and a touchdown for Van Buren.
Springdale led 28-0 late in the first half when the Pointers finally got on the board with 42 seconds left before halftime on a 1-yard run by Tyrone Joseph. The senior running back gained 85yards on 17 carries.
The Bulldogs invoked the mercy rule on the first play of the final quarter when Chandler hit Wymer for a 43-yard touchdown that made it 49-14.
Van Buren travels to Bentonville next Friday.