By John R. Schirmer
DE QUEEN – The Nashville Scrappers defeated De Queen 32-13 Friday night at Leopard Stadium. Nashville has a 17-2 record against the Leopards since 1998, losing only the 1998 contest and a regular-season game in 2011. The Scrappers avenged that loss by eliminating De Queen from the playoffs eight weeks later.
Friday night’s game saw Nashville with a 6-0 halftime lead. The Scrappers put up 12 points in the third quarter and 14 in the fourth while giving up two TDs to the Leopards in the fourth quarter.
“It’s always good to get a victory. I’m proud of how the guys came out in the second half and played really hard,” Coach Mike Volarvich said. “The defense did a great job, holding De Queen to 247 yards for the game. Most of that came on two big plays.”
The Scrapper defense allowed only 46 yards rushing, Volarvich said. Passing, the Leopards were 7 of 15 for 201 yards.
Scrapper quarterback Leonard Snell was 18 of 28 for 149 yards and a touchdown. He also ran the ball 17 times for 161 yards and a TD.
“Our offense started slow,” Volarvich said, “but watching the film, I saw how really close we were from some big plays.”
A holding penalty negated a touchdown on the opening driv, Volarvich said. Next, a pass went off the chest of the receiver. On the next series, the drive ended with a fumble. After that, “We missed a block that would have sprung a 90-yard run.”
While the first half saw the Scrappers “really close” to some big plays and scoring opportunities, the second half saw Nashville put the game away. “In the second half, we executed,” Volarvich said. “We played pretty good football.”
For the game, the Scrappers had 332 yards rushing. “I’m proud of that,” Volarvich said.
Snell completed 64 percent of his passes. “That’s a big improvement.”
Volarvich said he wants the Scrappers to keep improving. “No team ever plays a perfect game. I want us to learn from our mistakes and get better.”
One area in which Volarvich would like to see improvement is the kicking game. “We’ll keep working on it and get better,” he said.
Going into the non-conference contest at De Queen, “I knew they’d give us a good game. They were coming in off a big win over Mena. They have a big, physical offensive line. We were able to hurt them with our speed, and I think we wore them down,” Volarvich said.
De Queen was “a good environment,” Volarvich said, citing a helicopter’s delivery of the game ball during pre-game. “They also had a big student section. It was a good environment to play in.”
Nashville’s first touchdown against the Leopards came on defense. Kirby Adcock recovered a fumble and returned it 3 yards for a score, the only points by either team the entire first half.
Snell opened the second half scoring on a 61-yard TD run. Minutes later, Ty Pettway scored on a 17-yard pass from Snell.
Hopkins scored on runs of 4 and 5 yards in the fourth quarter. Nashville made one 2-point conversion for the night.
Nashville rolled up 481 yards total offense, with 149 passing and 332 rushing. The Scrappers had 24 first downs to 7 for De Queen.
The Scrappers lost 1 fumble for the game, while De Queen lost 4.
Nashville was penalized 6 times for 50 yards. The Leopards had 10 penalties for 84 yards.
Snell’s 161 rushing yards led the Scrappers’ ground attack. Hopkins was next with 10 carries for 79 yards and 2 TDs. Trent Harris ran the ball 8 times for 50 yards. Andrew Hawthorne added 2 carries for 33 yards. Dea’jeon Armstrong had 1 carry for 7 yards, and Lee Scroggins added 2 yards on 1 carry.
Armstrong was the leading receiver with 6 catches for 59 yards. He was followed by Armstrong with 3 catches for 41 yards. Other receivers included Pettway, 4 catches for 22 yards; Hopkins, 1 catch for 7 yards; and Dominick Kight with 2 catches for 5 yards.
On defense, Tyler Hanson recorded 5 tackles and 4 assists. Terell Grundy had 5 tackles, 7 assists, 2 sacks and a tackle for a loss. Billy Stewart recorded 4 tackles, 4 assists, 2 sacks and a TFL.
Garrett Gordon had 3 tackles, 6 assists and a sack. Troy Thomas also had 3 tackles, with 3 assists, a sack and 2 TFLs. Ashton Nelson had 2 tackles, 6 assists and a TFL. Charles Furr, Shundell Scott, Mace Green and Michael Bevill had 2 tackles each. Other tackles and assists came from Kailus Hughes, Jarvis Holmes, Austin Gibbs, Hunter White, Alex Berruquin, Harris, Crutchfield, Spencer, Daniel and Myers. Hughes and Armstrong had 1 interception each. Adcock’s fumble recovery resulted in a touchdown.
Scrappers head to Watson Chapel Friday
The Nashville Scrappers will board the buses at 1:45 Friday afternoon for a trip to Pine Bluff, where they will take on Watson Chapel at 7:30 p.m. in the final non-conference game of the season.
The Scrappers (2-0) will face a Wildcat team with a record of 0-2, but Coach Mike Volarvich said Watson Chapel has lost to Batesville and Pine Bluff, two highly ranked team. Pine Bluff is number one in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Class 6A poll. Batesville is sixth in the newspaper’s Class 5A poll.
Watson Chapel was picked to win the 5A South district title.
Last season, the Wildcats started 0-4, then won 5 in a row and made the state playoffs.
Watson Chapel will be “a little more athletic than the two previous teams we’ve played,” Volarvich said. “They will be a very athletic team. Our games with them in the past have been hard nosed, physical and close. I expect them to be solid.”
Watson Chapel has played two quarterbacks in two games. “Their starter was banged up in Week 1,” Volarvich said.
The Wildcat defense plays “man-to-man coverage. They get up in your face and challenge you to beat them 1 on 1.”
Watson Chapel returns an All-State noseguard who is “fast off the ball, very active,” Volarvich said.
On offense, Tryvarious Cole, All-State in 2014, ran for 700 yards and had 300 yards receiving. He also returned 2 kickoffs for touchdowns.
“They’re going to be a lot faster and more athletic than De Queen and Hope,” Volarvich said.
“We’re going to keep working on what we’re doing, keep our guys in the mindset to play hard, whistle to whistle from the first quarter through the fourth,” Volarvich said.
“This should be another good game. We need to execute a little bit better and cut down on mistakes.”
The Scrappers are 2-1 against Watson Chapel. They won last year’s game 22-13.