By John R. Schirmer
Pea Ridge pulled what could be the year’s biggest upset Friday night when the Blackhawks defeated the top-ranked Scrappers 53-28 at Scrapper Stadium.
Nashville (11-1) had been the number one team in Class 4A in most polls throughout the season. The Scrappers were ranked 10th overall by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and entered the game with a 26-game winning streak dating back to last year’s 15-0 state championship team.
The loss marked Nashville’s earliest exit from the state playoffs since the first round in 2013 when Lincoln eliminated the Scrappers 27-14 on a bitterly cold night in northwest Arkansas.
Nashville has competed in the state playoffs 26 consecutive seasons.
The Scrappers fell behind early in the second quarter Friday night when Pea Ridge quarterback Jakota Sainsbury scored on a 10-yard run with 11:55 left before halftime. the PAT was no good, and the Blackhawks led 6-0.
Pea Ridge blocked a Scrapper punt about 3 minutes later. From there, the Blackhawks scored on an 11-yard run. The 2-point conversion attempt failed, leaving Pea Ridge ahead 12-0.
Darius Hopkins ran the ball in from the 14-yardline on the Scrappers’ next possession. Jose Hernandez kicked the PAT and narrowed the gap to 12-7.
Hopkins went on to score all 4 of Nashville’s touchdowns against the Blackhawks. Hernandez kicked 4 of 4 PATs.
By halftime, Pea Ridge had increased the lead to 32-14.
Hopkins added a touchdown in the third quarter after the Scrappers stopped a Pea Ridge drive.
Following the TD, Nashville’s Xavier Nunally recovered an onside kick at the Blackhawk 42, but the Scrappers failed to score.
Hopkins scored Nashville’s final TD of the game and the season on a 37-yard run late in the third quarter to close the gap to 39-28.
For the night, Hopkins ran the ball 27 times for 294 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Nashville’s seniors ended their careers with a record of 46-3 dating back to their ninth grade season when they went 9-0. The seniors were 11-2 as sophomores, 15-0 as juniors and 11-1 their final season. Their teams won the District 7-4A championship each year.