The Dierks Outlaws moved into sixth place in Class 2A Friday night with a 50-0 first-round playoff win on Ayers Field in Dierks.
The Outlaws will be waiting for the fourth-ranked Poyen Indians this Friday night for the second round and maybe a little revenge.
The Indians handed the Outlaws their only loss of the regular season, 21-12, in Week 5 and Coach Jarrod Fannin is hoping some home field advantage will come into play for his team.
“This will be the second year in a row that we have faced a previous opponent from the regular season in the second round of the playoffs,” Fannin said. Last year’s two-time opponent was the Gurdon Go-Devils.
Friday’s game against the Dragons was the first playoff game hosted by Dierks since 2013. “Our community support here in Dierks is tremendous and to be able to host playoff games so everyone can support and watch these kids play is a privilege,” the coach said.
It didn’t take long for the Outlaws to take control of Friday night’s game with the offense firing off 50 points and the defense pitching a scoreboard shut out. Special teams also contributed to the scoring and ninth-grader Trey Hopkins was called up and kicked two extra points.
The tone of the game was set on the Outlaws’ opening possession when they went 54 yards in four plays in a drive capped by Eli Sharp from 16 yards out and a two-point run by quarterback Braxton Claborn.
Claborn and the Dierks defense shut down the Dragons’ first drive when he stepped in for an interception to set the Outlaws up at their own 48.
Six plays later, Konnor Shelton hit the end zone from 10 yards out and Claborn added the two points for a 16-0 lead.
The Outlaw defense then forced a three-and-out from the Dragons to take over at their own four yard line. Dierks started their drive with 2:23 left in the first quarter and plowed through the clock with an 11-play drive that was capped by Andrew Kirby from three yards out. The two-point play failed to leave the score at 22-0 with 9:31 left in the first half.
The next Dragon drive was interrupted when Sharp picked off a MB pass but Dierks’ offense went three-and-out on the next possession.
The Dierks defense stayed on the Dragons and took over on downs on the next possession after three plays from their own 46. The drive was short but effective and was capped three plays in when Braxton hit Sharp for a 29-yard TD and Shelton took a pitch in for two points and a 28-0 lead with 2:30 left in the half.
The Outlaws shut down the Dragons on their next possession six plays in when David Ainsworth collected an interception. Dierks scored on the next play when Claborn hit Shelton in the flat and he battled and raced 79 yards for the TD. Hopkins stepped on to boot the Outlaws up 37-0 and set the Mercy Rule in effect.
The second half was much of the same and the clock quickly ran out on the Dragons’ season. Shelton scored again in the third quarter from 11 yards and Hopkins added the two-point kick before ninth-grader Rustin Simmons capped the Outlaw scoring with a 20-yard TD run.
Dierks gained a total of 407 yards with 272 on the ground and Claborn hitting 3/3 passes for 135 yards and two TDs. Mountainburg was held to only 85 yards of offense.
“I can’t say enough about out offensive line,” Fannin said. “They have been solid for us all year, opening up holes for our backs. Everyone knows that we want to run the football and will stack the box on us and for us to be able to run the ball like we do is a testament to those guys up front. Those guys take pride in playing the offensive line.”
The O line consists of center Jacob Moore, guards Kohl Kersey and Blake Starks, tackles Jackson Banister and Garrett Greenwood and tight end Kaden Helms.
Same goes for the D line, according to Fannin.
“Another group that has been playing well all year is our defense,” he said. “They love playing defense and fly around to the football. Austin Hanson is our leading tackler. When you turn on the film, he is always around the football.”
Fannin also had praise for his secondary who collected three interceptions Friday.
Poyen will bring a very good offensive team to Dierks Friday night that Fannin predicts will present some challenges. “They run the ball extremely well and also have two very good receivers that can give you problems,” he said. “We will have to play very physical, defensively, and our eyes need to be in the right spot in the secondary.”
Dierks spread out their rushing game among eight players with Sharp gaining 86 yards and a TD on nine carries while Shelton rushed nine times for 45 yards and two TDs. Kirby added eight carries for 46 yards and one TD to the rushing game.
Sharp, Andrew Hill and Shelton also pulled in Claborn’s three passes for 135 total yards.
Kaden Helms topped this week’s Outlaw tackle chart with 11 solo stops followed by Hanson with six.