LITTLE ROCK Caleb Spears picked a great time to get his only reception of the game.
The reserve wide receiver, who spends most of his time on the defensive side of the ball, caught a pass from Will Francis at the eight yard line, broke a tackle and dove in for the game-winning 20-yard touchdown with six seconds left to give Harding Academy their first state title since 2002 with a 49-45 victory over Glen Rose in War Memorial Stadium.
Spears entered the game when receiver Kohl Blickenstaff left the game with a shoulder injury on the play before the touchdown.
The score capped a seven-play, 73-yard drive for the Wildcats (14-0) after the Beavers (13-2) scored on their previous possession on a 10-play, 65-yard drive that ended on a Collin Hunter 12-yard touchdown pass to James Peterson with 1:11 left in the game.
On the final drive, Francis hit four different receivers on the final drive and ran for a first down on a 6-yard scramble. The Wildcats also took advantage of some luck on the drive, when a Francis pass to Isaiah English slipped through his hands and was snagged out of the air by Blickenstaff for a 15 yards to the Beavers' 31. Two plays later, Francis hit spears for the title-clinching score.
Francis, the games' Most Valuable Player, finished 35-for-48 for 499 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. He was 5-for-6 for 65 yards on the final drive, including the game-winning score.
Hunter finished 15-for-19 for 218 yards and two touchdowns for Glen Rose and added 71 rushing yards. Carlos Burton added 118 yards on 18 carries for the Beavers.
Read more about this game in tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.