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Glen Rose Beavers look aheadOriginally Published December 13, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated December 12, 2012 at 9:35 a.m.
The Class 3A State Championship game between Harding Academy and the Glen Rose Beavers is being called one of the most exciting games in a year when several state championships were settled in the last moments.
But for the players and coaches of Glen Rose High School, the excitement of Saturday’s game at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock was lost when Harding’s quarterback threw a 20-yard touchdown pass, with only six seconds remaining, to give Harding the state championship, 49-45.
“We felt we had the ballgame, but it wasn’t in the cards,” Beavers coach Mark Kehner said in his office on Monday. “We all feel pretty bad, but all the kids on the team and all the coaches came to school today, when they could have stayed at home and pitied themselves.”
Meeting with his players a few minutes later, he gave them straight talk about defeat.
“I’m not going to spin anything for you,” coach Kehner said. “Sometime in the future, it will feel like we had a great year, but right now, it feels bad. We came up short, and we will live with that for the rest of our lives.”
Then came some words about pride.
“Remember 46 other teams would like to have been there, in that game,” he said. “I would not have changed anything. You guys played hard to the final buzzer. There is nothing else I could have asked of you. I love every one of you.”
Saturday afternoon, more than 5,000 people were in the stands in the giant Little Rock home of the Arkansas Razorbacks. There appeared to be a few more fans from Glen Rose than on the Harding Academy side.
“We travel well,” Glen Rose High School Principal Vic Gandolph said. “The families and the community always support our teams.”
From the opening kickoff, the game went back and forth, carried by the offensive skills of both teams. Harding flew down the field with a series of 12-to 15-yard passes for the first score. Ten second later, the score was tied 7-7 after Carlos Burton returned a kickoff 73 yards for an answering touchdown.
The two teams scored five touchdowns in the first quarter and five more in the last quarter, as well as three more in between.
At one point in the game, Glen Rose was up by 10 points.
“When we went up by 10, I thought we would have it then,” said Max Farr, a senior offensive lineman. “There are some plays where I could have done better, but we played our hearts out, and they scored with seconds to play.”
In his office, Kehner praised the work ethic of both Farr and fellow tackle and senior Skyler Hix.
“I played to the best of my ability,” Hix said, sitting in the assistant coaches’ office on Monday after the team meeting. “I wish there was more I could have done.”
Two of the 14 seniors on the team, both Farr and Hix said this will not be their last football game. Both have talked with college coaches. Skyler is expected to receive an offer from Henderson State University but said he has also talked with representatives of Ouachita Baptist University, the University of Arkansas and Auburn University.
Farr has talked with representatives from Hendrix College, Arkansas and the University of Missouri, he said. While he is 6-feet, 5-inches tall and almost 300 pounds, he will also attract attention from colleges for his ACT score of 28.
“Math is my favorite subject; I love it,” he said. “I want to
major in computer science.”
During the week, players turned in their equipment. Coach Kehner said seniors could buy their game-scarred helmets that carry their stickers earned for their outstanding play.
The coach said the juniors and sophomores should enjoy the Christmas break.
“When they come back in January, we get back to work with weightlifting and conditioning,” he said. “Four or five others will be playing basketball.”
The coaches also reminded players that this is the time for offseason conditioning for baseball players, including running.
Coaches handed out black and red T-shirts for winning the conference title to the team, tossing them to players across the room.
Closing the meeting with the players, he said they showed their hearts and minds were in the right place back during summer drills.
“It was never too hot to practice for Glen Rose, Kehner said.
The coach told his team he has not damaged the runner-up trophy, presented to the team for coming in second in the state championship game.
“I haven’t broken it up,” he said, “and I didn’t throw it across the room — yet.”
Staff writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at (501) 244-4460 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tri-Lakes Edition Writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at 501-244-4460 or email@example.com.