GRAVETTE — Prairie Grove completed its second straight run through the 4A-1 Conference without a loss, but Friday’s 28-7 victory at Gravette wasn’t a textbook example of peaking heading into the playoffs.
The Tigers (9-1, 7-0) suffered two turnovers and turned the ball over on downs twice in the victory at Lion Stadium.
“It was not pretty,” Prairie Grove Coach Danny Abshier said. “I think we got a little relaxed. It was an odd night. We just didn’t finish off.
“We’ll try to enjoy [the conference championship] a little and then go on to the next one.”
The next one will be a first-round playoff game Friday at home against Pulaski Robinson. Gravette (3-7, 3-4) also qualifies for the playoffs as the No. 5 seed from the conference and will travel to Valley View next week.
“We could’ve been right in there this year,” Gravette Coach Bill Harrelson said. “We were two plays away from having five wins coming in and we just didn’t finish tonight.”
Prairie Grove jumped out to a 14-0 lead less than halfway through the first quarter on a pair of Nick Sugg touchdown runs.
Sugg rambled 55 yards through the middle of the Gravette defense on the game’s first play. After Gravette turned the ball over on downs at the Tigers’ 45, Sugg scored on a 23-yard run. Clement Geatrean kicked the extra point for a 14-0 lead with 6:50 left in the first quarter.
The Lions came back with an 80-yard drive, scoring on a 29-yard pass from Wyatt Banta to Cody Heaton with 2:58 left in the quarter, cutting the lead to 14-7.
J.D. Speed scored on a 23-yard run for the Tigers with 11:28 left in the first half, one play after Jamison Huckaby recovered a Cedric Duarte fumble.
The Tigers twice reached the Gravette 18 in the second quarter without scoring.
Trailing 21-7 with a minute left in the third quarter, Prairie Grove stopped Duarte on a fourth-and-1 run from its 12.
Speed ran 63 yards on the last play of the third quarter, setting up his 14-yard touchdown run with 10:43 left to finish the scoring.
Speed (158) and Sugg (157) both topped 150 yards and scored two touchdowns.
“The offensive line will be pleased with that,” Abshier said. “It didn’t seem like it. It didn’t seem like we could get anything going.”
• The Tigers have won 14 straight conference games. Their last league loss was 38-28 at Gravette to close the 2011 regular season.
• Prairie Grove is 21-2 overall the past two seasons.
• Prairie Grove rushed for 385 yards en route to 412 yards offense. The Tigers had 331 yards on 14 plays of at least 10 yards.
• Duarte led the Lions with 123 yards on 24 carries.
HOW THEY SCORED
Prairie Grove 28, Gravette 7
PGHS — Nick Sugg 55 run (Clement Gautrean kick), 11:39
PGHS — Nick Sugg 23 run (Clement Gautrean kick), 6:50
GHS — Cody Heaton 29 pass from Wyatt Banta (Cedric Duarte kick), 2:58
PGHS — J.D. Speed 23 run (Clement Gautrean kick), 11:28
PGHS — J.D. Speed 14 run (Clement Gautrean kick), 10:43