PRAIRIE GROVE — Lavaca couldn’t hang on to the football Friday and couldn’t hang close to Prairie Grove as a result.
The Golden Arrows fumbled the opening kickoff and suffered six turnovers overall in a 54-19 season-opening loss to the Tigers at Tiger Stadium.
“You can’t give up free stuff,” Lavaca Coach Mark Headley said. “I thought our off ense at times moved the ball and our defense at times looked good and then we’d give up a big play.”
Logan Bartholomew scored on a 32-yard run three plays after the opening kickoff fumble recovery to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead.
“Gifts,” Prairie Grove coach Danny Abshier said of the turnovers by Lavaca. “If they didn’t do that they showed h capability to drive on us.”
Lavaca answered with a 10-play, 64-yard drive to forge a 7-7 tie. The only pass on the drive was a 10-yarder from Hayden Headley to Levi Voss for the touchdown.
The Tigers then scored three straight touchdowns on drives totalling eight plays. Bobby Catt had touchdowns on a 77-yard run and a 71-yard pass from Jacob Storlie. Nick Sugg also had an 8-yard run. But Anthony Todaro returned a kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown to pull Lavaca within 28-13 after one quarter.
Prairie Grove built a 41-13 halftime lead but Luke Brown returned a Storlie interception 46 yards on the first play of the second half to pull within 41-19.
The Tigers scored two touchdowns 17 seconds apart midway through the third quarter to start the running clock under the Arkansas Activities Association sportsmanship rule.
This was the fi nal game of the series after the teams opened the season against each other for eight straight seasons. The Golden Arrows won three of the first four meetings. The Tigers scored at least 40 points in winning the past four years, including identical 41-6 scores in 2011 and 2012.
The Tigers piled up 332 yards rushing and 498 for the game, averaging 13.1 yards per play.
Storlie completed only two of his five pass attempts, but both went for touchdowns.
Coby Graves had 54 yards rushing to lead the Golden Arrows. Graves also had fi ve tackles to lead the Lavaca defense.
Prairie Grove stays home next week, hosting Class 5A Morrilton. Lavaca hosts Elkins in its home opener.