ROGERS — Rogers put the game in the hands of its defense and it came through Friday night.
Tied with Forth Smith Northside with 1:13 remaining, the Mounties opted to punt on fourth-and-7 from their 45 and Kyle Eason pinned the Gizzlies at their 16. Two plays later, quarterback Grant Hood slipped in his own end zone for a safety, giving the Mounties a 30-28 victory at Whitey Smith Stadium.
Northside (0-2-1) missed an opportunity to break the tie with 4 1/2 minutes remaining but Hood’s fourth-down pass slipped through the hands of Shakari Jones at the goal line.
The Mounties managed one first down on the ensuing drive before stalling near midfield.
Rogers’ previous possession ended at its 37 when Preston Young was stopped for no gain on fourth-and-1.
“We had faith that our offense could get a yard,” Rogers Coach Shawn Flannigan said. “But then we put our faith in our defense.”
“This was an emotional win against a very good team.”
The Mounties broke a 7-7 halftime tie with a two-play drive to open the second half. Young ran 43 yards on the first play, setting up Brandon Workman’s 19-yard touchdown 34 seconds into the half.
Northside answered with its own quick drive with Hood hitting Jones for 26 yards, but the Mounties scored on their next two possessions to push the lead to 28-14 after three quarters.
Hood passed 26 yards to Ryan Jones on the first play of the fourth quarter before running 40 yards for a touchdown with 8:20 left to gain the tie.
w Workman ran 13 times for 113 yards and three touchdowns to pace the Mounties, who rushed for 271 yards.
w Justin Curry had 138 yards and one touchdown on 23 carries for the Grizzlies. He helped the Grizzlies outgain Rogers 358-301.
w Rogers and Northside have played each year since 1981, all but the last two as conference opponents. After two years in the 7A/6A-Central Conference, Northside and Fort Smith Southside are scheduled to return to the 7A-West Conference next year.
HOW THEY SCORED
Rogers 30, FS Northside 28
RHS — Brandon Workman 20 run (Ryan Nolan kick), 5:58
NHS — Justin Curry 13 run (Gustavo Hernandez kick), 3:30
RHS — Brandon Workman 19 run (Ryan Nolan kick), 11:26
NHS — Shakari Jones 26 pass from Grant Hood (Gustavo Hernandez kick), 9:24
RHS — Zachary Arrick 30 pass from Max Harrell (Ryan Nolan kick), 6:42
RHS — Brandon Workman 13 run (Ryan Nolan kick), 3:06
NHS — Ryan Jones 26 pass from Grant Hood (Gustavo Hernandez kick), 11:50
NHS — Grant Hood 40 run (Gustavo Hernandez kick), 8:20
RHS — Safety (Grant Hood tackled in end zone), 0:33