CENTERTON -- An old, gold toilet greeted Bentonville's players as they walked from their dressing room to Wolverine Stadium.
Spray-painted on the toilet were three letters a Bentonville school official covered up, leaving the toilet next to the curb. After the game ended, the toilet was nowhere to be found.
Maybe the Tigers took it, too. They took everything else on Friday night.
Bentonville (10-0, 7-0 7A-West) locked down the No. 1 playoff seed from the 7A-West and clinched home-field advantage through the semifinals in its 30-7 victory against Bentonville West. The Tigers also earned Benton County bragging rights for a fourth consecutive year.
"When you start winning games and getting to 5-0 and 6-0, you start getting everybody's best shot," Tigers Coach Jody Grant said. "We got everybody's best shot, and our kids handled that adversity. We beat some really good football teams. I'm still a big believer in the 7A-West being a quality conference, so for us to go through that and win it again is awesome."
The Tigers struck first, driving 85 yards in 11 plays on their opening possession to take a 7-0 lead. Bentonville quarterback Ben Pankau missed his first pass, then connected on his next five, the last a 16-yard dart to Cooper Smith for a touchdown with 4:32 left in the first quarter.
Bentonville running back Preston Crawford was also big on the drive, ripping off an 18-yard run on third down, then a bruising 6-yard run that picked up another first down to keep the drive going.
"Anytime you can drain some clock and score, it's awesome," Grant said. "Our offense operated really clean, and that was huge."
Bentonville West (6-4, 5-2), which already had clinched a first-round bye regardless of the outcome, moved in position to answer the early Bentonville score by driving from its own 9 to the Tigers' 31. But the Wolverines shot themselves in the foot with a 15-yard personal foul penalty that moved them back to near midfield, ending the scoring threat.
Bentonville's defense registered two fourth-down stops later in the half as the Tigers took a 16-0 halftime lead. The first came early in the second quarter when the Tigers stopped Wolverines quarterback Dalton McDonald inches short on a fourth down near midfield. Bentonville capitalized with a 34-yard field goal by Logan Turner.
Sports on 11/09/2019
Print Headline: Bentonville rolls to a 10-0 season