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story.lead_photo.caption Bentonville quarterback Ben Pankau (10) carries the ball Friday, Oct. 18, 2019, past Fayetteville defensive back Taveon Williamson (6) during the first half of play at Harmon Stadium in Fayetteville. - Photo by Andy Shupe

FAYETTEVILLE -- The game was close for awhile, at least for a half.

But Bentonville showed it is still the team to beat in the 7A-West Conference by exploding past Fayetteville 55-14 Friday at Harmon Field. Bentonville scored six consecutive touchdowns to win easily after beating Fayetteville 24-20 last year at home.

Fayetteville played evenly with Bentonville for most of the first half, but mistakes helped the Tigers pull ahead 27-14 after two quarters. Preston Crawford then took over with some impressive runs in the third quarter to showcase his ability as one of the best backs in the state.

Bentonville moves to 7-0 and 4-0 in the league while extending its regular-season win streak to 14 consecutive over Fayetteville.

"This is what we came and expected to do," Bentonville receiver Zach Lee said. "Our goal, obviously, is to win conference then see who we get in the playoffs."

Fayetteville has now lost at home to Bryant and Bentonville, the top two teams in Class 7A. Who is best will be decided in the playoffs but, for now, Bentonville is focused on next week's game against Rogers. Bentonville will also face Springdale before ending the regular season against rival Bentonville West.

Fayetteville (3-4, 2-2) was not without some highlights in the first half.

Quarterbacks Hank Gibbs and Quinn McClain each made big plays for Fayetteville. Gibbs displayed his strong arm on an 80-yard touchdown pass that probably traveled 60 yards downfield to sophomore Isaiah Sategna, who got behind the defender and made the catch. Sategna is an emerging star who finished second in the 100 and 200 and won events in the hurdles and long jump at the state meet last spring at Lake Hamilton. He later added a 50-yard reception from Gibbs.

McClain also displayed his ability on a running play when he bounced off a Bentonville defender, spun around, and scored on a 12-yard run to tie the game 14-14. But the Tigers regained the lead after taking advantage of a fumbled punt.

Play was briefly halted in the first half when someone well beyond the northeast end zone was apparently pointing a blue laser onto the field.

Not funny, dude, whoever you are.

When play resumed, Bentonville added another touchdown on a trick play to take a 27-14 lead at the half. Quarterback Ben Pankau got the ball back after two handoffs in the backfield. He then lofted a pass to senior tight end Jackson Kinsey, who was wide open and made the catch to complete a 42-yard touchdown.

"We worked on that all week in practice," Kinsey said. "When coach called the play I got a little nervous, but I knew we could execute it. As soon as that ball went up, I knew I had it and I knew I could score."

Bentonville scored a lot and its defense clamped down and bull-rushed the Fayetteville quarterbacks, especially in the second half when the Bulldogs were forced to throw.

There is still much work to be done by the Tigers, but one thing is for certain.

Bentonville is still the team to beat in the 7A-West.

Preps Sports on 10/19/2019

Print Headline: Bentonville continues its dominance over Fayetteville

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