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Ficklin scores late as Tigers edge Mounties

by Henry Apple | October 23, 2021 at 2:40 a.m.

ROGERS -- Bentonville's recent domination of Rogers will continue for another year -- just barely.

Josh Ficklin ran 52 yards for the go-ahead score, and Rogers' last-second pass into the end zone was ruled incomplete as Bentonville held on for a wild 56-49 victory over the Mounties during 7A-West Conference play Friday night at Whitey Smith Stadium.

"From the fans' perspective, that was a fun game to watch," Bentonville Coach Jody Grant said. "Their kids really played their guts out, and we're very, very fortunate to come out of this deal with a victory.

"We had a little bit over two minutes left and had all three timeouts on our last drive. We thought we could go down and do something. Then we broke one and, truthfully, we left them a little bit too much time."

Rogers (6-2, 3-2 7A-West Conference) never owned the lead until Noah Goodshield hit Joel Garner with a 38-yard touchdown pass, and Cale Slaba's extra point put the Mounties ahead 49-48 with 2:35 remaining. Bentonville then had to go 80 yards to respond after the ensuing kick went into the end zone.

It only took the Tigers five plays to cover the necessary distance. Ficklin, who finished the game with 27 carries for 233 yards, first went inside before he found a hole and bolted down the left sideline for his fourth touchdown with 1:13 remaining.

"It was a little inside play, and the line blocked amazingly," Ficklin said. "It was a good play call by my coach. I just kicked it to the outside and ran into the end zone.

"I just saw the hole and decided to hit it. I wanted to end the game right then and there."

Rogers, however, had plenty of time to get downfield, although it avoided an early disaster as Josh Shepherd fell on a Goodshield fumble that actually gave the Mounties a 7-yard gain. Goodshield, who threw for 393 yards and five touchdowns, kept the drive alive when he hit Finley Bunch with a 36-yard pass to the Bentonville 26 with 27 seconds left.

Goodshield then bounced back from a 12-yard sack on second down to hit Kade Seldomridge with a 21-yard pass, giving Rogers a fourth and 1 at the 17 with 1 second remaining. Goodshield then scrambled before throwing to Graycen Cash in the right corner of the end zone, but the back judge ruled the pass incomplete, saying Cash's feet landed out of the end zone and allowing Bentonville to extend its streak to 15 games.

"It's been a long time since we've been in a game with these guys at halftime," Rogers Coach Chad Harbison said. "We felt like this group of guys wouldn't back down, and they didn't. We were down three scores at halftime, then came back to take the lead in the fourth quarter.

"These kids fought and kept fighting. What can you say? This one hurts, and it hurts a lot. When you work that hard to get something and don't get it, it's gonna hurt."

Bentonville appeared to have a comfortable 35-14 halftime lead before Rogers made things interesting. Goodshield and Seldomridge connected for a 10-yard touchdown pass, then Shepherd bolted 70 yards for another score three plays after Jared Robinson intercepted a Bentonville pass in the end zone.

The Mounties then had an answer for each time the Tigers scored. After Ficklin scored on a 16-yard run, Rogers scored two plays later as Goodshield and Seldomridge connected for a 77-yard touchdown pass.

Bentonville then turned a gutsy fourth-and-4 call into Drew Wright's 58-yard touchdown pass to Chas Nimrod. Rogers added a 1-yard touchdown run by Shepherd to pull within 48-42, then got a rare defensive stop to set up Goodshield's go-ahead touchdown toss to Garner.

Print Headline: Ficklin's late score lifts Bentonville

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