The weight of four years' worth of losses was lifted off the shoulders of the Little Rock Christian Warriors on Friday night.
Little Rock Christian hosted its bitter rival, Pulaski Academy, and handed the No. 7 Bruins their largest margin of defeat since 2005 with a final score of 55-13 at Warrior Field.
Prior to Friday's game, Pulaski Academy had won five games in a row against Little Rock Christian, including the 2019 Class 5A state championship game.
After the Bruins' first drive, capped by a 29-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Cobb to Walden Culpepper, it looked like the ideal start to a sixth consecutive win in the series.
But by the time the first quarter came to a close, Pulaski Academy (3-1, 1-1 6A-West) was in a hole its rarely seen in the 21st century.
Little Rock Christian (4-1, 2-0) built a 27-6 lead thanks to three passing touchdowns and one rushing by senior quarterback Walker White.
"Walker, as we've said all year and said throughout his career, he's such a great athlete," Little Rock Christian Coach Eric Cohu said. "But tonight, he also showed such great leadership in the game and just really rose up as a leader."
White hit Tate Collins, Cade Bowman and Peyton Brown for first-quarter touchdowns, the latter two each coming from 3 yards.
On the first play of the second quarter, after forcing the Warriors to punt for the first time, Bruins wide receiver William Svoboda fumbled at his 33. Seven plays later, White scored on a 1-yard designed run to make it 34-7.
As the Warriors offense was clicking on all cylinders, the defense was setting them up for success. The Little Rock Christian defense held Pulaski Academy to 2 of 11 on fourth-down conversions, providing the offense with a short field on nearly every offensive possession.
"Defensively, we set the pace by stopping them so many times," Cohu said. "Pulaski [Academy] is such a prolific offense, high-scoring machine. So when you can stop them on those fourth downs, it really gives you a short field, and we took advantage."
Within four minutes of the second half, the Warriors added 14 points to their lead. After the Bruins went four-and-out on their opening drive, White hit Cade Bowman for a touchdown. On the ensuing Bruins' drive, Jake Field intercepted Cobb and returned it to the end zone to make the score 48-6.
It was the largest loss by the Bruins since they were defeated 46-0 at Warren on Sept. 16, 2005. Since then, Pulaski Academy has won 10 state championships, including four in a row
"They played harder than we did tonight," Pulaski Academy Coach Anthony Lucas said. "We were out-coached tonight, we were outplayed. You name it, it happened tonight. It starts with me, though. Being the leader and head of this team, I guess I didn't do a good job of getting our kids ready to play."
With 3:51 left in the third quarter, Little Rock Christian added a touchdown on a 29-yard pass from White to sophomore Tristen Watson to make it 55-6.
The Bruins scored once more, with 5:14 remaining in the game, on a 28-yard score from Cobb to Culpepper.
"We'll find a way to fight back from this, learn from this," Lucas said. "Maybe we needed this loss. Maybe give us a little humble pie right now. We'll bounce back from this, I guarantee you that."
For the Little Rock Christian senior class, this was the first win over Pulaski Academy in four tries.
"It's just a surreal feeling," senior linebacker Cooper Jones said. "We've worked our tails off. Ever since we've been in this program, since the seventh grade, we've been told we were going to be the best class to come through. So it is just really surreal to feel that hard work pay off, and I was just proud of the way we played."