The 5th grade Pea Ridge Blackhawk football team finished their season undefeated and successfully defended their title of a year as they smothered Shiloh 24-0 in the Northwest Arkansas Youth Football League Saturday.
Head coach Josh Thornton said: "This has been such a great group of kids. I have been so blessed to have been able to coach them. Undefeated in 2020, 7-0!"
The Hawk defense came up big Saturday, never letting Shiloh across midfield, taking two interceptions, stripping the ball for a fumble recovery, and throwing the opposing runners for losses eight times. Pea Ridge outgained Shiloh 208 yards to 12.
The Blackhawks took the ball to open the contest, then launched a five play scoring drive to assume command of the game. Cameron Moorman opened things up with a 6-yard run and two plays later No. 43 took off, outrunning several defenders before being brought down at the Shiloh 13, a 42-yard jaunt. Two plays later, quarterback Dalton Raines faked a handoff up the middle, then rolled out left, sprinting to the corner of the end zone for the game's first score with 20:15 left in the first half. Moorman punched in the 2-point conversion to put the Hawks up 8-0.
The Hawk defense dropped the hammer on the guests, with Shiloh losing a yard after three running plays, and had to quickly punt.
Penalties hampered the Hawks on their next possession and they were forced to punt back to Shiloh with the visitors taking over on their own 36. This time Shiloh has some success, gaining a first down at their own 49. That was as far as they got as the quarterback sneak on first down barely made it back to the line of scrimmage. The second down run resulted in a multiple Hawk sack of the quarterback for a 7-yard loss, and the third down pass was picked off by Braden Barnes, who alertly snatched it out of the air after being batted around.
Moorman started the next series running twice for 9 yards with Raines sneaking the ball forward 3 yards for a first down on the Shiloh 38. Two more runs by Raines netted 9 yards and a fourth and 1 at the Shiloh 29, but a fourth down run came up inches short, giving the ball back to Shiloh on downs.
Getting the ball back on their 29, Shiloh went to the air but the first down pass fell incomplete. The quarterback was nearly sacked on the next play, another incomplete pass. On the ensuing play, Waylon Piper and other Hawks got to the quarterback, stripping him of the ball and giving the Hawks the ball on the Shiloh 24 with 45 seconds left before intermission.
Moorman got off a short run to the 22, then on the last play of the first half with the clock running out, Raines rolled out then took off for the end zone, dodging defenders and shucking tacklers before getting brought down just inches short of the goal line as time expired, a 21-yard run.
The Hawks' fairly salty defense from the first half got a lot saltier in the second, as the Ridge boys threw Shiloh for losses of 5, 7, then 1 yard as the guests had to punt from their own 12. However, the Hawks could not get untracked and had to punt back, with Shiloh taking over on their 17.
Shiloh had no better luck on offense, but a third and 22 run netted them 14 yards, putting their total yardage above zero. Their fourth down rush attempt at their own 32 was stuffed, giving Pea Ridge great field position on the turnover.
After a first down play went nowhere, Moorman broke loose from the Shiloh 35, rambling 33 yards to the Shiloh 2 before getting tackled. Rhett Hargiss swept right, sprinting into the end zone with 10:00 left in the game. A 2-point pass from Raines to Levi Ragsdale put the Hawks solidly ahead 16-0.
Shiloh went to the air on their next possession, but on second down, the Hawks' Gavin Bivens corralled the visitors pass to give Pea Ridge the ball on the Shiloh 34. Raines ran for 4 then Hargiss broke off a 9-yarder for a first down on the Shiloh 21. After a penalty set the Hawks back, Moorman rushed for 12 yards to the Shiloh 16, then Ethan Saragusa slashed through the rest of the way to ice the game for the Hawks. Ragsdale ran in the 2-point play for the final 24-0 margin.