Boys Varsity Football · Cards fight, but fall to defending champs

By Kev Moyè

Special to the Saline Courier

HASKELL – The Haskell Harmony Grove Cardinals got what they were hoping for Friday against the Arkadelphia Badgers: a physical, grind-it-out, low-scoring game.

But the visitors were simply too much for the cardinals.

Arkadelphia handed Harmony Grove a 19-0 loss.

“Their size and athletic ability … we couldn’t match it,” said Cardinal Coach Mike Guthrie. “I’m proud of my kids. They gave it all they had. There’s nothing left in their tank. There’s nothing more that I can ask from them.”

This contest was dominated by the run as the two 7-4A squads threw a combined total of 11 passes. However, Arkadelphia (6-1, 3-1) proved to be better at using the physical, run-oriented style of play. That’s mostly because of quarterback Braeden Thomas and running back Kyren Harrison.

The way Badger coach JR Eldridge uses the tandem makes it difficult to contain the duo.

“Arkadelphia is talented and extremely well-coached,” Guthrie said. “They use a formation that spreads you out and forces you to cover their athletes in space from sideline to sideline. That makes it tough on a defense.”

The Badgers got off to a great start in the second half scoring on the second play of the third quarter.

Robinson – a senior who finished with 182 yards rushing – pulled out of the grasp of some Harmony Grove defenders and simply ran past a few others on his way to a 53-yard touchdown. After the failed 2-point attempt, the Badgers led 12-0.

The Cardinals fell further behind in the closing minutes of the third.

That’s when Thomas – a junior who rushed for 149 yards on 14 carries – ran 15 yards for a touchdown. Following the extra point by Alex Loy, the Badgers led 19-0.

Early in the fourth, Harmony Grove’s Tanner Oden recovered an Arkadelphia fumble near midfield. However, the Cardinals were unable to take advantage of the great field position.

Harmony Grove, now 3-4 overall and 1-3 in league play, battled the Badgers from start to finish.

Arkadelphia scored the game’s first points when Harrison plunged over the goal line from a yard out. That gave the Badgers a 6-0 lead with 11:04 remaining in the second quarter.

Arkadelphia would then stave off Harmony Grove for the eventual win. According to Guthrie, the Cardinals will learn a lot from this game against one of the top teams in Class 4A.

“We’re going to build on our successes,” he said. “We’re going to study the video, correct our mistakes, improve and just keep moving forward.