ALMA — Springdale High’s improvement from week one to week two of the Zak Clark era was evident Friday night. But it didn’t show up on the scoreboard.
Springdale failed to convert its first four red-zone opportunities and couldn’t keep pace on the road as Alma pulled away in the second half for a 17-7 victory.
Springdale (0-2) lost despite outgaining Alma 431-378, including 222-131 in the first half. The Bulldogs lost two fumbles inside the 10-yard line, missed a 39-yard field goal and were stuffed on a fourth-and-1 at the Alma 7, missed chances that spelled a 14th straight defeat.
“We’ll win when we deserve to win,” Clark said. “We made a lot of improvement, especially defensively we played just lights out.”
Springdale turned the ball over on downs inside the Alma 10 and then lost a fumble at the 10 early in the game, but trailed just 3-0 at the half after mostly limiting Alma’s offense. The Bulldogs had a chance to tie the game at the halftime horn, but John Bautista’s 39-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right.
Alma took control at the start of the third quarter against a Springdale defense that was markedly better than week one, when the Bulldogs gave up nearly 700 yards in a 63-28 loss to Greenwood. The Airedales perfectly executed a flea flicker, allowing quarterback Noah Dotson to find a wide-open Thomas Hall for a 51-yard score 17 seconds into the second half.
Alma’s other quarterback, Alex Beneux, ran three straight times on the Airedales’ next drive, capping it with a 42-yard touchdown run to make it 17-0 midway through the third. The two quarterbacks combined to run for 100 yards, while back Landon Brigance had 112 yards on 13 carries.
“We challenged our offensive linemen all week,” Alma coach Doug Loughridge said. “We’re going to have to line up and run the football. We didn’t line up real well against Southside (in a 35-19 loss). And they had something to do with that. Real proud of our offensive line.”
Springdale marched to the Alma 2-yard line shortly after with a chance to get back in the game, but lost another fumble. The Bulldogs finally scored after a Sam Robinson interception set up Jack Lindsey’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Kyler Williams with 3:15 left.
The duo had another big week, with Lindsey throwing for 303 yards and Williams catching 10 passes for 126 yards. But the Bulldogs couldn’t quite put it all together.
“Offense played really, really well at times,” Clark said. “You just can’t have two turnovers in the red zone and then we stalled out and didn’t get a third and fourth-and-1. Right now it’s the little things. The assignments that are blown on third and fourth down.
“If we can hang onto the rope, we’ll be just fine.”
Alma Airedales, 17
Springdale Bulldogs, 7
Alma — Walker 27 FG, 2:12
Alma — Hall 51 pass from Dotson (Walker kick), 11:03
Alma — Beneux 42 run (Walker kick), 6:13
Spring — Williams 6 pass from Lindsey (Bautista kick), 3:15
|Springdale Bulldogs||Alma Airedales|
RUSHING —Springdale — Erick Mendez 12-86, Lucky Bannavong 12-36, Jack Lindsey 2-6. Alma — Landon Brigance 13-112, Alex Beneux 5-70, Noah Dotson 14-27, Alex Key 1-2, Shane Rye 1-(-1).
PASSING — Springdale — Jack Lindsey 30-55-1 303. Alma — Noah Dotson 7-14-1 169, Alex Beneux 0-2-0 0.
RECEIVING — Springdale — Kyler Williams 10-126, Hunter Necessary 8-88, Alex Thompson 3-34, Dylan Bible 2-9, Lucky Bannavong 2-7, Dylan Sisemore 1-13, Layne Hutchins 1-12, Erick Mendez 1-9, Jasey Medina 1-5, Chris Arevelo 1-0. Alma — Brayden Johnson 3-25, Heath Friddle 2-82, Thomas Hall 2-62.
MISSED FIELD GOALS — Springdale — Bautista, 39 (wide right)