Bentonville West coach Bryan Pratt wasn’t ready to concede Friday night’s game, even with Rogers High less than a yard away from a go-ahead and potential winning score.
He didn’t have to. The Wolverines, aided by back-to-back penalties, made a last-minute stand and claimed a 26-22 victory Friday at Tiger Stadium.
One play after Kobe Anderson stopped Mounties running back Jeb Brain short of the goal line, Rogers was hit with a false start penalty. That was immediately followed by an unsportsmanlike conduct call that backed the ball up to the West 21 with under a minute remaining.
Rogers threw an incomplete pass on third down, then elected to go to Jake Benninghoff — a 6-foot-3 receiver who is also a quality high jumper in track. Slade Pearson — who is about 6 inches shorter than Benninghoff — was able to keep the ball out of Benninghoff’s hands with 27 seconds remaining, and West (3-6, 3-3) ran out the clock for the victory.
The victory allows the Wolverines to clinch the 7A-West Conference’s fourth seed and host a first-round playoff game in their inaugural year, regardless of what happens next week against Bentonville.
West quarterback Will Jarrett was 17 of 26 for 262 yards through the air with four touchdowns, including a 25-yard scoring toss to Sebastian Caniglia with 4:24 remaining to put the Wolverines ahead to stay.