By Louie Avery
Arkansas High dominated the line of scrimmage on defense Friday after ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Texarkana Arkansas ISD Razorback Stadium, earning Barry Norton his first win as the Razorbacks’ head coach against his former team, the Texas High Tigers, 7-0.
Drake Browning, the Razorbacks’ junior quarterback, scored the game’s only touchdown on the first play of the second quarter from a yard out. Other than missed field goal attempts by both teams, the two schools played outstanding defense that the late Leonard Parks probably would have loved. Parks, a senior defensive end for Texas High, tragically died last Saturday in his sleep.
“I think we’ve got a good football team, and I felt good about holding Texas High’s offense down in this game,” Norton said. “Going in I honestly didn’t think they could score many points against us. I can’t say I was expecting a shutout, but it doesn’t surprise me.
“Coltin (Clack) is a great quarterback for Texas High; but we felt if we could could keep the ball out of the seams and make them throw the football – well that’s what we did. There were no tricks. It was just line up and play tough football. My guys did a great job this week.”
Tigers held to 158 total yards
Arkansas High held Texas High to 158 total yards, 43 in the first half. The Razorbacks didn’t do much better against the Tigers’ defenders with 214 yards. Browning accounted for 150 of those yards, including 146 via the airways on 7-of-12 passing. Browning also had an 8-yard touchdown run wiped out by a holding penalty late in the third quarter.
Texas High kept its hopes live after that penalty when Dejonte Harper blocked a 29-yard field goal attempt with 1:56 left in the third quarter.
The Tigers’ final opportunity came with 5:49 remaining in the game when a short punt gave Texas High possession at the Razorbacks’ 47. The game was over moments later when the Tigers failed to convert on a fourth-and-4 play.
“I think we played better than we did last week,” said Texas High coach Gerry Stanford. “We played shutout football all night long. We’ll evaluate the film now and start getting ready for our next game. We really had a tremendous effort on defense all night long, and Arkansas High has a lot of good players on offense. We made play after play after play on defense.”
Dejordan Mask had the game’s first big play with an interception and 16-yard return for the Razorbacks. Junior Davarion Malone returned the favor moments later when he picked off a Razorback pass and returned it 36 yards.
It was moments later that Texas High missed a 34-yard field goal attempt with 8:50 left in the first half.
Kendricks Young made another big play in the third quarter after the Tigers had completed a pass. Young stole the ball away from the receiver.
Chris Sutton was Texas High’s biggest weapon on offense with 99 yards on the ground, including 90 in the second half.