Cardinals overwhelm versatile Badgers, 41-21

Time and dimes

UA-baseball commit Martavius Thomas (1) looks deep for a pass as Baylor commit Tim Dawn (58) closes in for a block and Khyri Hall (78) pancakes an Arkadelphia defensive lineman. The play resulted in a 33 yard touchdown to Brandon Copeland.
Time and dimes UA-baseball commit Martavius Thomas (1) looks deep for a pass as Baylor commit Tim Dawn (58) closes in for a block and Khyri Hall (78) pancakes an Arkadelphia defensive lineman. The play resulted in a 33 yard touchdown to Brandon Copeland.

What a difference a year makes.

The Camden Fairview Cardinals used physical play to upend the Arkadelphia Badgers on the road by a score of 41-21.

The Badgers showed they were dangerous on offense early when tall athletic QB Donovan Whitten got loose for a 20 yard scramble to move into CF territory, but the CF defense would buckle down and break up four consecutive passes to get the ball back near midfield.

Things started off shaky for the visiting team after a fumble on the first play when the ball slipped out of CF QB Martavius Thomas' hands. The next two plays would result in negative rushing attempts as a combination of missed assignments and worn turf proved challenging.

That's when it all changed.

The Cardinals' special teams unit came up with a big play when the Arkadelphia receiver muffed the punt and Braxton Hooks recovered it at the CF 25. JaToney McGehee would power his way through the Badger defense for a 22 yard run before Jacoriae "Bug" Brown took a direct snap in for a 3 yard touchdown with 8:02 left in the first quarter. The slippery turf would come in to play on the PAT as Nasir Khan slipped as he attempted to kick. Still the Cardinals held the 6-0 lead.

Both offenses would stutter on their next drives as the Badgers gained 26 yards on 7 plays from their 25 yard line before turning the ball over on downs and the Cardinals went three and out before punting down to the Arkadelphia 19.

The Badgers would find a bit of a rhythm on offense, again mostly because of the exscapeability of Whitten and find themselves at the CF 33-yard line. That's when the Cardinals' No Fly Zone secondary made a big play in the backfield. Sophomore cornerback Jabauree Lockhart flew into the backfield on a blitz and ripped the ball from Whitten's hands as he was preparing to throw it and ran for a 77-yard touchdown. Khan was true on the PAT to put the Cardinals ahead 13-0 with 2:10 left in the opening segment.

The Badgers would get a big break on their next possession when they benefited from a face mask after a 10 yard pass. Whitten would find a receiver in the end zone for a 21 yard touchdown to put the home team on the score board with a minute left in the first. The PAT was good.

CF would prove they could score just as quickly though. On the ensuing kickoff, Brandon Copeland raced from the CF 7 for the Arkadelphia 48. This time, the Cardinals would welcome a flag thrown against the Badgers for a personal foul to put the team at the Arkadelphia 33. After a short run attempt to end the first quarter, Thomas would toss a 33 yard pass to a wide open Copeland in the end zone for a touchdown on the first play of the second. Khan was again successful on the PAT.

Arkadelphia would threaten on offense but ended up punting. The Cardinals got the ball back at their 23 yard line and were finding success with a couple of quick outlet passes that led to a couple of first downs. CF looked deep and were called for holding and a questionable personal foul when a Cardinal wide receiver playfully slapped the helmet of a defender in a "good hustle" type manner after the ball fell incomplete. The player was ejected and the Cardinals went from a 2nd and 1 to a 2nd and 30. CF ultimately punted.

The punt breathed new life into the Badgers who would score a couple of plays later when Whitten found Alex Loy wide open for a 40 yard touchdown with 5:59 seconds left in the half. An additional 13 seconds mysteriously ran off of the clock during the PAT.

Copeland would again come up with a gig return this time getting the ball down to the Arkadelphia 43. Nine plays - included a fourth down conversion - later, McGhee powered the ball in the end zone from a yard out. Khan came on to extend the lead, giving the Cardinals a 27-14. That score would carry over into the half.

In the second half, the Cardinals showcased their power as the running game began to wear down the Badgers. The August heat led to cramping on both sides of the ball but the Badgers would have to play the second half without potential D1 running back and linebacker Jaishon Davis who didn't play in the second half after picking up 35 yards on 8 carries in the first.

The Cardinal's dominated the time of possession and were efficient adding two-more touchdowns. Arkadelphia would have a chance to score with about five minutes left in the game after advancing the ball down to the CF 2 yard line. But the Cardinal defense was lights out, creating enough pressure up front to lead to a bad snap and a 10 yard loss before stopping the Badgers three plays in a row to get the ball back.

Copeland finished as the high man for the Cardinals amassing a career high of 223 total yards - 7 receptions for 139 and two kick off returns for a total of 84 yards. Thomas was 9/16 for 164 yards and a touchdown and ran for another 84 yards on 12 carries. Brown finished with 76 yards on 15 carries and 3 touchdowns while McGhee averaged 7.5 yards per carry to finish with 127 rushing yards while he and Brown played on both sides of the ball throughout the night.

The Cardinals will now turn their attention to long time rival El Dorado. The game is the Fearless Friday Game of the Week and will be broadcast state-wide on Thursday night starting at 7 p.m.

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