After a competitive first half between the Camden Fairview Cardinals and the Arkadelphia Badgers, turnovers and missed opportunities led to the visiting team rumbling to a 41-21 win.
Despite turning the ball over Five times (three fumbles and two interceptions) and tallying an uncharacteristic five dropped passes, the Cardinals still gained 475 yards (345 rushing) in total offense. The bigger issue was that Arkadelphia finished with about 500 total offensive yards, with the heavy majority coming through the air.
The Cardinals deferred to the second half and, after an Arkadelphia penalty on the kickoff return, had the Badgers facing a third and five deep in the home team's territory. An off-sides on the Cardinals granted the Badgers a first down, and they made the most of it by scoring on a 72-yard pass from Donovan Whitten to Latonnieo Hughes. The PAT was good as the Cardinals went down 7-0 early.
CF's first offensive possession ended in a punt, but the defense would stand up and force a Badger punt. The Cardinals would start their second drive from their own 8-yard line. Martavius Thomas would keep the ball for a 14-yard QB sweep before finding Trent Haygood for a 20-yard pass. CF would ultimately face a fourth and goal from the Arkadelphia 8 when Thomas found a hole in the middle of the Badger defense and scored with 2:02 left in the first. Nasir Khan added the PAT to knot the game at 7.
The Cardinal defense would come up big when Matthew Davis intercepted a pass at the CF 42 on Arkadelphia's second play of the drive, but penalties would stall the offense, and the Cardinals would punt from the Arkadelphia 45 to the 15.
CF would get the ball back near midfield after an Arkadelphia punt and sophomore Kenneth Lanford would real off a big 25-yard run on the first play of the drive. Four plays later, the Cardinals would get in a spread formation and Thomas would keep it for a 14-yard touchdown with 9:30 left. Khan added the PAT despite being tackled well after the kick.
After the penalty, Khan would boot the ensuing kickoff into the end zone. Arkadelphia would go to work with its no-huddle offense. On the third play of the drive, a big 30-yard bubble screen would put the Badgers deep in Cardinal territory. The Badgers would score at the 8:10 mark when Whitten kept it on an RPO from 14 yards out. The PAT tied the game.
The Cardinals were penalized on the play, which granted the Badgers a short field for their kickoff and CF would make one of its most critical mistakes of the game when they allowed Arkadelphia to recover the onside kick. Arkadelphia would retake the lead a play later on a 31-yard passing touchdown.
Things took a turn for the worse when the Cardinals fumbled the ball at their own 40-yard line, but the defense came up with a huge stop on a fourth and long to give the Cardinals the ball back at the Cardinal 46 with 5:26 seconds left.
Thomas would score with 2 minutes left before the half on a dazzling quarterback keeper that saw him evade six Badgers on his way to the end zone before Nasir Khan added the PAT to tie the game at 21.
The Badgers responded by scoring on a 63-yard bubble screen and converted the PAT to go ahead 28-21. CF would threaten to score moving the ball within the Arkadelphia 30- yard line in the final moments of the half. CF attempted a field goal that went awry as the half ended.
CF would have three big opportunities to tie the game early in the second half. The first was by traditional means. A Haygood kickoff return gave the Cardinals the ball at their own 41 and the offense clicked before stalling and turning the ball over at the Arkadelphia 12. CF's defense would force a punt and the offense would get the ball back at their own 18. After picking up a first down, Thomas would find a wide-open receiver and place the ball on the money, but the pass was dropped. The Cardinals would still extend the drive and pick up a first down even while a shaken up Thomas had to come to the sideline. Sophomore Darrell "Juney" Atkins Jr. would complete 2/3 passes as Thomas walked it off on the sidelines.
CF had to punt to open the fourth quarter, but yet another opportunity to cut into the lead went awry. The punt would bounce off a Badger's leg and Keitron Torrence would recover it for the home team at the Arkadelphia 22, but Thomas' pass would slip backwards out of his hands, and the Badgers would recover the fumble. Arkadelphia would then try to chew some clock by going to the run game and reaped the benefit of a questionable pass interference that gave them the ball deep inside Cardinal territory. Arkadelphia would score with just under 8 minutes left in the game.
CF would attempt to cut into the lead but were intercepted at the goal line. The defense ultimately would force a punt and CF would again go on a good drive before a pass bounced off a receiver's shoulder pads and into the hands of a Badger and raced it in for a Pick - 6. The PAT was no good. CF would attempt to drive the ball downfield before time expired.
Thomas would finish with 269 all-purpose yards followed by Haygood with 161 all-purpose yards. Langford totaled 69 yards on 13 carries before leaving the game early in the second half.
The Camden Fairview Cardinals (0-1) will be on the road next Friday as they take on their rivals in the El Dorado Wildcats in the first annual 7 South Showdown rivalry.