It is rare to see all three Ouachita County teams high school football teams play at home on a Friday night. It is even more rare to have all three teams win at home that same night. On Friday, all three county teams walked off the field with victories.
The Camden Fairview Cardinals (3-2) rebounded from their tough road loss to Lakeside by winning a tough defensive battle over Arkansas High School 28-8. The Harmony Grove Hornets (4-2) got their consecutive win by completing a huge comeback 33-28 win over the Walnut Ridge Bobcats. Finally, the Bearden Bears (2-4) got their second win of the season with a 20-14 win over their rivals in the Hampton Bulldogs.
The Cardinals took on the Razorbacks where the game was surprisingly in favor of the defensive side of the ball. Camden Fairview got to a 6-0 lead at halftime before outscoring Texarkana 22-8 in the second half.
The Cardinals outgained the Razorbacks in total yards accounted for 334-to-213. The game kicked with an interception from junior safety Ronald Buckhanan for a 78-yard return for a touchdown.
Cardinals junior quarterback Darrell Atkins Jr. was the most effective player on the offensive side of the ball. Atkins completed 9-of-17 of his passes for 169 yards while also rushing for 127 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.
The Hornets knew they would have a tough game on their hands in the final non-conference game of the season. Walnut Ridge took a 21-14 lead into extended its lead 28-14 at the end of the third quarter.
Harmony Grove and Walnut Ridge were engaged in one of the most thrilling games this season. 19 total points were scored as well as two touchdowns in the final nine seconds of the game.
With the Hornets down 28-27 with seconds left and the ball at the Bobcats' 41-yard line, Hornets quarterback Caleb Johnson delivered a deep pass to an open sophomore wide receiver Damien Burns to put Harmony Grove up 33-28 with one second left in the game.
Johnson completed 12-of-24 of his passes for 197 yards and four touchdowns while also rushing for 66 yards on five carries. Senior wide receiver Landon Garrett was a huge asset and a weapon for Johnson as he caught four receptions for 114 yards and three touchdowns.
Not a lot of teams had a better Friday night than the Bearden Bears, who defeated their rivals in Hampton. What is even more special for the Bears is that the win was the first home win since 2020 when the Bears defeated Strong 48-8.
Hampton jumped to an 8-0 lead at halftime thanks to a fumble that was returned for a touchdown. After halftime, Bears quarterback Bryce Whisenhunt got his team on the board thanks to a six-yard rushing touchdown. Hampton countered back with an interception from backup quarterback Hudson Clark that was returned for a touchdown. On the following kickoff, Bears returner Valentine Gonzalez returned the kickoff for a 65-yard touchdown to lessen the score to 14-12.
Several drives later in the fourth quarter, Whisenhunt extended a drive with a few solid runs of 16 yards and 15-yards. The drive was highlighted by a 25-yard breakout run by Gonzalez. Whisenhunt's run for a successful two-point conversion to bring the score 20-14.
"Proud of how my guys responded in the second half," head coach Brandon Austin said. "They found some rhythm offensively and got some big plays from special teams."