MALVERN, Ar. — A Malvern coach described the Leopards’ football game with 4A’s top-ranked Arkadelphia “A Perfect Storm.”
The Badgers made their own breaks Saturday afternoon at Claude Mann Stadium for the most part. Quarterback Donovan Whitten ran for a touchdown and passed for three more in leading Arkadelphia past the Leopards, 49-13.
“Our coaches had the kids ready today,” said winning coach Trey Schucker. “They came up with a game plan, and the kids executed really, really well. It was a good team win, and our defense stood out. Our defense did what they’ve been doing all season. I’m really proud of the guys.
“Donovan is a great player and has done a good job of leading our offense. If I was unhappy with anything, it was the penalties we had. We’ve got to play with better discipline and technique.”
Arkadelphia rides Whitten’s arm
Arkadelphia (8-0, 5-0) scored 86 seconds into the game on a 25-yard run by Whitten, who completed 10 of 18 passes for 229 yards. He also ran for 54 yards on eight totes.
It appeared a packed house was in store for a shootout when Malvern answered on a 7-yard run by Jalen Dupree. However, the PAT attempt was blocked, and the Badgers would be up 42-6 before the Leopards would score again on a 50-yard pass from senior signal-caller Cedric Simmons to Dyelon Caradine.
The lopsided win for the Badgers was on when Whitten passed nine yards to Latonnieo Hughes for six points with 2:05 left in the first quarter.
That lead grew to 28-6 at intermission. Whitten threw a 23-yard scoring pass, followed up by a 25-yarder to Tripp Campbell.
Kyle Reed led the Badgers’ ground game with 69 yards on eight carries. His 23-yard scoring run with 9:27 remaining in the third quarter made it 35-6. Kelton Wilson scored on a 3-yard run with 58 seconds left.
Malvern (7-2, 4-1) scored in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter, but Wilson’s second TD silenced the Leopards’ celebration.
Arkadelphia will play Clinton in the first round of the playoffs next week, with Malvern hosting Pottsville.