PEARCY, Ark. — Playing the top-ranked football team in Class 6A back-to-back prove to be too big a challenge for No. 2 Little Rock Parkview.
The Patriots upset Greenwood last week, which was No. 1 until that loss. Parkview had an opportunity to capture the top spot Friday night in the rain at Wolf Stadium, but couldn’t stop Lake Hamilton’s running game in a 24-10 setback that keeps the Wolves on top in the rankings.
It was junior Justin Crutchmer stepping up once again for Lake Hamilton, since replacing injured senior Owen Miller at running back. The 185-pound Crutchmer was the game’s leading rusher with 173 yards on 16 carries, including a 19-yard scoring run in the second quarter. His six-pointer made it 14-0 at halftime.
“Justin and all the others played well tonight,” said winning coach Tommy Gilleran. “Overall, I thought we played well the entire game. Justin is a big weapon for us. He can catch passes, run the ball, return punts, and he’s a great defender.”
Crutchmer shines both ways against Parkview
Crutchmer and teammate Gavin Robbins led a strong defensive effort by the Wolves, and arguably had four of the biggest solo tackles in the game.
“When Owen went down I knew I’d be OK going both ways,” said Crutchmer. “I do admit I was really tired in the fourth quarter. I guess I’m a little bit surprised how well things have gone for me, but you’ve got to remember I run behind a great offensive line.
“Owen talks to me before every game, and helps me with plays at practice.”
Crutchmer also wrestles for Lake Hamilton. He was ranked sixth in the nation as a sophomore. Division I powers like Oklahoma State and Iowa State might be interested in the Wolves’ young wrestler, but he wants to play football in college.”
Penalties delay Wolves’ fast start
Lake Hamilton took the game’s opening kickoff, piling up more than 100 yards in stats. Unfortunately, a sack and two holding penalties (one nullifying a 36-yard pass completion) cost the Wolves 68 yards, and they didn’t put any points on the scoreboard.
That changed the next possession after a quick three-and-out for the Patriots. Lake Hamilton converted a third-and-36 situation on a 32-yard run by Crutchmer and an offsides penalty on Parkview. Senior fullback Tevin Hughes plowed over from three yards with 5:46 left in the first quarter.
Parkview came out and dominated most of the third quarter behind senior James Jointer, ranked among the best backs in Arkansas. The Patriots’ first score was set up by a Lake Hamilton fumble. Senior quarterback Jaylon White scrambled in from eight yards on a fourth-and-goal play with 5:48 left in the third period. The PAT attempt was no good.
The Wolves had great field position the entire second half, but didn’t capitalize until a 49-yard run by Crutchmer got LH out of its own red zone. Senior quarterback Grant Bearden plunged over on a sneak with 9:43 left in the game.
Senior kicker Alex Hurtz added a 29-yard field goal with 2:19 left. He missed a 45-yard attempt in the third quarter.
Patriots score late on 80-yard bomb
The Patriots’ two quarterbacks (sophomore Eric McGehee and White) completed 5 of 19 passes. Both had several passes dropped, but senior Parker Perry hauled in a bomb from White, turning the play into an 80-yard touchdown 13 seconds after Hurtz’s field goal.
Lake Hamilton (5-0) finished with 296 yards on the ground, with Bearden completing 2 of 4 passes for 30 yards. Hughes and Crutchmer had the two receptions.
Parkview (3-2) gained 46 total yards in the first half, but outgained the Wolves 162-107 in the final two quarters.
Russellville visits Pearcy next week, while Parkview travels to Benton, which might be ranked second in the next poll.