By John R. Schirmer
Some might have thought it was a basketball score.
Others could have said, “That can’t be right.”
But for those who left Scrapper Stadium after 11 o’clock Friday night, the numbers on the scoreboard said it all. Nashville 91, Idabel 63.
The Scrappers rolled up 13 touchdowns and 13 PATs against the Warriors, who fought back relentlessly. Between them, Nashville and Idabel put up 154 points, a tie for the most combined points ever scored in an Arkansas high school game, according to figures from the Arkansas Activities Association.
Even though the two scores put together tied the state record, Nashville didn’t break its own scoring mark. In 1937, the Scrappers recorded 106 points against the Dierks Outlaws, the highest point production ever for Nashville.
Coach Mike Volarvich has seen some high-scoring games from his days as offensive coordinator at Henderson State and other stops before coming to Nashville. But, “I’ve never scored 91 points before. I’ve been in several games similar to that. I’ve [been on] teams that scored in the 80s quite a few times,” Volarvich said Monday morning.
He was also on a junior college team that won a championship 75-71 in regulation.
Friday night’s Scrapper win was “an exciting game. As a fan, it must have been good to watch,” Volarvich said.
“Idabel had some good players. They have a good team. They’ve gone two or three rounds deep in the playoffs. [Quarterback Tyriq French and receiver Tyrone Howell] are two of the better players we’ll see all year.”
Volarvich said he was “surprised at how well they lateraled the ball. They scored 3 touchdowns when the guy was almost down. They pitched it back 10 times, and the ball never hit the ground. They made it a positive. That’s 21 points right there. All 3 touchdowns were either third or fourth down that would have been a punt or turn the ball over on downs.”
The game saw the Scrappers “get ahead a little, then it went back and forth. I had a couple of people ask about scoring 91 points. We were never in a comfortable situation. They still had all their starters in. They could score” at any time, Volarvich said.
The Scrapper offensive line “did a good job. Anytime you put up the stats we did, it starts up front.”
Darius Hopkins scored 8 touchdowns on 19 carries.
“It might have been unnoticed, but Trent Harris had his best game of the year,” Volarvich said. He ran for 190 yards and 2 touchdowns.
For the night, 11 of the Scrappers’ 13 TDs came rushing the ball.
“As an offense, we played well as a group. Dominick Kight had a TD catch. CJ Spencer made a great 1-handed touchdown catch. Ty Pettway had a fantastic running touchdown that was called back. Jhalon Finley had his first TD on a run. Zack Jamison played really hard. Our offense was a team effort,” Volarvich said.
Defensively, Hunter White was the leading tackler with 16 total and 3 tackles for losses. “He’s been our leading tackler all 3 games. He’s very solid.”
Garrett Gordon recorded 13 tackles.
The Scrapper defenders were on the field for 80 plays. “That goes hand in hand with scoring a lot of points. With the quickness we scored in, the defense was in a bad position. They didn’t get much of a chance to catch their breath” before going back on the field,” Volarvich said. “We had a lot of guys take a lot of snaps.”
For the Scrappers, scoring began early in the game. Nashville scored on the first 2 possessions after consecutive turnovers by Idabel. “We jumped out kind of early and were able to build a lead. I thought we could score as long as we didn’t have turnovers or penalties,” Volarvich said.
Harris opened the scoring on a 50-yard TD run. Jose Hernandez kicked the first of his 13 PATs to give Nashville a 7-0 lead.
Hopkins scored on the net possession off a 1-yard run, and Nashville had a quick 14-0 lead.
Idabel then scored on a 29-yard TD pass and made the 2-point conversion, cutting the lead to 14-8.
Hopkins responded with a 3-yard scoring run, and Idabel came back with a 44-yard TD run of its own. The first quarter ended with Nashville on top 21-15.
The scoring onslaught continued in the second quarter. Hopkins recorded TD runs of 35, 42, 46 yards and 4 yards. Spencer caught a 25-yard scoring pass from Tyler Hanson. Idabel added 3 TDs of its own, and Nashville went into halftime on top 56-36.
When the teams headed to the locker room around 9:30 p.m., Volarvich realized that “most games in the state were over by the time we got to halftime.”
Both teams scored twice in the third quarter. Nashville TDs came on a 69-yard run by Hopkins and a 44-yard run by Harris. The score after 3 – Nashville 70, Idabel 49.
But the game was nowhere near over. Kight scored early in the fourth quarter on a 29-yard pass from Hanson. Finley added a TD on a 33-yard run, and Hopkins ended the Scrapper scoring by running the ball 11 yards for a TD. Idabel added 2 touchdowns for the final score of 91-63.
For the night, the Scrappers scored on all but one of their possessions. Nashville had 56 total plays on offense to 80 for Idabel.
The Scrappers rolled up 747 yards total offense, including 238 passing and 509 rushing.
Nashville converted on 4 of 7 third downs for 57 percent and 2 of 3 fourth downs for 67 percent. Idabel converted on 50 percent of third downs and 80 percent of fourth downs, including the laterals after the quarterback looked to be down but wasn’t.
Nashville did not commit a turnover. The Warriors lost 2 fumbles and threw an interception.
The Scrappers were penalized 9 times for 86 yards. Idabel had 7 penalties for 45 yards.
Hanson completed 12 of 16 passes for 238 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Hopkins ran the ball 19 times for 269 yards and 8 touchdowns. Harris had 12 carries for 190 yards and 2 TDs. Finley ran once for 33 yards and a touchdown. Hanson carried 8 times for 17 yards.
Pettway was the leading receiver with 6 catches for 104 yards. Kight had 4 receptions for 94 yards and a touchdown. Spencer made 1 catch for 25 yards and a TD. Harris had 1 reception for 15 yards.
Defensively, White made 13 solo tackles, had 3 assists and 3 TFLs.
Austin Gibbs and Dennis Scott each made 8 tackles and had 1 assist a piece.
Gordon had 8 solo tackles, 5 assists. Kailus Hughes recorded 7 tackles and 2 assists. Mace Green had 4 solo, 4 assists and 1 TFL. Jordan White had 4 solo, 4 assists. Kaleb Carpenter, Xavier Nunally, D. Holmes, Hopkins, Dalton Smead, Michael Bevill, Marquell McFalls, Spencer and Shun Childress rounded out the tackling for the Scrappers.
White and Nunally had a fumble recovery a piece. Kight intercepted the Warrior pass.
Three Scrappers recorded kickoff returns, including Harris with 2 for 40 yards, Hopkins with 2 for 49 yards and Kight with 1 for 14 yards.
White returned 1 Idabel punt for 12 yards. The Scrappers did not punt against the Warriors.