Defense Leads Fayetteville to 31-20 Win in 7A Title Game

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For the second straight year Daryl Patton has proven he knows how to get his kids prepared to win when it matters most. Fayetteville beat Bentonville 31-20 to win the 7A State Championship Saturday night, making it back-to-back years where Patton’s guys have lost to the Tigers in the regular season but beat them in the Championship.

“They’re a veteran ball club,” said Fayetteville head coach Daryl Patton. “Nothing really rattles them. They try to win each play and they never got rattled. They had that Bulldog pride tonight.”

After Bentonville took an early lead 7-0 it could have been the same result as their Nov. 2 meeting. Instead Fayetteville responded and tied the game up at seven going into the half.

In the third quarter Fayetteville jumped up 14-7 on an Austin Allen quarterback scramble. Then, perhaps, the play of the game happened late in the third. Jordan Dennis intercepted Bentonville quarterback Reece Dollins and took it back for a touchdown. Fayetteville took a 21-7 lead.

Bentonville then battled back in the fourth quarter. Dollins hit Nate Gneiting for 7 yards to make it 21-14.

With two minutes remaining, Bentonville found itself with a 4th and 20 down 24-20. That’s when Fayetteville’s defense made its biggest stand.  Cole Harris returned an interception 34 yards for a touchdown. That put the game out of reach and gave the Bulldogs their second straight title win over Bentonville.