LITTLE ROCK (KFSM)-- The 7A state championship game between Bentonville and North Little Rock lived up to the hype and was a nail-biter until the very end, but the Charging Wildcats came away as the 7A state champs edging the Tigers 44-37 on Saturday at War Memorial Stadium.
The Charging Wildcats become the first 7A State Champions from outside the 7A-West since 2004, and was also North Little Rock's first state title since 1972. North Little Rock Sophomore running back Brandon Thomas was named the most valuable player after rushing for 199 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries.
Bentonville (10-3) started off fast against North Little Rock (13-0), but the Charging Wildcats had the finally say. In the fourth quarter David Chapple's 68-yard pass to Aaron Griffin and Brandon Thomas' two-point conversion run gave NLR the 37-30 lead with under six minutes remaining. Tyler Day's 13-yard touchdown run gave the Charging Wildcats enough breathing room. Bentonville made a late rally in the final minute, Easton Hughes threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Johnson to put the Tigers within 44-37. In a last ditch effort Hughes tried to get a play off with two seconds left, but time ran out for Bentonville.