Photo: Richey Miller, clearchoicephoto.com
Junior Fayetteville cornerback Dre Greenlaw is one of the most dangerous players in the 7A-West. He had scored three non-offensive touchdowns going into Friday’s contest at Rogers Heritage, and with the game in question with 1:49 remaining, he scored his fourth.
Trailing Heritage 27-21 after a 45-yard field goal by Eric Grom, Greenlaw, who also had an interception, returned the War Eagles’ kickoff 92-yards down the left sideline to lift the Bulldogs to a 28-27 victory over Heritage at Gates Stadium.
With the victory, Fayetteville improved to 6-0 overall and 3-0 in conference play. Heritage fell to 3-3 overall and 1-2 in the 7A-West.
The Bulldogs struggled much of the night with penalties, and an inopportune third-quarter turnover in War Eagle territory when defensive end Colby Isbell stripped the ball from Bulldog running back Devonte Smith allowed Heritage to take a 17-14 lead on a six-yard touchdown run by War Eagle Brandon Gates with 9:37 left in the third quarter.
Fayetteville quarterback Mitch Marshall connected on two consecutive passes to C.J. O’Grady and another to Jordan Dennis in an attempt to answer Heritage’s score. However Isbell lined up wide at his end spot and rushed unblocked to sack Marshall for a 16-yard loss.
Fired up by the sack, Heritage kept grinding, moving the ball down the field with tough runs by Gates and short passes by quarterback Josh Qualls. Heritage took further command of the game when Qualls connected with tight end Micca Brown for a 3-yard touchdown pass with :48 left in the third quarter for a 24-14 lead.
Fayetteville answered with 10:24 left in the fourth quarter, when Marshall directed a 63-yard touchdown drive, using the skills of Terrell Tyson, Jordan Dennis and C.J. O’Grady. After the Bulldogs overcame two consecutive penalties, O’Grady scored on a 15-yard pass from Marshall to move Fayetteville within 24-21.
The Buldogs held Heritage to a three-and-punt and went back to work in an attempt to take the lead, but the War Eagles held on a fourth and 1 at the 50.
Grom gave Heritage a cushion hitting a 45-yard field goal into the wind for a 28-21 lead with 2:09 left to play.
But his ensuing kickoff missed the end zone by eight yards, and Greenlaw made Heritage pay with his game-saving return.
Marshall completed 16 of 25 passes for 260 yards and three touchdowns for the Bulldogs, while Qualls completed 20 of 30 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns.
Dennis caught 7 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown, O’Grady had 5 catches for 62 yards and two touchdowns for Fayetteville, while Brown made 7 catches for 93 yards and Joey Saucier made 5 catches for 76 yards.
Gates led the War Eagles in rushing with 24 carries for 96 yards, while Smith led the Bulldogs with 43 yards on 11 carries.
Fayetteville returns to Harmon Stadium on Oct. 18 to play host to Rogers, while Heritage plays host to Bentonville.
Score By Quarters
HER: Qualls 30-yard pass to Spickes (Kick good), 2:33.
FAY: Marshall 31-yard pass to Dennis (kick good), 1:33.
HER: Grom 43-yard field goal, 1:19
FAY: Marshall 2-yard pass to O’Grady, 39.
HER: Gates 5-yard run (kick good), 9:37
HER: Qualls 3-yard pass to Brown (Kick good), :48.
FAY: Marshall 15-yard pass to O’Grady (Kick good), 10:24.
HER: Grom 45-yard field goal, 2:09.
FAY: Greenlaw 92-yard kick-off return (Kick good), 1:49