North Little Rock Charges to State Title


North Little Rock completed the perfect season on Saturday, defeating Bentonville, 44-37, to win the Class 7A state championship.

It was redemption for the Charging Wildcats, who reached the title game a year ago, but fell to Fayetteville.

Trailing by one point heading into the fourth quarter, the Charging Wildcats exploded for three scores in the final act, including a 68-yard touchdown pass from David Chapple to Aaron Griffin, to put North Little Rock on top, 37-30, with 5:34 remaining. Within the final minute, the Charging Wildcats' defense held off a late Bentonville drive to capture the team's first state title since 1970.

Sophomore running back Brandon Thomas led North Little Rock with 23 carries for 199 yards and two touchdowns. North Little Rock amassed five rushing touchdowns in the win.

North Little Rock's win marked the first time since 2006 that a team from outside Northwest Arkansas claimed the Class 7A championship and the first time since 2004 that a team from Central Arkansas captured the crown.

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© 2016 by Mark Oliver