SPRINGDALE -- Bentonville High had to go the full 40 yards to break a tie, and only 40.5 seconds to pull off the feat.
The Tigers did it with little room to spare. Easton Hughes and Dylan Smith connected for an 8-yard touchdown pass with 0.9 seconds remaining, and Bentonville claimed a 29-23 victory over Shiloh Christian to close out Friday's pool play during the Southwest Elite 7on7 Showcase at Champions Stadium.
"That's what you love about these 7-on-7s," Bentonville coach Jody Grant said. "It gives your offense an opportunity to be in 2-minute situations. We were under a minute left and had a timeout, and we had to go score to get a win.
"You try to put your kids in situations like that so they've done it before Friday night. We were fortunate to get that opportunity."
Hughes had thrown the full 40 yards for a trio of touchdown passes earlier in the game, including his bomb to Harrison Campbell as Bentonville bounced back from a 17-7 deficit to take a 23-17 lead with under 5 minutes to play. Shiloh Christian, however, responded with an eight-play drive and tied the game on Eli Reese's 8-yard touchdown pass to Truitt Tollett, but the Saints couldn't complete the 5-yard pass for the one-point conversion and the lead.
Bentonville caught a break when a defensive holding penalty negated a play when Hughes was called for holding the ball more than the 4-second time limit in which a quarterback had to throw the ball after it was snapped. That gave the Tigers a second-and-10 play instead of a third-and-15 situation, and Bentonville later converted a first down before Hughes hit Smith with the game-winner.
Shiloh Christian was left with time for one last play, but Reece's long throw was well out of reach of his receiver as time expired.
"Both teams competed hard, and it came down to the last drive," Saints coach Jeff Conaway said. "It was a fun game. I hate the way it ended, but we're trying to compete and get better. I think that was the case.
"It was a good drive on Bentonville's part. I wished our defense made one more play and found a way to finish that, especially on a third down. They had a third-down conversion that was tough. If we could have got them off the field there, that game could have turned out differently."
The Southwest Elite 7on7 Showcase turns to tournament play today as Bentonville will open again... Click here to read full article
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette