The Crossett Eagles are conference champions for the first time since 2003.
Though the season isn’t over yet, because the Eagles are undefeated and have already beaten the one-loss Warren Jacks, the final score of the game against Star City won’t change the conference results.
This is the first time since the 2003 football season that the Eagles have won the conference title.
They secured the title by shutting Helena-West Helena, aka the Central Cougars, on the road Friday night 29-0.
The Eagles started the night by scoring on their opening drive. Quarterback Justin Stokes completed a 23-yard pass to Tyrique Jones for a first down, followed by short runs by Willie Taylor. The Eagles were fourth-and-one when a Central penalty gave them a first down and moved them from the Central 14 yard line to the seven. Jackson Moore ran the ball into the endzone on the next play and the Eagles led 6-0 with only a few minutes gone from the clock.
The Eagles kicked back to the Cougars, but shut them down with only a gain of three yards.
The Crossett offense took the field on their own 32 yard line. Jaylan Lawson had several short runs, eventually making it all the way to the Central 35 yard line before a few incomplete passes forced the Eagles to turn the ball over on downs.
The Cougars got a little further than three yards on this drive, but not much. They went for it on fourth-and-two as the clock was rolling into the second quarter and managed to move the ball nine yards. Stops by Deuce Hall and Lamonte Gillium kept them from advancing any further. They were fourth and five when Dylan Coody made a stop that brought the Eagle offense back to the field.
The Eagles were forced to punt on fourth and fifteen, but the Eagle defense took the field and kept the Cougars out of Eagle territory.
The Cougars punted back to the Eagles and they started another drive that would end with a score.
The Eagles were third-and-nine on the Cougar 36 yard line when Stokes completed a pass to Jackson Moore for a 36-yard touchdown. Willie Taylor made it back into the end zone for a two-point conversion and the Eagles were up 14-0 with five minutes to play to the half.
Jones kicked off to the Cougars, but on the first play of their drive, Deeraymond Herman forced and recovered a fumble, bringing the Eagle offense right back out.
The Cougar defense didn’t allow the Eagles to move, and after a failed attempt on fourth-and-seven they turned the ball back over to the Cougars on the Central 26 yard line.
After only one play, Deeraymond Herman forced another Cougar fumble and the Eagles recovered it.
The Eagles were forced to punt and the Central offense started a drive that was ended by the half-time buzzer.
After the break, Jones kicked off to the Cougars and the Eagle defense held them to a punt.
The Eagle drive started on their own 31-yard line and in eight plays they pushed their way to the Central 26-yard line.
An incomplete pass on fourth-and-sixteen forced the Eagles to turn over the ball.
The Eagle defense took the field and though the Cougars made it 59 yards, they were kept out of the end zone.
The Cougars were second-and-thirteen when a stop by Brady Lofton and Dwight Ashford put them at third-and -long.
On the next play, they completed a 45 yard pass and made it all the way to the Eagle 38 yard line before Denzel Watkins stopped the forward progress.
A personal foul penalty moved them even deeper in Eagle territory and they were first-and-10 on the Crossett 23.
Stops by Jaedon Williams, Korell Lindsey and Herman kept them out of the end zone, however. They were fourth-and-two when the Eagle defense forced another fumble.
The Eagle offense took the field and in just two plays made it back to the end zone. Crossett was second-and-fifteen on their own 10 yard line when Stokes completed a 90-yard touchdown pass to Dewayne Ashford.
The extra point kick was no good, but the Eagles still led 20-0 with less than a minute to play in the third quarter.
The Cougar offense came onto the field for three plays and then punted right back to the Eagles. Crossett started on their own 44 yard line and in five plays Taylor moved the ball to the Cougar 18.
A penalty moved the Eagles back, but then a 37-yard touchdown pass from Stokes to Dewayne Ashford put the Eagles back in the end zone.
Chase Rice kicked in the extra point and the Eagles led 27-0 with seven minutes to go in the game.
The Cougar offense came out again, but on third-and-13 Brandon Mayweather forced a fumble, giving the Eagles the ball in the red zone.
An Eagle fumble gave the ball right back to Central and the Eagle defense came back out.
They were on their own 26-yard line when a combination of the Eagle defense and Cougar penalties pushed Central back to the one yard line.
This set the Eagle defense up to get a safety and on fourth and thirty five, Herman and Deuce Hall tackled a Cougar in the end zone for two points.
The score was 29-0 with only four minutes to go.
Crossett started a drive but punted on fourth and 22 with only three minutes to play.
When they punted back to Central the Eagles forced another fumble and took back over until the clock ran out.
The Eagles not only celebrated a shut out against a team that beat them 45-25 last year, but celebrated a game that solidified their conference title as well.
The Eagles have now won six conference games in a row with only one regular season game left to play.
Along with conference titles usually comes bragging rights and a sudden influx of welcomed fans, but the title also guarantees Crossett an off week during round one of the playoffs and home field advantage in round two of the playoffs.
Round 1 will be Nov. 15 and Round 2 will be Nov. 22.
Though the Eagles don’t yet know who the opponent will be, Crossett will kick off at Yarborough field on Nov. 22 for Round 2.
Crosett will host the Star City Bulldogs on Thursday night.
The senior ceremony will begin about 6:20 p.m. with kickoff at 7 p.m.