Defense sparks Bombers past Cyclones in 24-7 win



Story Courtesy of KTLO.

The Mountain Home defense stole the show Friday night, as the Bombers posted a 24-7 victory over the Russellville Cyclones in the home finale at Bomber Stadium.

In a game that featured two high-scoring offenses, the Bomber defense rose up to set the tone for first-year head coach Steve Ary’s team in a 6A-West Conference victory.

The win boosts Mountain Home to 5-4 on the season and even in conference play at 3-3. The Bombers travel to War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock on Friday for a winner-take-all game for the conference’s No. 4 seed against the Parkview Patriots (6-1, 3-1). Parkview was a 37-0 winner over Siloam Springs on Friday night.

Mountain Home was dominating defensively, forcing Russellville into eight three-and-out series on the night, including five straight to start the ballgame.

The Bombers took a 7-0 lead less than three minutes into the contest when Bryce McKay’s 41-yard run sat up Gage Hershberger for a 2-yard touchdown plunge with 9:35 left in the first quarter.

Mountain Home threatened again in the second quarter, driving the ball all the way to the Russellville 7-yard line before turning the ball over on a fumble. Mountain Home would get the ball back and go up 14-0 with 9:05 remaining in the first half on a 25-yard touchdown reception by Logen Walker.

Russellville countered with its only score of the night when a Brayden Whitford’s pass went just over the hands of a Bomber defender and into the arms of Elijah Clark, who raced 77 yards for a touchdown.

Riding their strong defensive effort, the Bombers began to salt the game away in the third quarter, going up 21-7, after Brock Bogy’s 2-yard scoring run. Mountain Home ran 16 offensive plays to just three for Russellville in the first 5:36 of the third quarter, thanks to a three-and-out and fumble recovery on a muffed punt.

Mountain Home would continue to come up with big defensive stops throughout the second half, including interceptions by Brody Patterson and Tatem Beshears, the latter sealing the win in the game’s final minutes.

The Bombers outgained the Cyclones 328-169 in total offense, with 77 of Russellville’s yards coming on the scoring play. The Cyclones passed for 197 yards, but Mountain Home forced nine negative-yardage plays and limited Russellville to minus-28 yards rushing. The Bombers allowed just seven first downs in the contest, three of which came on the final drive when Mountain Home employed a prevent defense.

McKay led the Bombers with 126 yards rushing on 28 carries, while Hershberger ran 30 times for 111 yards. McKay was 5 of 14 passing for 64 yards, with Walker hauling in three catches for 48 yards.