GREENBRIER — The game slipped away from Vilonia on Thursday night about the time Michael Atkinson slipped on fourth down.
In the scrap for the First Service Cup (former Judge’s Cup), the Eagles, who have had trouble all season with snaps on punts, gambled on fourth and inches at their 15 with the scored tied at 35. Atkinson slipped just as he cut.
Greenbrier took over and a play later, Seth Peters passed 17 yards to a wide-open Austin Fischer to give the Panthers for good in a 48-35 victory in a rivalry game that Vilonia had a two-touchdown lead twice at Don Jones Stadium.
The victory secured not only a trophy but the first 10-0 season in Greenbrier history. The Panthers completed a 7-0 run through 5A-West and will be a No. 1 seed and host a playoff game next week.
The Eagles (6-3, 4-3), who had six turnovers, will go into the playoffs as the league’s No. 4 seed and will likely travel to Pulaski Academy.
Peters, who started erratically turned an interception by Jesse May into a 15-yard keeper to give Greenbrier a 48-35 advantage with 38 seconds left in the third quarter, a period in which the Panthers scored 28 points.
Vilonia opened the second half by driving to Atkinson’s 1-yard touchdown run to take a 35-21 lead with 10:02 left in the third quarter.
Greenbrier, using runs and passes by Peters, drove 72 yards in nine plays for Fischer’s 1-yard touchdown to draw within 35-28 with 6:49 left in third quarter. The Panthers recovered a fumbled snap on the Vilonia 29 and after a 20-yard pass from Peters to Fischer, tied the score at 35 with 4:27 left in the third quarter.
The Eagles prevailed in an exchange of turnovers the first half taking a 28-21 lead.
Vilonia intercepted Peters three times in taking a 21-7 advantage, then recovered Peters’ fumble that set it up deep in Greenbrier territory late in the first half.
Willis passed 16 yards to Chase Marshall, then connected for 7 yards to Atkinson to give the Eagles a 28-21 lead with 23 seconds in the half.
Greenbrier used a fumble recovery by Jesse May that led to a 75-yard for its first touchdown, which came on a 10-yard pass from Peters to Austin Fischer with 6:57 left in the first quarter.
The Eagles drove 80 yards in 10 plays, capped by Atkinson’s 5-yard run to tie the game at 7 with 2:15 left in the first quarter to tie the score at 7.
Kyle Wyatt intercepted a pass, then switched to quarterback and scored on a 1-yard sneak to give Vilonia a 14-7 lead early in the second quarter. An interception by Drew Estes that was returned to the Greenbrier 12. It set up Atkinson’s 8-yard run for a 21-7 lead with 9:04 left in the second quarter.
The Panthers resorted to some short passes to build Peters’ confidence and he began to do some damage with his feet.
His 15-yard touchdown run capped an 80-yard draw to draw Greenbrier within 21-14 with 5:08 left in the half. A leaping interception by Kevin Reynolds led to a 4-yard touchdown run by Peters to tie the score at 21 with 3:42 left in the first half.
In other games involving Faulkner County teams, Conway mercy-ruled Little Rock Catholic, Bigelow held off Conway Christian and Mayflower won another high-scoring game.
At John McConnell Stadium, the Cats’ Jeff Anderson scored four touchdowns and Matt Cummins booted a 52-yard field goal as Conway dominated the fuel-less Rockets.
The Cats (7-2, 5-2) will go into the state playoffs as the No. 2 seed from the Central Conference. They enter the playoffs as a No. 3 seed and will host a first-round game against either Rogers or Rogers Heritage Friday, Nov. 9.
Cummins booted field goals of 27 and 52 yards as the Cats took a 27-0 lad at ther half.
Anderson scored on runs of 8, 7 and 2 yards in the first half as the Cats closed with the 52-yard field goal by Cummins.
The Conway back scored his fourth touchdown on a 4-yard run in the third quarter. Cody Rhoades passed to Brandon Cox to give Conway a 41-0 lead in the third quarter.
At Mission Field, Bigelow built a 28-18 halftime lead then held off a Conway Christian comeback in the fourth quarter for a 41-38 victory in a back-and-forth second half.
The Panthers (8-1, 6-1) clinched second place in 2A-5. CCS (7-2, 5-3) will go into the state playoffs as the third seed from the conference.
Bigelow plowed through the Eagles for 513 yards on the ground. CCS’s Tanner Stevenson completed 22 of 38 passes for 348 yards. Andrew Dather caught seven of those passes for 146 yards.
For Bigelow, Terrell Dunlap rushed for 279 yards on 31 carries.
The Eagles scored in the first quarter on passes of 6 yards from Stevenson to Ferrand and 7 ytards to Jonathon Antonio.
They scored in the scored quarter on a 37-yard pass from Stevenson to Dather.
Bigelow counter with touchdown runs of 2 and 1 yards by Austin Turner and runs of 62 and 80 yards by Dunlap.
In the third quarter, Stevenson passed 31 yards to Ferrand for a touchdown then Jarrett Bowden scored on a 4-yard run to cap a 96-yard drive for a 30-28 lead with 11:59 early in the fourth quarter.
Turner’s 14-yard run regained the lead for the Panthers with a 14-yard run in the fourth quarter. CCS regained the lead when Bowden ran 9 yards for another score.
The Panthers drove 48 yards in three plays for the deciding touchdown — a 6-yard run by Dunlap.
At Mayflower, the Eagles ended the regular season winning another shootout with a 69-42 victory over Rose Bud.
Mayflower closed with two straight victories in high scoring games — against Episcopal Collegiate and the Ramblers.
Mayflower (5-5, 4-3) will enter the playoffs as the fourth seed from 2-3A.