Rivercrest beats Harding Academy to win 3A State Championship

Little Rock (AP) - Demoine Brown accounted for 140 yards and had the clinching interception as Rivercrest defeated Harding Academy 14-10 Saturday to win the Class 3A state football championship.

Brown ran for 88 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries and he threw for 52 yards for the Colts (15-0), who won their first state title since 1985. It's the second football championship in school history.

"I can't put it into words," Rivercrest coach Kelly Chandler said. "I feel extremely satisfied that these guys got what they deserved. They deserve everything they get, and I'm so happy for them."

Harding Academy (12-2) took a 10-7 lead in the third quarter when Joshua Spears connected on a 31-yard field goal. Rivercrest answered with a 12-play, 74-yard scoring drive, capped by Trevor Gregory's 1-yard run that gave the Colts a 14-10 lead.

The Wildcats were driving in the closing minutes, but Brown intercepted Harding Academy quarterback Seth Keese on fourth-and-17 near midfield to secure the win. Keese led the Wildcats with 98 yards rushing on 22 carries and 118 yards passing.

"It's awesome," Brown said. "We've been waiting all year, trying to go out 15-0 and give us a ring before we leave. It's a nice way to top it off."

Brown opened the scoring in the first quarter with a 3-yard run. The touchdown capped a 10-play, 61-yard drive that was highlighted by a 37-yard pass from Brown to Terrance Banks.

The Wildcats answered in the second quarter with a 10-play drive of their own. Two plays after Keese connected with Jay Bona for a 27-yard pass to the Rivercrest 4, Benjamin Lecrone scored on a 3-yard run to tie the game at 7.

Harding Academy opened the second half with a 12-play, 66-yard drive that took more than six minutes off the clock. The drive eventually stalled out at the Rivercrest 14, but Spears hit his 31-yard field goal into a driving wind to give the Wildcats their first lead at 14-10.

The lead lasted only one possession as the Colts drove 74 yards and went ahead for good on Gregory's touchdown run.

"They were attacking us on the weak side, and they just did a great job," Harding Academy coach Roddy Mote said. "They didn't turn the ball over, put together and drive and we couldn't get the stop we needed to get. It just wasn't our night."