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Vilonia 35, Alma 8

By Kevin Taylor
Alma Schools 
 
ALMA   Vilonia coach Todd Langrell felt like his team's 14-0 halftime lead felt much bigger. 
 
But he also knew the Alma Airedales were two plays away. 
 
The Eagles scored two clinching touchdowns Friday while coasting to a key 35-8 5A-West victory. 
 
Vilonia (4-2, 3-1) will host Morrilton next week. 
 
Alma, which was held to just 44 first-half yards before coming to life in the third quarter, dropped to 1-6 overall and 0-4 in the league. 
 
"Defensively, we played pretty well in the first half but we couldn't put the nail in the coffin, it seems like, and the second half we went out and played well," Langrell said. "It was a good win for us."
 
Alma was already behind the eight-ball after losing running back Logan Chronister for four to six weeks with an ankle injury last week. They gifted Vilonia two first-half touchdowns on short scoring drives of 15 and 3 yards, respectively. 
 
  "They (Alma defense) got put in some bad spots, especially early," Alma coach Rusty Bush said. "They (Vilonia) took the wind and we couldn't get anything going due to the wind. I thought they (defense) battled, especially in the third quarter."  
 
Junior Jamison Hinsley's interception return set up the Eagles at the Alma 15, and junior Seth Kirk capped the short mark with a 3-yard run with 4:16 left in the first half. Down to its third punter because of injuries and COVID, Alma had a punt blocked midway through the second quarter which led to Kirk's second TD, a 1-yard plunge with 6:25 left in the half.  
 
"I give credit to our coaching staff, they do such a great job of preparing our kids," Langrell said. "Our starting quarterback was out and Wesley McKissack came in and did a phenomenal job."
 
McKissack's 37-yard TD pass to Hinsley gave the Eagles a 21-0 lead with 9:23 to go in the third quarter. 
 
Alma quarterback Hunter McAllister jump-started the offense with a series of passes to Conner Stacy that led to the team's lone touchdown. 
 
Stacy hauled in McAllister's 43-yard heave to cut the lead to 21-8 with 5:04 left in the third. Alma drove to the Eagles' 27 on its next series before Vilonia held on downs. 
 
McKissack threw a 17-yard TD strike to Hinsley to make it 28-8, and Kirk finished his monster night with a 69-yard burst that led to a 1-yard TD. 
 
Kirk finished with 167 yards rushing. McKissack was 20-for-28 yards for 237 yards.