The White Hall Bulldogs punched their ticket into the 5A state playoffs with a 28-10 win over De Queen Friday.
For the last three weeks of the season, the Bulldogs were in a must-win situation in order to qualify for the playoffs, and they got it done. White Hall Head Coach Mike Vaughn gives a lot of credit to his group of seniors and his coaching staff for leading the way.
"I think it goes to the seniors," Vaughn said. "They realized the situation and rose to the occasion. They stepped up and the juniors and sophomores followed. They realized we have high and lows in a season. They decided they wanted to salvage the season and do something special. I think our coaching staff did an excellent job in these past three weeks, and I can't say enough about them."
Against De Queen, the Bulldogs never trailed. Dante Buckner had a productive night on the ground, and he opened up scoring with a rushing touchdown.
Bulldogs quarterback Ollie Reddick returned to action and accounted for a first-half rushing touchdown.
According to Vaughn, both defenses played well. Austin Terrell scooped up a fumble and returned it for a touchdown, allowing White Hall to take a 22-3 lead into halftime.
To help seal the deal in the second half, Buckner gashed the De Queen defense on a 75-yard run that put the ball on the two yard line going in. Caleb Glover then ran it in for a touchdown to secure the win.
The Bulldogs finished the season as the No. 4 seed out of the 5A South, therefore they drew the No. 1 seed out of the 5A West, the Alma Airedales. No matter the opponent, Vaughn and company are thankful to be in the playoffs, and they're looking at it as a new season.
"Anytime you make the playoffs it's special," Vaughn said. "It means you've had a successful season. The playoffs is something we look forward to every year here. If you're playing well enough you can win a state championship no matter what your record is. I think it's exciting for everybody in the state."