This weekend’s football action saw a pair of teams end their season, while an area school celebrated a conference championship.

Conway Christian and Mayflower ended their difficult seasons Friday with CCS losing in a blowout to arguably Class 2A’s best team, while Mayflower ended with a 28-26 win over Atkins.

Elsewhere, the Greenbrier Panthers did as many expected and beat Vilonia for Greenbrier’s first outright 5A West championship since 2012 and the last 5A West title for the Panthers since 2017.

However, what many didn’t expect is Greenbrier winning in convincing fashion.

If this game showed anything, it’s that this Panthers defense is quite good.

The high-flying Eagles offense was held in check throughout the game, forcing Vilonia to punt numerous times as well as forcing numerous turnovers on downs.

Greenbrier won 45-22 for the Faulkner County Judge’s Cup in front of a packed house that left many across the state talking about the game.

The Panthers match up with Maumelle in the first round, hosting a Hornets team that gave Vilonia its most competitive game until last Friday.

Maumelle has lost three 5A Central games, against Vilonia’s upcoming opponent Little Rock Christian, juggernaut Pulaski Academy and White Hall.

Little Rock Christian’s two losses came against White Hall and Pulaski Academy.

I’m sure Vilonia will come into the 5A playoffs seething, but will have to play much better this week than it did against Greenbrier.

In Conway, the Wampus Cats came up short in their bid to overthrow Bryant as the 7A Central’s top dog, falling 32-29 in a game Conway led until 21 seconds were left in the game.

Now, in all honesty, this is a game the Wampus Cats should have won, and had a good chance to at the end.

The Conway defense had Bryant reeling several times, forcing several turnovers en route to keeping the lead throughout the game.

However, there was a sequence in Conway’s final possession that at the time of watching, I knew that it would turn the tide of what was to come.

I know it’s easy to second guess decisions after the fact, especially with Friday’s result finishing as it did, but I’ll set the scene and why I didn’t necessarily agree with the play calling Conway used.

With 4:42 left on the clock, Bryant scored on a rushing touchdown, pinning itself in prime striking distance should it get a stop on defense and get the ball back.

Conway took over at its 26 after the ensuing kickoff and drove down the field using a series of successful runs.

However, after chewing up a lot of the clock and getting to Bryant’s 33, this is where things get dicey for me.

While runs had been working up to this point, I have no problem rushing on first down, even second down to try to keep the clock running and pick up yardage in the process.

Instead, Conway ran and lost two yards on first down. Then ran again on second down and got to the line of scrimmage.

Facing 3rd-and-12, I thought for sure the Wampus Cats would attempt a throw to either pick up a first down or pick up a chunk of yardage to where if it was four-down territory, they had a more manageable fourth down.

However, it was another run on third down that got to the original line of scrimmage.

OK. Conway will do a short punt to try to pin Bryant deep with under 1:30 left on the clock.

Even if the ball goes into the end zone for a touchback, the Hornets would still have 13 more yards to gain than it would if the Wampus Cats went for it on fourth down and didn’t gain any yards.

Instead, the Wampus Cats tried to pick up the first down on a passing route that didn’t reach the first down marker and gave Bryant the ball back at its 26 with 1:21 left on the clock.

It was those third and fourth down plays that I knew that the tide was about to change.

You see it all too often for it to not go down that way.

So, Bryant picks up a huge chunk of yardage on the first play its drive and eventually scores a touchdown and a 2-point conversion with 21 seconds left in the game.

Conway did receive a short field, but the Hornets stopped all passing attempts.

It was a difficult way to lose a game that Conway probably should have won.

The Wampus do get a first-round bye and will play the winner of Rogers and Catholic, and is matched up on the same side of the bracket with Fayetteville, who gave Conway its only loss until Friday’s game.

We may see a rematch of Friday’s game for the 7A State Finals, but it had to be a disappointing loss for the team.

Meanwhile, Quitman blew out Hector to earn the Class 4-2A second seed and will host Foreman.

The Gators have won just two games all season.

Andy Robertson is the sports editor of the Log Cabin Democrat and can be reached at arobertson@thecabin.net.

Andy Robertson is the sports editor of the Log Cabin Democrat and can be reached at arobertson@thecabin.net.

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