Harding Academy reflects on walk-off finish to knock off Arkadelphia in 4A semifinal

SEARCY, Ark. — Harding Academy comes off one of the more memorable finishes in program history. In last Friday’s 4A state semifinal, the Wildcats came back to beat Arkadelphia 31-28 with a walk-off field goal by kicker Kyle Ferrie as time expired.

To get there, tied at 28 the team marched field for the remaining 6 minutes and 10 seconds on the game clock. Three touchdown runs in the second half by running back Heath Griffin helped get Harding to a spot to down the top-ranked Badgers.

We went to Searcy to visit with head coach Neil Evans, Ferrie, and Griffin to revisit the thrilling finish as the undefeated Wildcats punch their tickets to state in dramatic fashion.

“To be able to execute the snap and the hold with a backup holder kind of makes the mystique and mystery behind that whole game,” Evans said. “That adds to the aura of how this game gets talked about.”

“Our offensive line did extremely well and I think our coaching staff did a great job just aligning guys with hats to hats,” Griffin said. “It was me and one guy and I just had to get past them.”

The last-second win sets up a 4A state final matchup between Harding Academy and Malvern this Saturday at noon. The Wildcats will look for a state title four-peat in their first season moved up to class 4A.

“As soon as I saw it go through I just took off running. I didn’t even see the ref say it was good, I knew it was good and just took off,” Ferrie said. “Finally getting the opportunity to win the game for my teammates and these coaches who work their butts off all week to get us prepared just meant everything to me.”

“I don’t think I’m going to forget that moment for the rest of my life.”