SPRINGDALE -- Joe T. Robinson hung with Class 7A Springdale for 3 1/2 quarters.
Ultimately, the Bulldogs' running game was too much for the Class 4A Senators.
Senior Garrett Vaughan rushed for 210 yards and 5 touchdowns on 29 carries to lead Springdale (1-0) to a 48-28 victory over Robinson (0-1) on Thursday night at Jarrell Williams Bulldog Stadium.
Vaughan scored on runs of 8, 20, 5, 30 and 63 yards.
"Garrett Vaughan is Garrett Vaughan," Springdale Coach Zak Clark said. "People don't know it, but he's as good of a back as there is. If we can keep him healthy -- he broke his hand last year -- he can have a monster year."
Senior quarterback Grant Allen, in his first start with Springdale after transferring from crosstown-rival Har-Ber, passed for 171 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception.
"He has played at a high level," Clark said. "Shoot, this is his 16th start in high school. He's very experienced. We don't have an experienced ballclub, but he's a calming factor."
For Senators Coach Todd Eskola, the experience of playing a Class 7A team was beneficial for his team, even in a losing effort.
"Springdale is a much improved club," said Eskola, who led Robinson to a 7-4A Conference championship and the Class 4A state semifinals last season. "[We] competed in a tough environment. We made some crucial mistakes in the second half. We had a couple of turnovers that killed drives.
"I told our kids, for our program, this was immeasurable. We got a lot better tonight. We played a game tonight that could help us in December."
Robinson led 21-20 at halftime, but Springdale went ahead 34-21 with 7:09 remaining in the third quarter.
Senior Christion Wise intercepted Senators senior quarterback Greyson Tackett at the Robinson 43. Two plays later, Allen threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Jaden Cornelius for a 13-point advantage.
Robinson senior running back Zaytron Waits ran 55 yards to the Springdale 5. A false start penalty backed Robinson up to the 10, but senior running back Tyler Jones scored from 8 yards out to pull the Senators within 34-28 with 4:58 left in the third quarter.
Vaughan's 30-yard touchdown run made it 41-28 with 8:05 left.
Robinson had an opportunity to get it to a one-score game, but Waits fumbled at the Springdale 12 and junior Tray Tolbert recovered.
Vaughan shut the door on the Senators with a 63-yard touchdown run with 39 seconds left.
The Senators took a 7-0 lead with 8:10 left in the first quarter. Senior Mekel Kentle's 22-yard reception set up Waits' 9-yard scoring run.
Robinson forced a three-and-out, but Kentle fumbled the punt return and Springdale junior Jajuan Boyd recovered.
The Bulldogs took advantage with Allen's 43-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion run failed, leaving the score 7-6 with 6:31 left in the first quarter.
Springdale took a 13-7 lead with 26 seconds left in the first quarter on Vaughan's 8-yard touchdown run.
With 11:03 remaining in the second quarter, Robinson regained the lead as Kentle ran 16 yards for a touchdown, making it 14-13.
Vaughan's 21-yard run with 2:06 remaining in the first half pulled the Bulldogs within 21-20.
Springdale went ahead 27-21 with 9:13 left in the third quarter when Vaughan scored from 5 yards.
Waits rushed for 140 yards and 1 touchdown on 21 carries to lead the Senators. Tackett passed for 135 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception....