Bruins End Season No. 1 in the State, 88th in the Nation
At the beginning of the season, Head Football Coach Kevin Kelley says that his players wanted to do two things: 1) win every game, and 2) be recognized as the No. 1 high school football team in Arkansas. On Saturday, Dec. 10, the team did exactly that by winning their 14th game in a row - a decisive 63-28 win over the No. 2 Malvern Leopards to take the 4A state championship title. This is the 3rd state championship for the Bruins since 2003.
According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the Bruins recorded the second highest point total in a final during the modern playoff era in the win over Malvern – second only to the 2003 3A state championship game in which Pulaski Academy defeated Rivercrest, 64-32.
For all who attended the game at War Memorial Stadium – parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, students, friends and fans – the excitement was palpable. Finally, the moment everyone had been waiting for – the final seconds of the game, the rush of the players onto the field to celebrate. They did it – goal #1 accomplished. Celebrations and more celebrations ensued.
“The bus ride home was awesome for me,” said Coach Kelley. “The bus I was on gave me a nice ovation when I got on and that made me feel really good. They were all talking and having a good time and then, of course, they broke into some songs. It was awesome to hear them having so much fun.”
For the team's 17 seniors, it was their last game to play as a Pulaski Academy Bruin. Congratulations to Senior Bruins Jeremy Brady, Garret Benson, Ben Fortson, Jack Snider, Fredi Knighten, Kendall Bruce, Carson Goodwin, Spencer Pruitt, Aum' Arie Wallace, Skylar Bussell, Carson Wheat, Brad Wolff, TJ Moore, Matt Kolb, Dixon Land, Will James and Jason King. Fredi Knighten was named Most Valuable Player.
In the following days, many speculated whether the state championship win would earn PA the No. 1 ranking in the state, surpassing 7A Bentonville who had previously been ranked No. 1 before losing to Fayetteville in the 7A finals.
The announcement came on the front page of the Arkansas-Democrat Gazette sports section Monday, Dec. 12 with the headline, “Bruins meet title expectations.” Goal #2 check.
The Pulaski Academy Bruins are now the No. 1 high school football team in Arkansas. Nationally, PA is now ranked No. 88 out of 27,000 teams by rivals.com