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story.lead_photo.caption Westside Eagle Observer/MIKE ECKELS Jimmy Mendoza (Decatur 3) slips a Hermitage tackle and finds an open field for a 65-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter of the Decatur-Hermitage football contest at Bulldog Stadium in Decatur Aug. 31. Hermitage won the first Arkansas eight-man football league game, 38-32, over Decatur.

DECATUR -- Eight-man football made its return to Northwest Arkansas on Friday as the Decatur Bulldogs and the visiting Hermitage Hermits made their first entry into the new league at Bulldog Stadium in Decatur.

When Decatur began its first football program in 1956, eight-man football in Arkansas was a very popular venue for small schools. In the mid-sixties, the program changed to the eleven-man format, which continued until 2017.

Hermitage, located between Warren and El Dorado near the Louisiana border, traveled 330 miles, a five-hour trip to Decatur for the game. Because the league is new, most of the six other schools, including Decatur, will have similar travel times.

The Hermits received the opening kick. They marched it downfield to around the 20-yard line before Decatur stopped them short of a first down, giving the Bulldogs the ball. Hermitage stopped Decatur in four downs and the score remained at zero until the 8:37 mark in the first quarter when the Hermitage quarterback, Dillon Quimby, ran into the end zone for the first touchdown in the game. Decatur blocked a two-point conversion shot, making it a 6-0 contest.

A miscue by Decatur in the Hermits' end zone resulted in a two-point touch-back and an 8-0 lead for Hermitage.

Decatur's Jimmy Mendoza received a handoff from quarterback Cayden Bingham at the Hermitage 31 yard line and ran it 69 yards into the end zone for the Bulldogs' first score of the night. The conversion attempt failed and Decatur was down by two.

Shortly after the start of the third quarter, Bingham ran for his second touchdown, and the Bulldogs had the lead. Bingham tried for a conversion but it failed, making the score 18-16.

At the 3:16 mark, Bingham made his third and final touchdown, making the score 24-16 in favor of Decatur. But a quick score by Hermitage's Dillon Quimby and a conversion by Cade Wilkerson tied the game at 24.

Dillon Quimby scored one more touchdown and a conversion and the Hermits regained the lead. Wide receiver Cole Pennington scored the final touchdown for the Hermits, making the score 38-24 with less than five minutes left in the game.

Decatur tried to stage a comeback when Mendoza ran for his second touchdown. Bingham made a run around into the end zone for the conversion, making it a 38-32 contest. The Bulldogs had one final chance to win the game, but time ran out, giving the Hermitage Hermits a 38-32 victory over the Decatur Bulldogs.

Bingham ran for three touchdowns and a conversion for Decatur, while Mendoza got two. The Bulldogs made one of five conversion attempts. Dillon Quimby contributed three touchdowns while Wilkerson and Pennington each got one.

The Decatur Bulldogs will make a 270 mile trip to central Arkansas to take on the Augusta Red Devils in a 7 p.m. contest on Friday.

Sports on 09/05/2018

Print Headline: Bulldogs lose to Hermits in their first game of the reborn eight-man football league

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