Fayetteville's offense gets a lot of publicity and rightly so, but it was the defense which made its mark in Monday night's scrimmage against Pulaski Academy in Little Rock.
The Purple Bulldogs had a whopping 10 sacks while downing the Bruins 48-27 in a match-up of two of last season's state champions in Arkansas.
Fayetteville linebacker and Arkansas commitment Brooks Ellis (6-3, 215), who has accumulated 222 tackles in his previous two seasons, had two of those sacks.
"Our defensive line just stepped up and dominated," Ellis said. "We really got after it defensively and covered pretty well. It all goes back to our defensive line."
Fayetteville safety Alex Brignoni, another 2013 Arkansas pledge, played just two series as he continues to heal from a hamstring injury.
The Purple Bulldogs' offense certainly did its part as well as the varsity put up 34 points in three quarters and the junior varsity added two touchdowns in their one quarter of action.
Razorback quarterback commit Austin Allen was 20-of-35 passing for 354 yards with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions in those three varsity quarters.
His favorite target was junior wideout Tony Dennis, who had 8 catches for 194 yards and 2 touchdowns during the scrimmage for Fayetteville, who won the state 7A title last season.
"Our offense did its part and looked really good," Ellis said. "Our coaches did a great job at getting a game plan for us and - for the most part – we followed that and had success."
Pulaski Academy - the state's Class 5A champ - certainly had its moments, particularly Arkansas tight end Hunter Henry (5 catches, 97 yards), the state's top-ranked player.
"He's great," Ellis said. "He's huge and fast and runs great routes. He is a great tight end and I can't wait to have him on our team at Arkansas."
Ellis was the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's sophomore defensive player of the year after 130 tackles as in 2010 and the paper's overall best defender in the state in 2011 after 90 more stops.
He had 13 ½ sacks last season.
"I just want to have more tackles and sacks this season and just do anything I can to help our team win," Ellis said.
Fayetteville will open its season next Thursday, August 30th at Razorback Stadium with an 8 p.m. against Memphis University School.
MUS lost its opening game to Ensworth 35-28 last Friday and plays Kingsbury this weekend.
"I don't know much about them, but we will learn a lot about them as this week goes along," Ellis said. "We are looking forward to having a very good season and that's the start."
Ellis is one of 14 Arkansas commitments in the 2013 class. That's a surprising number since current head coach John L. Smith is only a 10-month contract.
"I don't know what other teams are doing, but I feel like we have a lot of great players that have committed and they all want to be part of something special," Ellis said. "I think that is what is going on here."
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