Hammer Time

Junior running back Cody Hammer rushes 32 times for 205 yards and 2 touchdowns as Fayetteville downs Springdale Har-Ber 28-7 to win the Class 7A state football championship

LITTLE ROCK – It truly was Hammer Time at War Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Junior running back Cody Hammer carried 32 times for 205 yards and 2 touchdowns and also had 6 tackles as Fayetteville downed Springdale Har-Ber 28-7 in the Class 7A State Championship football game before 4,221 fans.

Hammer (6-0, 205), already receiving interest from the University of Arkansas and Mississippi State, finished his effort in style by carrying the ball on the Purple Bulldogs' last 21 plays.

"I'm real tired right now, but it is so worth it and I know that I won't even feel like going to sleep tonight because I will still be so excited," Hammer said. "This is such a great feeling."

Fayetteville (9-3-1) had lost 42-41 in overtime to Har-Ber (10-3) in the regular season.

Senior quarterback Blake McDonald shook off an early injury to complete 9-of-20 passes for 142 yards with a touchdown and senior wideout Gionni Harris caught 5 passes for 89 yards and also had 24 yards rushing.

Fayetteville junior offensive lineman Colby Berna – also receiving strong interest from the Razorbacks - was awarded the Brandon Burlsworth Award as the game's outstanding lineman.

It was the Fayetteville program's first state football championship in 103 years although the school has won multiple titles in other sports.

"I'm feeling so emotional right now, especially since we are the first ones to do it in 103 years at our school," Berna said. "It was a great opportunity for us and a great feeling to get it done."

Berna, also getting interest from Tennessee, Texas and Mississipppi State, was injured late in the season, but didn't miss playing time.

"I knew that I was going to be tough enough to finish it out, I just didn't know if they were going to let me," Berna said. "I had no doubt in my mind."

Hammer spent most of the season just playing linebacker before becoming a workhorse down the stretch on the offensive side of the ball after returning from injury.

"He's all man," Fayetteville head coach Daryl Patton said. "He's a competitor, a great young man and a warrior. We could have given it to him 60 times and he would have kept coming back for more."

Har-Ber's Patrick Calcagni was 12-of-19 passing for 139 yards while fellow quarterback Zach Faust connected on 6-of-16 for 96 yards.

Josh Forner, who caught a 23-yard touchdown pass from Calcagni, had 5 catches for 108 yards.


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