Updated: December 15, 2017

The Foreman Gators were led onto the field by Chase Boyd (20), CJ Green (4), Corey Lovewell (1), Trevor Casper (22), Nathan Gwin (29), Alex Carver (29) and Brad Jackson before the start of last week’s Class AA semifinal game with Salem at The Swamp. The Gators defeated the Greyhounds, 41-14, to earn a spot in this week’s Class AA Championship game against Mount Ida at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.

By Quinton Bagley

Little River News

For the first time in team history the Foreman Gators will play for the Class AA Championship after defeating the Salem Greyhounds, 41-14, in last week’s semifinal game at The Swamp.

“I was very pleased with our performance in the semifinal against Salem,” Foreman head coach Mark King said. “Once again our defe

An emotional Mark King, head coach of the Foreman Gators, talks to his team and fans following the Gator’s 41-14 win over Salem in the Class AA semifinals on Friday night at The Swamp in Foreman. The Gators will play 7AA Conference rival Mount Ida in the Class AA Championship game at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15, at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.

nse played outstanding as they have all year.  I thought our offense played a real good first half. We got off to a fast start, scoring on four of our first six positions.”

While the offense started out hot on a night where temperatures were below freezing at kickoff, things cooled down for the Gator offense in the second half according to King.

“I thought that we got a little sloppy on offense in the second half,” King said. “We had some problems with our quarterback-center exchange a few times, which is something we will need to clean up before Friday. I really felt that our kids were very focused after the let down of not playing last week.”

Kyren Batey scored the first two touchdowns for the Gators – both in the first quarter.

The first was an 11-yard run with 7:14 on the clock. Sam Gamble added the extra point to give Foreman a 7-0 lead.

Batey’s second touchdown was on a 20-yard run with 2:41 to play in the first. The PAT was good to give the Gators a 14-0 lead.

Salem scored on a 20-yard pass with 11:10 to play in the second quarter. The extra point was good to make the score 14-7 in favor of the Gators.

Foreman answered on its next possession as C.J. Green scored on a 49-yard run with 10:12 to play in the second quarter. The PAT was no good and the Gators led 20-7.

Batey scored his third touchdown of the night with 4:32 to play in the second quarter on a 37-yard run. The 2-point conversion was good as Batey found Isaac Carver in the end zone for the conversion to make the score 28-7 at halftime.

Late in the third quarter, Foreman added to its lead on a 5-yard pass from Batey to Corey Lovewell with 3:21 to play in the third. The extra point was no good and the Gators led 34-7.

Foreman scored its final touchdown of the night with 6:10 to play in the game as Alex Carver ran nine yards for the score. Gamble’s extra point was good and the Gators led 41-7.

Salem ended the scoring with less than a minute to play in the game on a 5-yard run. The PAT was good to make the final margin 41-14.

While the opportunity to play for a state championship is cause for excitement, King said that the chance to face Mount Ida again has Foreman abuzz with excitement.

“We have had a rematch with Mount Ida circled on our calendar since we lost to them Week 7,” King said. “We know that we did not play very well that night and our kids really want another shot at them.”

The Gators are well that the Lions (14-0) are a good football team but they also feel they are just as good.

“They are a well coached, disciplined and a physical football team,” King said. “We talked about this rematch in the locker room after the loss at Mount Ida. I told the kids that if we took care of our business that we could meet them again in the finals in Little Rock and that has been our mission ever since that loss.”

Having faced Mount Ida once already this season and then being able to watch what they have done since on film, King said there would be a few changes made on the defensive side.

“We will not do anything different on the offensive side of the ball,” King said. “We have watched our film from our last game and our kids realize that we made a lot of mistakes and didn’t play very good and have been working on them at least once a day every week since. We will make a few little tweaks in defense but I think our offense will have much greater success this week and really help our defense out.”

There is a lot of excitement about playing for a state championship and King said that the main goal was try to keep it as normal of a week as possible.

“We will treat it as any other week and try to keep things as normal as possible,” King said. “We will practice on turf over at New Boston and Arkansas High. We will also go to War Memorial Stadium on Wednesday for a practice.”

While the ultimate goal is to win the game and the state championship, King said it was important to let the players enjoy the moment as well.

“We have told the kids to embrace the moment and have fun with all of it, but that we need to stay laser focused on Mount Ida this week,” King said. “I have no doubt that our kids will do just that. It’s a week that not every football player and coach gets to experience and we need to make the most of it.”

Kickoff for Friday’s Class AA Championship game is scheduled for 7 p.m. at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.