Fordyce is in its first state championship game since 1991 thanks to the play of its dual-threat quarterback.
Junior Jaheim Brown, in his third year as a starter, has the Redbugs in the Class 2A state championship game where the Redbugs will face 8-2A Conference rival Junction City at noon Saturday at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.
Fordyce Coach Tim Rodgers credited Brown for his play and leadership on and off the field.
[HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Scores, photos, stories, rankings + more » arkansasonline.com/arpreps/]
“Jaheim is a leader,” Rodgers said. “He does the things that we ask him to. He’s there all the time. With the seniors that we have, it’s a great combination.”
Representing the Redbugs in the state championship game is something Brown is proud to do.
“We’re just living the dream,” Brown said. “We’ve just got to pull it off. We have to have our mind on the game and just play. Show who the better team is.”
Brown grew up in Fordyce watching Redbugs games, and he developed the goal of wanting to star with the team one day.
“I wanted to be like them,” Brown said. “Now, my mindset is I want to be better than them and I want to be the leader of my team.”
The Redbugs, who average 40 points per game, have been led by Brown both through the air and on the ground. He has completed 120 of 192 passes for 2,061 yards with 27 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, and he has rushed for 414 yards and 12 scores on 77 carries.
Brown scored three touchdowns (two rushing, one passing) in Fordyce’s 38-14 victory at Salem in Friday’s Class 2A semifinals. He went 15-of-26 passing for 158 yards, and rushed 11 times for 22 yards.
Over Fordyce’s four playoff games, Brown is responsible for 13 touchdowns, including 10 passing. He had three passing touchdowns apiece in the Redbugs’ first three playoff games against Lavaca, Magazine and Hazen.
Rodgers promoted Brown to Fordyce’s varsity team as a freshman in 2017. He accounted for 16 touchdowns, including 13 rushing, in 2017 as the Redbugs lost in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs at Elkins.
Fordyce dropped to Class 2A in 2018. In his sophomore season, Brown began to take off for the Redbugs.
He passed for 1,660 yards with 23 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, and he had 363 rushing yards and 6 scores to help Fordyce reach the Class 2A second round against Conway Christian.
Rodgers said Brown’s past two years of experience is paying dividends this season.
“He’s gotten better every year,” Rodgers said. “When we moved him up as a ninth-grader, he struggled sometimes, but you could see he could make plays. As a 10th-grader, he improved and got better, and we got better.
“This year, everything has kind of gelled and came together.”
Brown is looking forward to Saturday’s game and calls it a revenge game for the Redbugs, who lost to the Dragons 14-12 on Oct. 25.
“We’ve worked our tails off, and it’s gotten us here,” he said.
Joe T. Robinson vs. Shiloh Christian, 7 p.m.
Fordyce vs. Junction City, noon
Osceola vs. Harding Academy, 6:30 p.m.
All games played at War Memorial Stadium
Fordyce junior quarterback Jaheim Brown, shown during practice Wednesday at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, has passed for 2,061 yards with 27 touchdowns and rushed for 12 scores this season entering Saturday’s Class 2A championship game against Junction City.
(Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Jeff Gammons)
in Little Rock
Sports on 12/12/2019