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OZARK, Ark. — The Ozark Hillbillies are a tough out at home, and Ashdown found that out the hard way on Friday in a Class 4A football playoff game at Hillbilly Stadium.

Behind 203 yards rushing and three touchdowns from quarterback Harper Faulkenberry and a stingy defense, the Hillbillies advanced to the next round with a 20-7 victory.

The Panthers (7-4) were without a number of players in the contest because of COVID-19 quarantine procedures.

Ozark will face Pocahontas in the third round next Friday. Pocahontas defeated Lamar, 36-6, in its playoff game Friday.

Neither Ashdown or Ozark scored until late in the first half, when Faulkenberry got his first touchdown by going over from a yard out. It capped a nine-play, 79-yard drive and the Hillbillies (8-3) led 7-0 at the break.

The hosts blocked an Ashdown punt right before halftime, but were unable to convert the short field into points.

Faulkenberry scored for the second time midway through the third quarter, a 3-yard run that made it 14-0.

His third and final score of the night was a 22-yard scamper, but Ashdown blocked the extra point, leaving the score 20-0.

Ashdown got on the scoreboard late when Alex Keilbach snuck in from a yard out with 8 minutes, 27 seconds remaining in the game.

The Panthers went for an onside kick but were unable to recover. They eventually got the ball back with under a minute to go, but threw an interception and Ozark kneeled on the victory.

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