Saturday, September 11, 2010

SPORTS>>Lonoke gets by injuries, Beebe

Leader sportswriter

The battle between local rivals Lonoke and Beebe turned into a battle of adjustments.

Key players from both sides went out early with injuries, but the Jackrabbits overcame their difficulties and came from behind to defeat the Badgers 26-21 on Friday at Bro Erwin Stadium.

Beebe controlled the line of scrimmage early and took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, and appeared to be in the driver’s seat when Lonoke quarterback Logan DeWhitt came out of the game with a shoulder injury midway through the second.

But backup Darius Scott came through for the ’Rabbits with a stellar performance late, engineering a pair of fourth-quarter scoring drives.

The Lonoke defense then did its job when Beebe went to the air, getting a pair of sacks on Badger quarterback Scot Gowen that ended one drive. Senior defensive back Justin Smith intercepted a pass in the final minute to cut off the fireworks for good.

“We just challenged the kids,” Lonoke coach Doug Bost said. “It’s just a team that comes straight at you, we knew that. They broke off big runs, but we never gave up. We just kept fighting, and were able to get some stops.

“Against a team like that, if you can get them to try and pass the ball, which they really don’t want to do, we were able to do that on them.”

Lonoke set the stage for a dramatic ending with a 92-yard scoring drive in 15 plays, highlighted by a 33-yard run by Darius Scott that took the ball to the Jackrabbit 47, and a 19-yard pass from Scott to senior Blake Dill that for a first down at the Beebe 11.

T.J. Scott then took it to the 1-yard line before he finished the drive by bulling his way into the end zone with 4:46 left in the third. T.J. Scott also added the extra point to tie it at 14.

Beebe began the fourth quarter with a short drive that ended with a five-yard run by junior running back Jay Holdway, but Lonoke came back with a quick drive that appeared to catch the Badgers off guard when Scott completed a pair of passes to Scott Smith and Dill.

Smith’s catch set Lonoke up with a first down at the Beebe 25, and Scott’s 22-yard pass to Dill in the end zone two plays later cut the Badgers’ lead to 21-20 after Matthew Pursell blocked T.J. Scott’s point-after attempt.

“They saw the film from last week when we had to play Darius in the fourth quarter,” Bost said. “They pretty much figured we weren’t going to pass, but I’ve seen him in practice, I know he can throw, he just had to settle down and step into his throw. He made some big throws for us.”

Beebe’s next drive stalled at its 42, but a Gowen punted to pin Lonoke at its 19. Darius Scott moved the ball close to midfield with runs of 18 and 11 yards, but it was Keli Bryant’s 44-yard run down the left side that set the ’Rabbits up with first and goal at the eight.

Again, it was T.J. Scott closing the drive with a power run up the middle that set the final margin with 5:51 left to play.

“We got some kids banged up, and we were scrambling for running backs,” Beebe coach John Shannon said. “We just got out of sync and allowed them to get back in the ballgame. They’ve got a real good ball team, and that’s the things you can’t do when you’ve got someone down, you can’t let them get back in the ballgame.”

Beebe was forced to go to the air with time running out, but Wes Plummer and T.J. Scott sniffed out Gowen for sacks of minus-four yards each time and forced the Badgers to punt it away.

“We were doing something we typically don’t like to do,” Shannon said. “That’s something we’re going to have to get better at, because we’re going to be in some close ballgames. We didn’t do a very good job of it tonight.”

Beebe took the first lead with a 33-yard run by Michael Kirby with 4:50 left in the first quarter and added to the lead with 35 seconds left in the first with a 10-yard run by Colby Taylor. Taylor sat out much of the second and third quarter, and Holdway was absent for the entire second half except for the final drive.

Beebe finished with 197 yards of total offense, 140 of which came in the first half.

Lonoke had 334 yards, with 206 in the second half and 140 in the third quarter. Darius Scott led the charge with 14 carries for 117 yards, 3-of-6 passes for 60 yards and a score, and had an early reception from DeWhitt of 13 yards for 190 yards of all-purpose offense.