Saturday, October 30, 2010

SPORTS>>Ricebirds overcome Jackrabbits

Leader sportswriter

Lonoke’s season of missed opportunities continued on Friday with a 16-7 road loss to Stuttgart.

In a night when the 2-4A Conference was turned even more upside down with previously unbeaten Clinton’s 28-27 loss to Heber Springs, the Jackrabbits let a halftime lead slip away in the final two quarters.

The Jackrabbits (6-3, 3-3) were up 7-3 at halftime after a one-yard touchdown run by Keli Bryant in the second quarter. The Ricebirds (5-4, 4-2) took the lead with a big pass play in the third quarter, and tacked on a touchdown run for insurance in the final period.

“We let another slip by,” Lonoke coach Doug Bost said. “They just stopped us. We had one fumble in the first half, and that was all we had. We just couldn’t get anything going.”

Stuttgart overtook Lonoke with a 15-yard play-action pass to the Ricebirds tight end mid-way through the third quarter.

With Heber Springs’ victory over Clinton and Newport’s 35-12 upset over Marianna, Lonoke, which reached the 4A state championship last year, now finds itself in a tie with Newport for fifth place in the 2-4A Conference.

Clinton still leads at 5-1, with Marianna, Heber Springs and Stuttgart all knotted in second place at 4-2.

“If we would have won, it was a sure thing to be in the playoffs,” Bost said. “With Heber winning tonight, I just don’t know. I’m not sure.

“We’ve got to come out and play next week and compete and get us a win.”

The Jackrabbits will host Clinton next week in the must-win game.

Heber Springs will play host to Cave City next week in its bid to hang on for the 2-4A Conference championship, while Stuttgart and Marianna-Lee will  have a showdown in Marianna to decide who will finish with a top-three seed.

Lonoke has to beat Clinton and hope for the Cavemen to upset the Panthers to qualify.