Saturday, October 30, 2010

SPORTS>>Taylor’s big night big boost to Beebe

Leader sportswriter

Colby Taylor did not disappoint on Beebe’s senior night.

The Badgers senior running back tore through Nettleton’s defense on three long, breakaway touchdown runs, as Beebe remained perfect in the 5A-Southeast Conference with a 41-10 victory over the winless Raiders at A.S. “Bro” Erwin Stadium on Friday.

Taylor rushed for 305 yards and scored twice in the first half on runs of 56 and 53 yards, and saved his biggest run for the final quarter when he broke free for an 87-yard touchdown carry with 7:10 left to play, putting the Badgers up 41-3.

“I don’t know if he’s the fastest kid in the conference or not, but he’s got to be one of the fastest,” Beebe coach John Shannon said. “We feel like that if we can get him in the open space, he’s got a chance to take it to the house anytime he touches it. He did it a couple times tonight, and it was big, because we didn’t have any of those sustained drives like we like to have tonight.

“We had too many mistakes and didn’t move the chains like we needed to move them. Fortunately, for us, he’s got a little speed and was able to take two or three of them to the house, and it made the difference in the ballgame.”

Taylor’s big scoring runs broke the monotony of a strong defensive first half by both teams. His halftime numbers of 12 rushes for 165 yards made up all but 10 of Beebe’s first-half yards.

“I felt like we kind of came out flat in the first half,” Shannon said. “Really wasn’t clicking on either side of the ball very well. We picked it up in the second half and started playing a little bit better.

“We’ve had two or three real big ballgames in a row, and we were worried about a letdown..”

Nettleton, expected by many to be an early pushover, prevented Beebe from controlling the clock in the first half with a jumbo-style defense that stuffed eight defenders in the middle of the line of scrimmage. Taylor adjusted by abandoning his normal off-tackle runs by kicking outside for his scoring jaunts that spanned Nettleton’s entire side of the field.

Junior cornerback Brandon Fuller had the best night defensively for the Badgers with a pair of interceptions, including one at midfield he returned to the Raiders’ 30-yard line with 4:47 left in the third quarter. That set up a seven-play drive Michael Kirby wrapped up with a two-yard touchdown run to put the Badgers ahead 28-3.

Hunter Wyman set the Badgers up with good field position again on the ensuing kickoff when Nettleton fumbled Jordan Goss’s kick and Wyman recovered at the Nettleton 28.

Beebe quarterback Scot Gowen did not waste time cashing in with an option keep for a touchdown to extend the lead to 35-3 following the extra point by Goss.

Junior halfback Jay Holdway scored Beebe’s first touchdown of the second half with a four-yard dive run into the end zone with 8:08 left in the third quarter.

With Beebe’s victory over Nettleton and Batesville’s 18-13 triumph over Greene County Tech, the stage has been set for next week’s 5A-East finale between the Badgers and Pioneers, both unbeaten in conference play.

“We started the year with a goal in mind to win the conference championship, and we put ourselves in position to do that,” Shannon said. “We’ve got to have a great week of practice next week, and hopefully, we can go up there and compete with Batesville and have a chance late in the ballgame to win it.”