Saturday, November 13, 2010

SPORTS>>Alma finishes Beebe’s run

Special to The Leader

Beebe had the yards, but Alma had the points Friday night in a 34-14 victory for the Airedales at Bro Irwin Stadium in Beebe.

The Badgers (6-5) had 369 yards — including 308 yards on the ground — compared to 323 total yards for the Airedales.

The difference came in Alma’s ability to take advantage of a short field and a kickoff return for the team’s first score.

Big plays ruled the second quarter after a defensive battle in the first. Beebe struck first with a 51-yard touchdown pass from Scot Gowen to Chase Weatherly early in the second to give the Badgers a 7-0 lead.

That lead lasted only seconds as Alma’s playmaker Isaac McCoy returned the kickoff 70 yards for the tying touchdown.

McCoy did the damage again later in the quarter, setting up his 1-yard touchdown plunge with a 23-yard reception. Alma kept the 14-7 lead until halftime.

“I thought we did a decent job on McCoy,” Beebe coach John Shannon said. “But he’s a great player and he’s going to make some great plays.”

The Badgers held McCoy in check through the second half, allowing the senior just five yards in the half.

Alma couldn’t capitalize on a Beebe fumble on the opening drive of the second half, but the miscue might have cost the Badgers some points. Beebe was moving the ball at will against Alma, driving from its 23 to the Airedales 37 on just four plays before the fumble stalled the drive.

The teams traded punts until the Badgers came up with a big fourth down play that set up the tying touchdown. Michael Kirby picked up 27 yards on fourth-and-one from the 28 late in the third quarter.

Gowen scored on the next play to tie the game 14-14.

The Badgers tried to keep the momentum with an onside kick, but it was shanked and Alma was left with starting field position at the Beebe 47.

Beebe forced Alma into a third-and-long situation, but the Airedales struck with a 31-yard touchdown play to take a 21-14 lead.

After trading punts and turnovers on downs, Beebe had the chance to stop Alma again.

This time the Badger defense needed a stop on fourth-and-three with 3:36 remaining in the game. Alma quarterback Brady Bradley rolled left, snuck through a seam in the defense and raced 30 yards for a touchdown to put the Airedales ahead 27-14 with the extra point kick blocked.

Alma scored again in the final minute after Beebe turned the ball over on downs deep in its territory.

Jay Holdway led Beebe with 20 carries for 130 yards. Kirby had 100 yards while carrying eight times.

“I’m very pleased with our season and how our guys worked hard and never gave up,” Shannon said.

“We lost our first three games, then fought back and almost won the conference.”