Saturday, September 08, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Mother Nature the victor

Lonoke was just starting to find its groove when Mother Nature intervened, bringing heavy rain, strong winds, and most significantly, close lightning to A.S. “Bro” Erwin Stadium in Beebe to end the annual Highway 31 match up between the Jackrabbits and the Badgers in a no contest on Friday.

The Jackrabbits were ahead on the scoreboard 14-7 following a dazzling 72-yard touchdown catch and run by junior receiver Blake Mack. Mack took the screen pass on the left side from junior quarterback Grant Dewey and cut toward the middle of the field to weave his way through Beebe’s linebackers before heading back to the left side and into the end zone untouched with 41 seconds remaining in the first half, and ultimately, the game.

But just as the half hit, so did the storm. Fans waited in their vehicles for close to an hour to ride out the monsoon-like conditions, but officials finally called it just before 9:45 p.m.

Beebe threatened to strike first in the opening possession with a 13-play drive that started at the Badger 28-yard line and went all the way to the Lonoke 9, but a procedure penalty against the Badgers and a fumble on the next play gave possession to Lonoke after a heads-up recovery by senior defensive back D.J. Burton.

The ’Rabbits could not get anything going on their opening drive and gave it back after two incomplete passes and a short two-yard rush by senior tailback Eric Williams. Beebe took over again at the Lonoke 45, and this time, the Badgers closed the deal.

Junior fullback Eric Thorn took Beebe down to the 18-yard line with a 27-yard run, and scored Beebe’s only touchdown two plays later on a 17-yard dash to the goal line.

Pearson Sloan added the extra point to give the Badgers a 7-0 lead at the 3:18 mark of the first quarter.

The Jackrabbits finally got going when they took possession at the Beebe 41 with 9:38 remaining.

Williams toted four different times early in the drive for a combined 30 yards. Mack caught a pass from Dewey good for 12 yards to set Lonoke up with a third-and-one from the 4-yard line. Burton then got the call to go behind center in the Wildcat formation and punched in for the score. Junior kicker Jose Garcia added the extra point to tie the game at 7-7 with 7:03 remaining.

Thorn had 13 carries for 100 yards and a touchdown for Beebe. For Lonoke, Dewey was 3 for 6 for 87 yards and a touchdown, with two of those receptions for 84 yards to Mack. Beebe will play at Vilonia next Friday while Lonoke will play at Little Rock McClellan.