Saturday, October 13, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Hazen stymies Carlisle

Leader sportswriter

The old philosophy of football being a game of inches proved itself true once again on Friday as Hazen upset interstate rival Carlisle 16-14 at Fred C. Hardke Field to stay in a tie with England for the top spot in the 2A-6 Conference.

The Bison (6-1, 3-1) scored on their first possession of the second half, but junior running back Deron Ricks was stopped just short of the goal line on the two-point conversion try after catching a quick pass from senior quarterback Chris Hart.

That left the score at 14-8 Carlisle with 7:41 remaining in the third quarter, and when the Hornets scored early in the fourth quarter, they made it in on the two-point try as running back Trenton Mosby just made it over the line for the winning points.

“I tell you what, it was awesome,” Hazen head coach Joe Besancon said. “Great atmosphere; the fans were great on both sides. My kids just never stopped. We preached to them all week long about how it is all mental. They had to get past that mental aspect, and they did it tonight.”

Carlisle coach Scott Way-mire declined interview following the game.

The Hornets (5-2, 4-0) had to settle for short gains most of the night until running back Lucas Tennison broke free for a 78-yard run that took the ball all the way to the Bison 5-yard line on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Tennison also got the call three plays later and broke through from a yard out to tie the game at 14, and Mosby’s conversion run put the visitors ahead for the first and final time.

But Mosby’s biggest play of the night was on fourth down and five at the Carlisle 41-yard line with 1:40 remaining. Mosby, who also serves as punter for Hazen, bobbled the long snap and had no choice but to take off running. He found space on the right side and made his way down to the 32-yard line for the first down, but on his way down the ball popped out. Hart picked up the ball and ran the other way, but the play was blown dead to the complete dismay of Waymire and the entire Carlisle side.

“It wasn’t a fake punt,” Besancon said. “We fumbled the snap, and I tell you what, that little sucker right there, he makes some knot-headed plays for us sometimes, but he just took off and made a great play.”

Gadgetry misfired on the Hornets in the first half as a promising drive to start the game stalled badly at the Carlisle 31-yard line when quarterback Gage Johnson kept on a double fake, but was flushed out by Bison defenders for a 17-yard loss and a turnover on downs.

The Bison responded with a methodical 14-play drive that burned up eight minutes of the clock, ending with an eight-yard touchdown run by Ricks at the 11:55 mark of the second quarter. Hart connected with junior Justice Bryant to convert the two-point conversion attempt to give Carlisle an early 8-0 lead.

Hazen responded with a clock-grinding drive of its own as the Hornets went 71 yards 17 plays and capped off the drive of nearly nine minutes with a one-yard touchdown run by Tennison with 3:30 remaining in the first half. Johnson kept on an option play for the two-point conversion try and made it to tie the game 8-8 at the half.

Carlisle came out strong offensively to start the second half and scored on a nine-play, 73-yard drive. Sophomore running back Clinton Hampton broke the biggest gainer for the Bison during the drive with a 35-yard rush that set them up with a first down at the Hazen 16-yard line.

Three more totes by Ricks is all it took, with a six-yard run to seal the drive with 7:41 remaining in the first half to make it 14-8.

The atmosphere was second to none at Hardke Field with both stands filled despite the drizzly weather, with a number of fans for both sides forced to watch the game from the track surrounding the field. The celebration on the Hazen side and dejection on the Carlisle side clearly indicated how important the contest was to both schools.

“It’s big. It’s huge,” Besancon said. “They’ve got such an outstanding program. They do everything right, and I’m just excited and proud of these kids.”

Ricks led Carlisle with 13 carries for 75 yards and two touchdowns. Bryant had 11 carries for 46 yards. Hart went 5 for 10 passing for 45 yards as the Bison totaled 197 yards offense.

For Hazen, Tennison led the way with 25 carries for 174 yards and two touchdowns while Mosby carried 14 times for 63 yards. The Hornets had 222 total yards.

The Bison will try to recover next week with a road game at Marvell while Hazen travels to Palestine-Wheatley.