Saturday, October 06, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Hurricane give ’Cats big scare

Leader sports editor

North Little Rock survived a scare Friday at Jonesboro, scoring a pair of late touchdowns to beat the previously undefeated Hurricane 27-20.

The Charging Wildcats’ Gary Vines intercepted a Jonesboro halfback pass with a little more than two minutes left in the game, setting up Juan Day’s 12-yard touchdown run that gave North Little Rock a 25-20 lead with 1:03 left to play.

Quarterback Payton Holmes found Deon Tidwell on the two-point pass to set the final margin at 27-20 North Little Rock.

Early turnovers helped the home team jump out to a 13-0 lead in the first four minutes of the game. Jonesboro (4-1, 2-1) had two scoring drives of less than 20 yards to take early control of the game. Running back Martin Stafford scored from 6 yards out with 9:43 left in the first quarter after a North Little Rock turnover. A missed extra point left it 6-0.

North Little Rock (4-1, 3-0) then fumbled on the second play of the next drive, setting up a 20-yard keeper by quarterback D.J. Anderson to make it 13-0 with 8:19 left in the opening frame.
The Hurricane offense stalled after that, due to great play from the North Little Rock defensive line.

But the Charging Wildcats’ offense still struggled to get going. They finally got on the board early in the second quarter when tight end Cameron Williams caught a 9-yard pass from Heath Land that made it 13-7 with 9:02 left in the half.

Jonesboro answered right back, with Anderson keeping again, this time going 43 yards for the score to make it 20-7 with 4:02 remaining in the second quarter.

North Little Rock finally broke a big play. Junior tailback Juan Day broke loose up the middle for 57 yards and a score. The kick was no good, leaving it 20-13 at the break.

The Wildcats’ defense took over the second half while the offense did just enough to eke out the win. Neither team scored in the third quarter, but Day got loose again with 9:39 left in the game, rumbling 35 yards for the touchdown. A two-point conversion attempt failed, leaving Jonesboro with a 20-19 lead. The two teams traded possessions before Vines’ interception set up Day’s winning touchdown.
Day finished the game with 21 carries for 197 yards and three touchdowns for the Charging Wildcats. Altee Tenpenny carried 12 times for 57 yards and Rodney Bryson had seven carries for 48 yards for North Little Rock.

Anderson led Jonesboro with 19 carries for 127 yards.

Weather conditions made passing difficult for both teams. North Little Rock completed three of five pass attempts for 19 yards. Jonesboro was four of 10 for 57 yards.

The Wildcats travel to Searcy next week while Jonesboro takes on Catholic High.