Saturday, October 20, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Wildcats’ D buries Patriots

Leader sportswriter

North Little Rock continued its winning ways in dominant fashion Friday with a 52-0 blowout win over Marion at Charging Wildcat Stadium.

The Charging Wildcats’ defense held the Patriots to just 68 yards of offense for the game, and North Little Rock’s offense was just as impressive with 476 total yards.

“I think that has a lot to do with how hard our kids work during the week,” said North Little Rock coach Brad Bolding about his team’s play on both sides of the ball. “It’s what we demand from them, and the fact that what we do from January all the way up to when the season starts is what we can attribute a lot of that to.

“We feel like we work on a whole different level than most people. I think you can see it when we get out on the field, and our main thing is to get to our peak right before playoffs.”

Marion’s first play from scrimmage was promising with a 5-yard run by running back Ralph Smith. But on the next play, Patriots’ quarterback Jataire Weeden fumbled on an option play. North Little Rock covered it at the Marion 15-yard line.

Four plays later, senior standout Altee Tenpenny punched in the touchdown on a 4-yard run with 10:20 to play in the first. Marion went three and out on its next possession.

After a fake punt that resulted in a 20-yard run by T.J. Francis, the Wildcats scored again, this time on a 12-yard pass from quarterback Heath Land to tight end Cameron Williams. Sandy Burks’ extra point was good to give NLR a 14-0 lead.

The Wildcats scored again on their next drive when co-starting quarterback Payton Holmes connected with senior receiver Aaron Adams for a 31-yard touchdown pass.

With less than seven minutes to play in the second quarter, North Little Rock’s defense forced a turnover on downs. On the Wildcats’ next snap, the first of the drive, Adams took the ball on a wide receiver sweep, and raced 62 yards for another NLR touchdown.

After the extra point, the Wildcats led 28-0 with 6:44 to play in the opening half. Marion (2-6, 1-4) was forced to another three and out on its next possession, and North Little Rock (7-1, 5-0) scored its final points of the half on a 37-yard field goal from Burks.

The Wildcats’ offense took the field first in the second half, and on the fourth play of the drive, senior Rodney Bryson scored on a 51-yard touchdown run with 10:30 to go in the third.

Bryson’s touchdown gave NLR a 38-0 lead, which put the second half mercy rule into effect. Even with the clock running continuously, it took just over five minutes for the Wildcats’ offense to find the end zone yet again.

After another three and out from Marion’s offense, Tenpenny scored on a 52-yard touchdown run with 5:24 to go in the third. It was Tenpenny’s final carry of the evening.

The final score of the evening came on a 4-yard touchdown run from junior fullback Deion Tidwell with 10:58 to go in the fourth. The extra point set the final margin.

The Wildcats could’ve scored again as the game’s end neared, but rather than run up the score, sophomore quarterback Deon Fox took three straight kneel-downs to give the ball back to Marion with just seconds left on the clock. Marion gained 45 of their 63 total yards of offense in the final seconds.

Tenpenny finished with 13 carries for 135 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Wildcats’ rushing attack. Holmes was 7 for 11 passing for 90 yards and one touchdown. Land was 4-7 for 36 yards and one touchdown. Adams had 94 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns.