Saturday, November 17, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Carlisle eliminates Warriors again

Leader sportswriter

LEPANTO – Deron Ricks turned into a wrecking ball during the second half of Carlisle’s 37-26 victory over East Poinsett County in the second round of the Class 2A state playoffs on Friday.

Ricks made it into the end zone only once with 5:18 left to play to give the Bison (10-1) a 37-20 lead, but the junior running back kept the Bison going all night with 17 carries for 176 yards, including a number of runs of more than 20 yards in the second half with multiple Warrior defenders trying to drag him down.

With the victory, the Bison will return home for the quarterfinal round this Friday with a home game against Mineral Springs, a 48-8 second-round winner over Poyen. The victory over the Warriors marked the third straight year Carlisle has knocked them out of the playoffs.

“These guys have fought us the past two years for 48 minutes,” Carlisle coach Scott Waymire said. “We knew they were going to fight us again for 48 minutes. That’s what we told the kids. We’re going to be in for a fight, and that’s what our guys did. They fought and made some big plays when they had to, and I’m very proud of our team as a whole. Getting to play after Thanksgiving is always a good thing.”

The Warriors (10-2) kept pace with Carlisle until late in the third quarter. EPC scored on its first drive of the second half when junior running back Trevor McDaniel ran for a 2-yard touchdown at the 6:42 mark of the third quarter. The Warriors missed the two-point conversion try, leaving the Bison with a 22-20 lead.

Carlisle came back with an 8-yard scoring drive that ended with a 12-yard touchdown run by junior Justice Bryant. Then, the Bison caught a break when quarterback Chris Hart bobbled the snap on the extra-point attempt by Ricks. Hart rolled out and Ricks went into an impromptu route, catching the pass and crossing the goal line to put Carlisle up 30-20.

“That’s our fire call,” Waymire said. “If we get a bad snap, that’s what we work on. We never want those to happen, but we rep those. It was a matter of execution, and Chris and Deron did their job. The line held out long enough for us to get that throw off.”

Hart was fairly quiet most of the night from a big-play standpoint, completing only one pass to junior Austin Reed for a 21-yard gain to give the Bison a first and goal at the EPC 2-yard line. Hart called his own number on the next play for the score to give Carlisle a 14-8 lead with 9:05 left to play in the first half.

“He’s a senior who has played a lot of football,” Waymire said. “He’s been starting and on the field either on offense or defense since he was a sophomore. Those guys are big-time players because they have played. They step up and make plays, and he did that tonight.”

The most demoralizing moment of the night for the Warrior defense came with less than nine minutes remaining when Ricks took a second-down handoff from Hart and went 23-yards, pushing three EPC defenders down field along with him as they attempted to get a handle on him. Four plays later, he busted a 22-yard run for Carlisle’s final score.

“He’s a big-time player,” Waymire said. “People know who he is now. I don’t think people truly knew who he was last year, but he’s a player. We’ve got a lot of players, but I’m very proud of Deron Ricks tonight.”

Bryant scored Carlisle’s first touchdown on a 40-yard run down the left side at the 9-minute mark of the first quarter. Ricks ran in the two-point conversion play to give the Bison an early 8-0 lead.

Hart scored on short keepers for the Bison’s next two touchdowns to give the Bison a 22-14 lead at the half.

Bryant rushed 15 times for 79 yards and two touchdowns, as the Bison finished with 288 yards of total offense.

For the Warriors, McDaniel led the way with 16 carries for 88 yards. EPC finished with 231 yards.