Saturday, September 14, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Jackrabbits bully past rival Beebe

Leader sportswriter

It wasn’t the typical result during the annual Beebe-versus-Lonoke showdown as the Jackrabbits dominated every facet of the game in a 41-14 blowout at James B. Abraham Stadium on Friday.

The Jackrabbits (1-1) moved the ball at will on offense, and took advantage of Beebe turnovers to control the contest from the outset. Lonoke’s defense showed its muscle by holding dynamic Badger sophomore fullback Trip Smith to 70 yards on 18 carries, and junior defensive back Trey Bevis squashed any hopes of a Beebe comeback in the second half with two interceptions deep in Lonoke territory.

“We knew they were going to be physical; we preached that all week,” Lonoke coach Doug Bost said. “We hit and we hit and we hit all week, and the kids came out and they executed it. I told them that’s a team right there that scored 38 points last week, and we held them to 14, and one of those was on a drive that started at the 10-yard line. I’m real proud of our defense – real proud.”

The Badgers (0-2) appeared to establish a nice offensive rhythm early, taking their first drive nearly 70 yards while eating more than seven minutes off the clock until a fumble at the Lonoke 3-yard line gave Bevis his first of three takeaways, and set the Jackrabbits up for their second scoring drive.

There were just three sets of hands moving the ball for the Jackrabbits until subs played out the final two minutes. Sophomore tailback Josh Coleman torched Beebe’s defense with 19 carries for 163 yards and five touchdowns.

Senior quarterback Kody Smith put his hard-nosed running style on display with 15 carries for 191 yards and a touchdown, while recent Arkansas State verbal commit Blake Mack carried five times for 44 yards, and had six receptions for 74 yards.

Mack had a couple of big plays late in the second half that were called back on penalties after the game was well within Lonoke’s hands.

In all, Lonoke’s offense totaled 523 yards.

“He ran real well,” Bost said of Coleman. “For a 10th grader, I mean, we had some plays that were working. He ran really hard for us tonight.”

Beebe’s turnover woes continued into the second week as the Badgers gave the ball up six times, including first half fumbles recovered by Jackrabbit defenders Cedric Cooney and Jacob Vandiver. Sophomore Lance Dugger came up with the biggest special-teams play of the night when he recovered a fumbled kickoff return by Beebe at the Badger 16-yard line with 11:07 remaining.

The Badgers went to the air more in the second half in an attempt to come back from a 27-7 halftime deficit, but Bevis sniffed out two long passes from Beebe quarterback Aaron Nunez and pulled both of them down for interceptions, including his second pick that ricocheted off the hands of intended receiver Connor Patrom.

“We told him to stay back at 12 yards,” Bost said. “Don’t come up in case they break through all that mess right there, and he did a good job staying back and got a big interception there.”

Smith called his own number repeatedly for Lonoke with almost complete success, with the shortest gain of his 15 totes at two yards, and just four carries of less than five yards. Smith broke a number of tackles the hard way by simply lowering his head and running through the defender.

“We have five or six run plays that are run reads,” Bost said. “He has worked on that from day one, and he makes us dangerous when he can read when to keep it and when to give it. You don’t see quarterbacks with that kind of mentality, looking to run over a safety back there, and he does. That gets him into the game.”

Mack did not convert a score for Lonoke, though he did combine his running and catching abilities for 118 all-purpose yards with two Division I college scouts looking on.

“He committed to Arkansas State on Monday,” Bost said. “So they came down, and Louisiana Tech, he called me and said he understood he committed, but I’m still going to keep recruiting him. I think he had three touchdowns brought back on penalties tonight. If we had a negative, it was too many penalties. We’ve got to clean that up.”

Beebe finished with 243 total yards, including Nunez’s 14 carries for 75 yards, along with his 39 passing yards.

Beebe will host Vilonia next week, while Lonoke hosts Little Rock McClellan. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.