Saturday, October 12, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Bison blow Brinkley off the field

Leader sportswriter

Carlisle had little trouble with winless Brinkley during Friday’s homecoming game at Fred C. Hardke Field, as the No. 2 Bison manhandled the Tigers 44-0 to stay unbeaten and improve to 3-0 in 2A-6 Conference play.

The Bison (6-0, 3-0) offense scored at will in the first two quarters against the struggling Tigers (0-6, 0-3), racking up 276 yards in the half, all rushing, to jump out to a comfortable 32-0 lead by halftime.

Defensively, Carlisle forced Brinkley to turn the ball over on two of its three first-half possessions, and held the Tigers to just 93 yards of offense during that time. But even though the Bison dominated on both sides of the ball, Carlisle coach Brandon Barbaree thought his team could’ve played even better.

“You get all these distractions and it’s hard to stay focused and get up for the game,” said Barbaree of homecoming. “And I try to preach to them one game at a time – one game, one game, one game – and it’s hard for them to get that in their head.

“We let some things get away from us that we probably shouldn’t have, so I wasn’t real happy with the first half. Yea, the score may have been all right, but it’s not how many you score, it’s how you play, and I don’t think we played as clean as we should have.”

Carlisle scored on the game’s opening drive, which ended with a 7-yard touchdown run by senior running back DeRon Ricks. Fellow senior Justice Bryant ran in the two-point conversion to give the Bison an early 8-0 lead.

After going three and out on its first possession, Brinkley attempted a fake punt, but picked up no gain, turning the ball over to the Bison at their own 33-yard line. Carlisle made the Tiger defense pay with a punishing eight-play drive that ended with a 4-yard touchdown run by Bo Weddle with 4:29 to play in the first quarter.

Ricks plowed in the two-point conversion to make it 16-0 Bison. Brinkley again turned the ball over on downs the following possession, and Carlisle found the end zone again on a 20-yard run by Ricks with 9:09 to play in the second quarter. Bryant again ran in the two-point conversion to push the Bison lead to 24-0.

Carlisle’s third scoring drive didn’t end with all smiles though, as senior quarterback/free safety Austin Reed went down with a knee injury after picking up a first down on a 19-yard run.

After the play, Reed walked off the field on his own power, but had a noticeable limp and was held out for the remainder of the game. Afterwards, he was still favoring his knee, but was in good spirits, and said he was all right.

With next week’s game against archrival Hazen on the road, a game that will in all likelihood decide the conference champion and No. 1 seed from the 2A-6, Reed’s health could very well be the deciding factor in determining the outcome of that game.

“I think he’s going to be all right,” Barbaree said of Reed. “I think he just came down hard on his knee cap. We had him checked out, and he’ll be ready to go. I was the one that pulled him out. He wasn’t going to play any more (tonight).”

Junior Chase Brazeal took over play-calling duties for the remainder of the game, and led the Bison to one more score before the first half ended. It took 13 plays, but Weddle punched in his second touchdown of the night on a 1-yard run as time expired.

Weddle also ran in the two-point conversion to put Brinkley in a 32-0 hole at the break.

Penalties plagued the Tigers’ offense in the second half and on third down and 20 at their own 20-yard line, quarterback Case Harrell threw a screen pass that was intercepted by linebacker Jacob Gordon, and Gordon returned it the distance for another Bison touchdown.

Gordon’s score made it 38-0, which invoked the sportsmanship rule with just over 8:00 to go in the third quarter. Carlisle set the final score early in the fourth quarter on a 2-yard run up the gut by offensive lineman Cody Bowlan from the fullback position.

The Bison finished the game with 299 yards of offense, bettering Brinkley’s 119. Ricks led all players with 10 carries for 126 yards and two touchdowns. Weddle had 12 carries for 68 yards and two scores. Neither got a carry in the second half. Bryant was the only other Carlisle player with double-digit carries. He had 11 for 75 yards.

Next week’s barn-burner at Hazen will kickoff at 7 p.m.