Saturday, November 16, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Carlisle gets by Indians in first

Leader sportswriter

Total yards and time of possession did not reflect Carlisle’s dominance in a 38-6 rout of Marked Tree in the first round of the 2A state football playoffs at Fred C. Hardke Field on Friday.

The Bison (10-1) had two brief possessions through most of the second half, and had held the ball just over two minutes by the time they took their third and final possession with 7:41 remaining.

Carlisle struck fast in the first half and built a 24-0 lead by the 1:30 mark of the first quarter, and scored two more times in the second quarter to build a 32-6 lead at halftime.

The Indians (6-5) were not able to take advantage of hogging the ball in the second half, however, as their first second-half drive went 13 plays and nearly seven minutes, but a barrage of penalties stalled the drive at midfield. Marked Tree got close on its next possession, going 58 yards in 10 plays before fumbling the ball with first and goal at the Carlisle 1-yard line.

Senior Jordan Sheets recovered for the Bison at the 5, and from there, it was all about running out the clock.

“It was good for our defense to get some more reps,” Bison coach Brandon Barbaree said. “I’m proud of the effort, of course, there’s plenty to clean up, but it gave our secondary a lot of work, and our linebackers in pass defense. It’s good to get a playoff win and be able to play next week.”

The total-yard tallies for each team were also misleading. Carlisle finished with 285 total yards, with all of that coming on the ground with the exception of a 71-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Chase Brazeal to senior receiver Braden Reed with 1:30 to go in the opening period. Chance Richards ran in the two-point conversion try to give the Bison a 24-0 lead.

Marked Tree was not far behind in the total-yards category, with 259 yards of offense. The bulk of that came off the arm of Indians quarterback Brody McCreary, who went 17 of 29 for 181 yards.

Carlisle senior running backs DeRon Ricks and Bo Weddle led the Bison to quick scores in the first half, and sat out all of the offensive reps in the second half. Ricks finished with 10 carries for 136 yards and two touchdowns, while Weddle had 11 rushes for 67 yards and a touchdown.

Senior Justice Bryant carried twice for Carlisle, once for no gain, and another for 66 yards and a touchdown with 11:33 remaining to set the final margin.

Ricks scored quickly for the Bison on the opening drive to cap off a five-play, 61-yard scoring drive that took less than two minutes. Ricks picked up 23 yards on a rush up the gut in which he toted along five Indian defenders for the last half of the run, and finished it off with a 15-yard touchdown run with 10:09 to go in the first quarter. Ricks also converted the two-point run to give the Bison an early 8-0 lead.

Weddle got the next score for the Bison when he broke free from 16 yards out at the 5:43 mark of the first quarter. Bryant tacked on the conversion run to give the Bison a 16-0 advantage. Ricks struck again before the end of the half when he went untouched on a sweep play to the right from 43 yards to give the Bison a 32-6 lead with 2:46 remaining in the half.

The Indians were consistent in their passing game, but Carlisle’s secondary did not give up any big plays. Marked Tree had just two passes for gains of more than 20 yards, and scored its only touchdown when McCreary snuck in from a yard out to make it 24-6 with 10:18 remaining in the second quarter.

“We don’t get to see much of this in our conference,” Barbaree said of Marked Tree’s Spread game. “It was great to get that extra work, and we needed that second half just for us, because we’re going to see it later on.”

The Bison will host Conway Christian, a 36-28 winner over Walnut Ridge, next week in the second round of the 2A state playoffs.