Saturday, September 10, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Badgers clobber Jackrabbits

Leader sports editor

It had been five years since Beebe last beat Lonoke on the gridiron, and the Badgers took five years of frustration out on the Jackrabbits in one half on Friday. Beebe dominated every facet of the game en route to a 42-7 halftime lead and a 49-7, mercy-rule victory at A.S. Bro Irwin Stadium.

“It was good getting that monkey off my back,” said Beebe coach John Shannon. “At least now I won’t have people around town asking me why we can’t beat Lonoke.”

The Badgers were successful no matter who was at quarterback or who they handed the ball to. The starters didn’t step onto the field in the second half, but starting fullback Kahlil Anthony had 17 carries for 90 yards and two touchdowns, while halfback Taylor Boyce carried eight times for 67 yards and two scores. Beebe only attempted one pass, but it went for 27 yards and a touchdown from quarterback C.J. Cauldwell to Boyce.

“Kahlil ran the ball really well tonight,” Shannon said. “He hit his spots harder and moved better with the ball. He did a great job and showed a lot of improvement.”

Mason Walker started at quarterback and had three carries for 36 yards. He split time with Cauldwell, who had three carries for 25 yards and the touchdown pass.

Shannon said he will likely continue to play both players.

“For a while anyway,” Shannon said. “They both did a really good job tonight. They both bring different strengths, so we’re going to continue to use both of them.”

Lonoke got the ball first and things started going wrong right away for the visiting team. On the second play from scrimmage, a fumbled snap resulted in Beebe’s Parker Payne covering it at the Lonoke 34-yard line.

Beebe needed five plays from there to score the first of six first-half touchdowns with 8:51 left in the opening quarter. Sophomore halfback Taylor Boyce hit a quick dive on the left side from 7 yards out and Daniel Martinez’s extra-point attempt was good to make the score 7-0.

Lonoke got one first down on its next possession, but was forced to punt on fourth and 4 from its own 46.

Beebe let the punt fall and Lonoke covered it on the Badger 12-yard line, but that only set up a long touchdown drive.

Eight plays got the ball to the Lonoke 38, and Boyce took a counter handoff and went that distance for the second score of the game. The drive took more than four minutes, and Beebe led 14-0 with 31 seconds left in the first quarter.

Beebe would double that in the second period.

On the ensuing drive, Lonoke faced third down and 1 yard to go on its own 40 when a high shotgun snap sailed backwards 23 yards, where Beebe’s Luke Oakley covered it for the Badgers.

Quarterback Mason Walker carried 4 yards on first down, and fullback Kahlil Anthony did the rest, going 7 yards and then 6 for the score with 10:01 left in the half. The extra point was no good, leaving the score 20-0.

Everyone knew it was Beebe’s night when they messed up a sky kick and ended up recovering it at the Lonoke 46-yard line.

“That wasn’t an on-side kick,” Shannon said. “We tried to sky kick it but he shanked it. It ended up going about 12 yards and bounced off one of their guys’ head and we were right there. It just worked out pretty good for us.”

Cauldwell went 11 yards on the keeper on first down. Two plays later, Cauldwell kept for 6 yards on third and 5 to keep the drive going. Three plays later, Beebe faced fourth and 1 when Anthony powered forward for 8 yards to the Lonoke 7. Boyce picked up 4 and Anthony did the rest for a 27-0 Beebe lead with 4:22 left in the first half.

Lonoke was not void of positive plays in the first half. Jackrabbit quarterback Daniel Seigrist faked a reverse handoff on the first play of the ensuing drive and went 63 yards untouched down the right hash marks. The extra point made it 27-7 with 4:07 left in the second quarter.

Beebe, however, still had two scores to go. After taking over at their own 34, the Badgers got 23 yards on first down on a quarterback keeper by Walker. After a face mask on Lonoke, Nathan Clifton picked up 16 yards to the Lonoke 11. Anthony did the rest on the next two carries and the extra point made it 34-7.

Lonoke then fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Beebe’s Boyce made his second recovery at the Rabbits’ 25 with 1:52 left in the half.

After a holding penalty, Beebe went to the air for the final score of the half. Cauldwell rolled right where Boyce had snuck through the defense and was running all alone. He made the catch inside the 10-yard line and trotted into the end zone.

Cauldwell kept right for the two-point conversion and the 42-7 lead with 1:52 on the clock.

Beebe’s second string rolled down the field on the first drive of the second half. Evan Cockrum had a 32-yard run to the Lonoke 18 that would’ve been a touchdown had the back judge not got in his way. Nathan Burnett got the final 16 yards on three successive carries to set the final margin with 5:40 left in the third quarter.

Lonoke got one first down on its next drive, but punted after a holding penalty and two incomplete passes.

Beebe took over on its own 47 and took nine plays to run out the clock at the Lonoke 13-yard line.

Beebe (1-1) finished with 263 total yards while Lonoke had just 80. Because of so many plays for negative yardage, Seigrist finished with more rushing yards than Lonoke (1-1) had total yards. He carried seven times for 96 yards and a score.