Friday, November 28, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> JHS ladies drop pair at WMHS

Leader sports editor

The Jacksonville Lady Red Devils dropped to 3-4 on the season with a pair of losses at the West Memphis Classic earlier this week. The Lady Devils fell 53-40 to the host team on Monday, then dropped a 43-34 decision to Greene County Tech on Tuesday.

Jacksonville held third-quarter leads in both games, but mistakes down the stretch led to the losses.

“West Memphis is very good and I thought we played pretty well overall,” said Jacksonville coach William Rountree. “They’re very long, big guards and big post players. They were able to create some mismatches and take advantage of that.

“I didn’t think we played well on Tuesday. That’s a game I really think we should’ve won to be honest with you. But it’s good to get exposed to these different styles of play early, especially for a young team like this one.”

Senior point guard Antrice McCoy led Jacksonville with 12 points against West Memphis while Desiree Williams added nine and Asiah Williams scored seven.

McCoy also scored 12 points against GCT, but no one else had more than six. Jacksonville played Tuesday’s game without starting sophomore guard Alexis James, who missed with problems relating to asthma.

The Lady Red Devils tried to press early, but came out of it and worked on its half-court game at a tempo more to the liking of the Lady Eagles.

“We couldn’t get a lot out of our press,” Rountree said. “So we made an effort to focus on our half-court execution.”

Jacksonville executed it well and seemed to have an advantage going into the fourth quarter.

With the lead, the Lady Devils pulled the ball outside to try and force Tech out of its sagging zone defense.

The switch to man gave the more athletic Lady Devils better opportunities to get the ball to the rim for high-percentage shots, but they weren’t falling.

“We pulled them out of their zone, we just missed some layups,” Rountree said. “It’s obvious where we’re at, it being early and only having one experienced player. We’re going to have games like this. We knew we’re in a tough part of our schedule and I told them it’s good to get exposed to these different styles early on.”

Jacksonville’s girls and boys host West Memphis on Tuesday. Girls tip off at 6 p.m.

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot girls upset reigning champs

Leader sports editor

The Cabot Lady Panthers pulled off an upset on Tuesday, going on the road and defeating defending Class 7A state champion Conway 72-66. The Lady Wampus Cats have everyone back from a year ago, with one player yet to play so far this season for undisclosed reasons. Despite the experience, the home team struggled early with Cabot’s full-court pressure.

The Lady Panthers jumped out to a big lead early, taking a 22-10 advantage into the second quarter and holding off the Wampus Cats from there.

The Lady Panthers, 3-1, also struggled with Conway’s press, turning it over 22 times, but when Cabot created turnovers it converted them into points, and the half-court offense executed well. The Lady Panthers worked the ball inside for high-percentage shots, and post player Alyssa Hamilton finished.

Hamilton, a three-year starter, finished with a game-high 28 points on 9 of 15 shooting, and was 10 of 14 from the free-throw line.

Cabot only took two 3-point shots and missed them both.

Conway pulled to within 40-31 by halftime of the fast-paced game, and was within 53-47 by the start of the fourth quarter. Cabot’s margin shrunk to as little as two, but Conway could never take the lead.

Senior guard Danielle McWilliams scored 14 points and dished out three assists while junior forward Anna Sullivan dropped in 12 points. Junior point guard Leighton Taylor had nine points and three assists, and Hamilton led the team with eight rebounds.

The Cabot boys, 1-1, suffered a second-quarter slump and couldn’t fully recover Tuesday in a 43-39 loss at Conway. The Panthers managed just three points in the second frame after playing to a 10-10 tie in the first quarter. That left the visiting Panthers with a 22-13 deficit at the half.

The Wampus Cats pushed that margin to as much as 14 early in the third quarter, but Cabot battled back, cutting it to as little as three points and having a few possessions while trailing by that margin.

“We had a few chances when it was a one-possession game,” said Cabot coach Jerry Bridges. “We just got in a bit of a hurry. We kept grinding. The kids battled to get back in it and I was proud of them for that. We just can’t have those lulls like we did in the second quarter. We just can’t do that man. We have got to shoot better.”

The Panthers shot just 28 percent from the field, with the second-quarter percentage even lower. Once Cabot got to within one possession in the fourth quarter, the shots were not as high percentage as they had been in the process of getting that close.

“We just rushed when we had the opportunity to tie it or get within one point,” Bridges said. “Some of that’s just from having a pretty inexperienced team. Overall I thought there were a lot more positives than negatives. I was proud of how gutty they were in the fourth quarter.”

Junior forward Garrett Rowe led Cabot in scoring and rebounding, dropping in 15 points and grabbing 11 boards. It was also the first game for sophomore guard Jarrod Barnes, who joined the team after football season ended, but sat out until this week with a thumb injury suffered in football. He fouled out without scoring, but the head Panther thinks he will become a contributing player.

“It gave Jarrod a chance to knock some rust off,” Bridges said. “He fouled out but at least he got on the floor and got a chance to see what it’s like at this level. This is different from ninth grade, but I think once he gets in the flow of things he can add a dimension we don’t have right now, and he brings added depth.”

The Cabot boys and girls will host Class 2A England on Tuesday with the Lady Panthers tipping off at 6 p.m.

SPORTS STORY >> Wynne puts an end to Beebe’s run

Leader sports editor

WYNNE – The underdog Beebe Badgers made one great run into the semifinals of the Class 5A football playoffs, but the run came to an end on Friday. The Badgers gave heavily favored Wynne all it could handle, but the Yellowjackets prevailed 35-28 to advance to the state championship game next Saturday against Pulaski Academy.

It came down to a fourth and 11 play for the Badgers with less than a minute remaining. The primary receiver was covered. Quarterback Aaron Nunez was forced to scramble and heave a prayer for Clayton Meurer. The pass was intercepted by Wynne’s Jalen Young at the 14-yard line, sealing the victory for the home team.

Beebe had more total yards and dominated time of possession, but the Yellowjackets got one more defensive stop than did the Badgers, and that made the difference.

“My kids played their hearts out and I’m proud of them for that,” said Beebe coach John Shannon.

Beebe had lost 7 yards on third and 4 from the Wynne 23-yard line, putting the Badgers into the passing situation.

“I called that reverse and they were waiting for something like that,” Shannon said. “I figured they were but we were running out of time. I didn’t think we had enough time to keep pounding it and thought we had to try something. We gambled and we lost. That’s how it goes sometimes.”

Beebe took over its final possession with 8:10 remaining after the Yellowjackets scored on a 4-yard run by quarterback Ross Trail for the lead. But the Badgers had already had two scoring drives that took longer than that. After converting two fourth downs, Beebe was still on its down side of the field with 3:30 left in the game. A halfback counter got Jo’Vaughn Wyrick to the Wynne 29 two players later, and two more plays made it third and 4 at the 23. But the next play was another counter that preceded the interception.

Beebe entered the game as big underdogs, but Wynne coach Chris Hill got just about what he expected.

“I knew it was going to be a tough game because that offense is hard to stop,” Hills said. “I told the guys at halftime we were going to have to score every time we got it in the second half. We only got it twice, but we scored both times and that did it for us.”

The Badgers got on the board first, taking the opening drive 64 yards in 10 plays, facing just one third down along the way. Fullback Trip Smith punched it in from 3 yards out with 7:21 left in the first quarter. Tyler Jones’ extra point gave the Badgers a 7-0 lead.

Wynne didn’t take long to answer. On third and 8, Trail hit Devonte Pounds on a post pattern down the right seam for 58 yards and the score.

Beebe also answered quickly, with Wyrick going 69 yards on the fourth play of the drive for a 14-7 Beebe lead with 3:39 left in the quarter.

Wynne went three and out with three-straight incomplete passes, but the Badgers weren’t able to get a cushion. The Yellowjacket defense stopped Beebe on fourth and 2 on its own 32-yard line, and took over from there. On third and 6, Trail hit Zach Morris on a wide receiver screen that went 28 yards for the score with 11:50 remaining in the first half.

Wynne’s defense forced a Badger three and out, and the offense quickly gave the home team its first lead of the game. Pounds took another pass along the seam, this time for 71 yards and another touchdown with 9:40 left in the half.

The Badgers faced a lot of speed in the 5A Central, but not like it saw on Friday.

“We didn’t see anything like that,” Shannon said. “They had those guys going down the field out-running Wyrick and Meurer. If you’re outrunning those two you’re faster than anyone we have.”

Beebe’s offense was on the verge of stalling altogether, but a couple of key conversions on its final drive of the half kept the game-tying drive going.

On the second set of downs, Wyrick picked up 5 hard-fought yards on third and four, but the Badgers battled from behind the chains almost the entire drive. Wyrick picked up 6 yards on third and 7, and Nunez kept for 4 yards on fourth down to the Wynne 43. Smith then went for 7 and 18 yards to set up first and goal at the 9, but a Badger lineman jumped to put the team 14 yards from the goal line. Wyrick got those five back on first down and Nunez went for 1 yard on a keeper. Wyrick then got 7 yards on third and 8 to set up fourth and goal at the 1. Smith got it off tackle and Jones tied the game at 21 with 43 seconds left in the half.

Beebe, 8-5, had the ball for 37:24 of the game while Wynne, 12-1, had it just 11:36. Beebe totaled 355 yards and Wynne 315.

Wyrick led all rushers with 168 yards on 20 carries while Smith added 137 yards on 34 carries.

EDITORIAL >> Free speech and politics

Jacksonville City Attorney Robert Bamburg has demanded the resignation of three civil service commissioners because they participated in the recent mayoral election. Bamburg says the statute that is being used to relieve these three commissioners — two supporters of former Police Chief Gary Sipes and one a supporter of Mayor Gary Fletcher — clearly states that civil service commissioners should stay above politics.

All three commissioners disagree with the interpretation of the law and question the meaning behind it all. Commissioner Bob Stroud — a Fletcher supporter — officially tendered his resignation as soon as Bamburg demanded that he step down. Jacksonville has lost a community leader who has worked for the city for more than three decades as an alderman and on various committees and commissions.

Somewhat more reluctantly, Donnie Farmer, a Sipes supporter, has also turned in his letter of resignation. He has also been active in the community and served on the commission for 20 years.

The mayor himself has said it’s hard to find good people to serve on city panels and now two are on the sidelines. Will either of these two men step forward again to help the city? Probably not, and no one would blame them.

The third commissioner, Jerry Reichenbach, another Sipes supporter, is holding tight to his belief that he did nothing wrong.

Farmer and Reichenbach pushed for a new mayor and were probably not happy that Fletcher won. Both men have done adequate jobs as civil service commissioners, but Bamburg insists they should have stayed out of politics and are no longer impartial civil servants. The case is strongest against Farmer as he is listed as an official of the Sipes campaign on required financial reports.

This year’s mayoral campaign, mostly because of social media, became vicious
and divisive.

Does “working in any official capacity” include donating money, holding signs and telling friends and neighbors to vote for a certain candidate? And does the definition of “political organization” include local-level campaigns?

Bamburg says follow the law, which means staying out of politics. Mayor Fletcher will now appoint at least two new commissioners. Good luck finding people who were neutral in the bitterly fought mayoral campaign.

TOP STORY >> Christmas Road to Bethlehem

Bethlehem United Methodist Church’s Christmas-story display, called Road to Bethlehem, will open Monday and remain up through New Year’s Day.

“The story of Christ’s birth is told through approximately 30 scenes and scriptures that are placed on properties along Bethlehem Road, off Hwy. 31 North just outside Lonoke,” according to a news release from the church’s Pastor Carolyn Staley.

The church and its neighbors, along Bethlehem Road, partner annually on the display.

The church will also host four nights of musical programs and open houses with refreshments at 7 p.m. Dec. 17 through Dec. 20:

 Dec. 17 — Bethlehem United Methodist soloists and ensembles;

 Dec. 18 — Finest Forte, an award-winning youth vocal ensemble from Carlisle;

 Dec. 19 — Bobby Burns Bluegrass;

 Dec. 20 — Bull Creek Boys and Girls.

According to the news release, “Since it began in 1987, the exhibit has been a popular destination for visitors from all over central Arkansas.”

“The memories are often shared about families driving down Bethlehem Road and enjoying the Christmas story together.”

“The true meaning of Christmas comes to life. The lighted displays are wonderful to see at night, but the scenes are also enjoyed on daytime drives,” Staley said.

She said, “We invite you and friends, large groups, church buses, senior groups and all to enjoy the Road to Bethlehem this season.”

Bethlehem United Methodist Church is at 2540 Bethlehem Road in Lonoke County. Ark.

TOP STORY >> Local wins Karaoke World title

Leader staff writer

Third time was the charm for 37-year-old Anthony Montius Magee of Jacksonville when he became the first man from the United States to be crowned Karaoke World Champion.

The competition, held in Sweden earlier this month, debuted in 2003. It was held in Finland that year.

“This is really surreal. I can’t believe it happened,” Magee said in an interview.

About his karaoke career, he continued, “You never know who you touch by the song you sing. I’ve met a lot of people, a lot of people. Competing on the world level was mind-blowing.”

The champion added that karaoke has given him the chance to see parts of the world he never imagined that he would see.

On winning the championship, Magee said, “It’s humbling. It’s very overwhelming. It’s very rewarding.”

He wowed the judges and this year’s crowd with his performances of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” Radiohead’s “Creep,” Prince’s “Darling Nikki” and Kenny Rogers’ “Lady.”

The champion said, “I like being (a) shock value. You would look at me and think ‘oh, he’s going to sing R&B.’ No, no, no…I’m not going to sing R&B. I’m going to sing a little bit of everything.”

Magee’s goal is to grab the audience, “take them on a ride” and “leave them wanting more.” He describes himself as a performer who incorporates his acting experience on stage when appropriate.

He has starred in plays at the Arkansas Repertory Theater and auditioned for productions at The Weekend Theater. Both are in Little Rock.

Magee continued, “I usually choose songs that mean something to me. Some people sing for the judges, and (say) ‘let’s see what the judges are going to like this year.’ No. I don’t care what the judges like because you’re the one there doing all the work.”

He explained that the competition should be about the singer and what they’re doing on stage, not about the type of music the judges like.

The North Pulaski High School graduate grew up on Little Rock Air Force Base and helps his mom run M&M Fashion Boutique at 311 E. Main St. in his hometown.

Despite not placing his first year, 2012, and coming in second to his best friend, Carter Thomas, at the 2013 nationals, Magee told The Leader he’s not a quitter.

The competition has several levels. Singers compete at local bars first. The winners of those contests move on to the state championship.

The state champions go to the national contest. The men and women winners there receive an all-expense paid trip to the world competition.

Last year was the first time an Arkansan was sent to the world competition. In 2012, just three from the state made it to the national stage.

The champion was proud to say that 21 of the 63 who competed at the national level this year were Arkansans.

Magee’s journey to the world stage began when his brother convinced him to sing in front of a few friends. The champion told The Leader he’d been “a karaoke junkie ever since.”

He said his mother also sings and, if anyone could be called his coach, it would be her. She is a retired teacher who kept him in line when he was a child, Magee recalled.

He also took voice lessons as a music major at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway and in high school before singing competitions.

Magee has stage fright but said he learned to channel it in a positive way. Now he is “more at home on stage. That’s just where I feel comfortable. That’s where I want to be.”

He said he has always wanted to be an artist, and karaoke provided an avenue for that.

About why he likes the craft, Magee described it as “euphoric.”

He said, “It’s a gift. It’s a blessing. I’m not going to not use it.”

Magee explained, “It’s a release. Sometimes I’ve got so much on my heart that I’ve got to get it there. I’ve just got to. I’ll be the first one to make myself cry in a second. On ‘Lady,’ I was crying. The whole crowd was crying. It was crazy.”

Magee said his greatest weakness is being too hard on himself.

“I have the tendency to put a lot of pressure on myself because I’m such a perfectionist, especially when it comes to my craft.”

But his greatest strength, the champion said, is his ambition and drive.

“If I want it, I’m going to get it,” he said.

But, Magee noted, “I’ve gotten to where I wanted to with karaoke.”

Although the champion plans to continue performing karaoke, he said he wants to try new things.

Magee has made a few studio recordings, written some songs and is awaiting word on an audition in Nashville. He wants to sing everything and not have a genre label.

And, Magee said, artists have to make every song their own.

He plans to try out for a part in “The 89th Key,” a musical that will be filmed in Little Rock.

Magee said he also wants to know the ins and outs of the music business, including music production.

TOP STORY >> Historic station requests more parking space

Leader staff writer

The Sherwood City Council this week heard one reading of a proposal to spend about $14,000 on a property near the historic Roundtop filling station to build a parking lot for visitors.

Two more readings — three total — are required before the council can vote to adopt an ordinance.

The 1936 station is being restored for $192,000. Two Arkansas Historic Preservation Program grants, worth a total of $128,000, were provided for the project. The city, the Sherwood Chamber of Commerce and private donations came up with the required matching amounts.

The project is expected to wrap up before the end of this year.

Alderman Ken Keplinger asked the council to approve the property purchase because 148 people visited the building on Nov. 7, when it was featured in the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program’s “Walks Through History: Sandwiching in History” tour.

He said, “There was absolutely zero parking. The place was so congested.”

Keplinger added that Metropolitan Bank and Trust would consider donating another nearby parcel if the city buys the property that is for sale now.

He also noted that, in addition to parking, the property could eventually be transformed into a park.

That suggestion sparked objection from Aldermen Mary Jo Heye and Charles Harmon.

Heye said, “No real need has been established that we need to, at this time, to put ina parking lot or do any type of expansion out there.”

She pointed out that it is possible people will just drive by the building when it opens as a police substation. The grants required that the station have a designated purpose.

Heye also said the city spent $90,000 on a master park study that resulted in a comprehensive plan that puts parks where the most people can be served by them.

She said the Roundtop and property surrounding is on the far edge of the city limits.

Heye also said the site has a long history of vandalism, and police are investigating an attempted arson that happened there in early November.

She complained that, when the council agreed to put up funds for matching the grants, the aldermen were told the site wouldn’t be vandalized.

Heye also said, if a park is built out there, it should be placed near the Trammel Estates subdivision that is closer to city limits but on the same road as the Roundtop.

The alderman argued that a private company could put in private or paid parking if needed. “It’s not the job of government to do what small business can do,” Heye said.

Another concern she had was that purchasing the land also means spending the money to maintain it or turn it into parking.

And, she added, “We don’t know what the future is really going to hold for that property.”

Heye said buying the property would not be a wise way to spend the city’s money because there are neighborhoods that need street and drainage improvements.

She said she’d been told Sherwood didn’t have the money to do those. “We seem to have the money for miscellaneous projects but not the necessities of our community.”

The proposal is “not fiscally responsible,” Heye remarked.

Alderman Marina Brooks disagreed. She said, “I think we have an opportunity with Roundtop to develop it more and to have attractions out there.”

But Harmon agreed with Heye. He said he wasn’t prepared to vote for the proposal and that “parks follow rooftops.”

Keplinger was asked how long the property had been for sale. He responded that he didn’t know.

Alderman Tim McMinn seemed to side with Heye in her lack-of-a-need claim. He said he didn’t know how many special functions would be held and whether people would be allowed inside once it opens as a substation.

Harmon then asked Keplinger to provide the council with prices of similar properties so that aldermen can decide whether $14,000 is a good deal on that piece of land.

In other business:

 The council passed a resolution supporting TeleTech’s participation in the state’s Tax Back Program. TeleTech is the inbound customer service call center for health-insurance providers that opened at 2402 Wildwood Ave. over the summer and brought 250 jobs to the city.

City Attorney Steve Cobb explained at the council meeting this week that the moving expenses – hiring staff, renovating its facility, etc. — of a new business or one that is relocating are taxable.

While Sherwood is limited in the incentives it can offer, Cobb continued, the state has more options — like the Tax Back Program.

TeleTech qualifies for that program but city support is required for the company to participate in it.

Now, with council-approval, TeleTech can get back a significant portion of the taxes that it has paid for expenses of moving and opening in Sherwood.

Cobb said that amount might be as much as 5 percent out of the 6 percent the company paid in taxes.

He added, before the vote, that the council had passed similar resolutions in the past, including one that helped Galley Support Innovations.

 The council passed an ordinance authorizing Utility Service Partners Private Label, Inc., doing business as Service Line Warranties of America, to use the city’s logo and letterhead in creating a solicitation letter.

The company will offer policies to Sherwood residents that will help them pay to repair external sewer lines or to replace external sewer lines. Participation is optional, and the program is not offered through the city.

 The council held the first reading of an ordinance that proposes an 8.5 percent increase in sewer rates, which equates to about $1.60 more per month on the average bill. There was no discussion.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

EDITORIAL >> Vote for McDonald

Clinton McDonald, former Red Devil and current lineman for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is up for a spot in the Pro Bowl game and needs the support of his hometown.

Players are selected based on fan votes.

He had a great year last season as a member of the Super Bowl champs, the Seattle Seahawks, and he’s having another strong year this season with Tampa Bay.

But besides his football prowess, he has been a strong supporter of local schools. He’s visited many over the past year to talk about leadership, character and bullying. He has donated funds to various projects. Just last week, he donated money to Warren Dupree Elementary, his old school, so that families will have food for the holidays.

To cast a vote for McDonald, go to Scroll down a bit to the defense section. Click on DT for defensive tackle. Click on Clinton McDonald (the list is in alphabetical order). Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click submit.

As they say in Chicago: vote early, vote often.

EDITORIAL >> Schools win state grants

You may have seen our report Saturday that eight schools in the Cabot School District and two schools in the Pulaski County Special School District have received $408,859 from the state Department of Education’s Arkansas School Recognition and Reward program for academic excellence.

Cabot Superintendent Tony Thurman announced the good news to his school board last week. “I am very proud. It’s a very good day,” Thurman said.

According to the article by our reporter Jeffrey Smith, the program provides financial rewards of up to $100 per student to public schools and charter schools in the top 10 percent of the state and up to $50 per student to schools in the top 11 to 20 percent.

The rewards are based on student performance, academic growth and graduation rates. The district will purchase 900 to 1,000 Chromebooks laptop computer with the funds.

Junior High North received $111,833, the highest amount in the state out of 215 schools. Middle School North received $77,073; Middle School South received $69,535; Junior High South was awarded $52,293; Eastside Elementary received $19,503; Mountain Springs Elementary received $20,863; North-side Elementary was awarded $16,377, and Southside Elementary received $20,863.

But Cabot was not the only school district in in The Leader coverage area to win this prestigious award. Other schools in our area receiving reward funding were Arnold Drive Elementary on Little Rock Air Force Base with $11,597 and LISA Academy North charter school in Sherwood with $9,544. Good for them, good for everyone.

Parents, teachers and administrators should take a bow. For kids’ sakes, we hope other districts in our area will win similar prizes in the future.

TOP STORY >> Tullos is winner in Cabot runoff

Leader staff writer

Doyle Tullos has won 407-223 the runoff for Cabot alderman Ward 3, Position 1, according to uncertified results released Tuesday evening by Lonoke County Clerk Larry Clarke. The margin of victory was 64.6 percent to opponent Wendell Gibson’s 35.4 percent.

Tullos said Tuesday, “I feel great. I feel like I earned every vote. I worked harder for this part-time job than I’ve ever worked for any full-time job.”

He received 2,490 votes in the general election on Nov. 4 but fell short of the required 50 percent with 41.62 percent. Gibson got 1,817 votes (30.27 percent) in the general election. Alderman Angie Jones lost her bid for re-election with 1,676 votes (28.01 percent). Her term ends Dec. 31, and she endorsed Tullos after the general election.

Tullos is retired and has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from ASU.

The Army National Guard Academy graduate’s work history includes 13 years at the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Arkansas Department of Health and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in addition to 22 years in human resources management in private industry.

TOP STORY >> Planning beyond Thanksgiving

Leader staff writer

As many area readers stuff themselves tomorrow like the turkey on their tables, others are already looking forward to visits from St. Nick at a variety of Christmas festivities.

Christmas in Cabot is making a comeback from last year, when it was canceled for inclement weather.

The event, sponsored by the city’s Advertising and Promotions Commission, will be held from 5 until 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6 in the recently refurbished city hall parking lot.

All the food and activities are free, according to organizer Nancy Cohea. She said Peggy Barker is the brains behind the operation and Alderman Ann Gilliam also helped organize it.

Attendees are encouraged to dress warmly and bring their cameras to take pictures with Santa Claus.

There will also be a merry-go-round, a hayride, entertainment by two bands, several giveaways, hot dogs, cupcakes, cookies, hot chocolate, coffee and punch. Cohea said people should come to Christmas in Cabot because “this is a community thing. It’s bringing the community together for Christmas.”

The Cabot event will also include a tree-lighting ceremony.

Sherwood’s Enchanted Forest Trail of Holiday Lights opens at 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 1. The trail at 1111 W. Maryland Ave. will run from 6 to 9:30 p.m. through Dec. 30.

And Jacksonville is hosting its tree-lighting ceremony that same week, at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 4.

Sherwood’s 11th Annual Festival of Lights Silent Auction will be held from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5, and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Dec. 6 at the Bill Harmon Recreation Center.

The fundraiser for city schools is hosted by the parks and recreation department and the chamber of commerce’s Sherwood Young Professionals.

Donations, monetary and of holiday-themed items, are still needed. For more information, call Misty Heaton or Barbara Hubbard at 501-833-0476.

Sherwood’s Breakfast with Santa is set for 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 13 at Sherwood Forest, 111 W. Maryland Ave. Children 6 and under get in free, while admission for older children is $3.

The Jacksonville Sertoma Club, Rotary Club and Lions Club have already teamed up for the annual Civics for Kids at Christmas Drive. The deadline for donations is Sunday. To donate or for more information, call Ron McDaniel at 501-590-0183.

Checks should be made payable to Jacksonville Sertoma Club, P.O. Box 933, Jacksonville, Ark., 72076.

School counselors and staff will distribute gifts to families in need. Adkins Pre-K, Dupree, Tolleson, Taylor, Bayou Meto, Pinewood, Arnold Drive, Lighthouse Charter and Pathfinder are participating.

Other collection efforts underway include the Christmas for Kids toy drive and the Cabot Christmas Alliance food collection.

The group provides for children of all ages who are enrolled in the Cabot School District and their families.

Monetary donations can be mailed to Christmas for Kids, care of Bill Holden, 110 Gunsmoke Drive, Austin, Ark., 72007.

To tell the group about families who need toys or food, call Terena Woodruff at 501-843-3363, ext. 1018.

To donate toys and arrange a pickup, call Rita Stewart at 501-743-3560 or Bill Holden at 501-843-2152.

Donors may also drop off toys at elementary schools through Dec. 19, by leaving a message for Shelley Montoya at 501-408-1792 or by calling Randy Holden at 501-743-6171.

Two holiday musicals, the 18th Annual Santa Shack and a fundraiser featuring Santa Claus are also planned or underway in Cabot.

The Cabot Community Theatre, which recently relocated to 1102 S. Pine St., will perform “Rented Christmas: The Musical” on Friday, Dec. 5 and Saturday, Dec. 6. Dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m., with the show starting at 7:30.

Performances without a meal are set for 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7 and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 11.

Dinner-and-show performances will also be held Friday, Dec. 12 and Saturday, Dec. 13 with the same meal and show times as the first weekend.

For reservations, call 501-941-2266.

Another musical event, “A Cabot Christmas: The Gift,” will be held at Mount Carmel Baptist Church on Saturday, Dec. 13 and Sunday, Dec. 14.

The shows start at 6 p.m. both days.

Free early admission tickets are available. Contact Jennifer Burtts at for more details.

The show, according to the church’s website, will explore the real meaning of exchanging gifts during the holidays. It will also feature favorite holiday music by the choir and orchestra in addition to drama, dance, live animals and more.

And donations for the Cabot Police Department’s annual C.O.P.S. Toy Patrol will be collected during the event.

Cabot City Beautiful’s 18th annual Santa Shack will be open from Nov. 28 through Dec. 23 at the Walmart Supercenter.

Kids can sit on Santa’s lap and get a free candy cane, plus have their picture taken with him for a small fee.

Its hours from Nov. 28 through Dec. 21 are 6 until 8 p.m. on Fridays; Saturdays from 9-11 a.m., noon to 2 p.m., 3 to 5 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m.; and Sundays from 1 to 3 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. The Santa Shack will also be open from 3 to 5 p.m. and 6 until 8 p.m. Dec. 22-23.

The Cabot Civitan Club is hosting a special night for special needs fundraiser from 5:30 until 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 15 on the second floor of the main First Security Bank branch in Cabot, across from city hall.

The event flier encourages people to “Join us as Santa Claus comes to town to hear the Christmas wishes of the special needs boys and girls in our area.”

TOP STORY >> Communities should unite to help base

Leader senior staff writer

The man who created the template for vigorous public-private-military partnerships spoke to the Little Rock Air Force Base Community Council last week, encouraging further partnerships to a community that is already so inclined.

Fred Meurer was a colonel and director of public works at Fort Ord, at the Presidio in California, before he retired and in 1986 went to work for the city of Monterey, Calif., which has several military installations, including the Army’s Presidio.

While at Fort Ord, which later closed in 1994, he discovered that 37 military families at the Presidio were, of necessity, living in tents.

“I was a lieutenant colonel,” he told the community council members.

“We had acres and acres of land, but no money (for housing),” he said. “I went to the general…and suggested we lease military land to a developer.”

Thus, base housing privatization was born.

The military owns the land, the developer builds and owns the houses and apartments, maintains them and collects the rents.

“We did 225 units, and they were 100 percent occupied,” within a year, he said. “Then we did a 300-unit apartment complex.”

That’s when he first realized the power of partnerships between the military and the community — the power of building permanent partnerships and alliances.

That was the first known military-housing privatization. The idea got off to a shaky start later at Little Rock Air Force Base, when Carabetta Enterprises and Shaw Infrastructure — doing business as American Eagle Communities — defaulted on a contract to raze old, substandard base housing and build, maintain and lease hundreds of homes at the base.

As the base commander said of that effort at the time, “two years in, they were three years behind.”

But they were forced to sell their contract to the Hunt-Pinnacle partnership, doing business as The Landings, which has built scores of homes on the base since that time and rehabilitated hundreds.

Meurer said Hunt-Pinnacle was known for their good work in privatized military housing.

Meurer said leadership helped Monterey survive the base closure of Fort Ord in 1991 and to stave off similar actions in 1993, 1995 and 2005 for the Defense League Institute and Naval Post Graduate School and the Presidio of Monterey.

He also said that the city of Monterey began providing contract public works services to the military and other area towns at a savings to everyone.

Soon Monterey was providing plumbing and electrical, roof repair and paving economically to the military, then fire alarm and elevator maintenance and repair, and sewer and broadband service.

“We realized we had six fire departments in the same general area, and saved money through consolidation,” Meurer said. “We now have one department that serves several communities and the Army and Navy.

“We’re saving millions in duplication without degrading our capability,” he said.

Meurer said savings are possible because of the economies of scale. “We structured ourselves, operating like a business with services accountable to a government bureaucracy.”

The city also operates a childcare facility in the Presidio.

“We asked the Army to audit us,” Meurer said, “and we are saving them 41 percent on those services we supply them.”

The Presidio provided land for ball fields, and the city provided construction and maintenance. During the day, those are parade grounds, but, by evening, they are fields of play — military land, community construction.

“What we’ve been able to accomplish in Monterey has been possible only because we’ve been blessed with leadership at the city council level and at the department head level that understood the value and necessity of maintaining consistency with ideas that gave mission-type direction, and then provided the resources to achieve the objectives,” Meurer said.

The city council there authorized a sizable budget to Meurer and let him turn over day-to-day city operations to his assistant, giving him carte blanche to do whatever was necessary to convince the BRAC commission its recommendation was wrong.

Then the mayor gave him mission guidance — “When it’s over, don’t look back and say, ‘I wish I had done this or that.’”

According to the Army, “Meurer has done more for the military in Monterey than anyone over the last 32 years. He’s helped the community deal with Fort Ord closing, helped prevent the closures of the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center and Naval Postgraduate School, developed a business model that saved the city of Monterey and the Army millions of dollars on maintenance, and been the voice of reason amidst fiscal crises and other emergencies.”

Meurer said he works as a consultant for the Panetta Institute on how to move into the future and also on national security issues.Leon Panetta is the former secretary of defense and director of the CIA, director of the budget, Bill Clinton’s chief of staff and served as a congressman.

LRAFB and the local community, while not as widely integrated with the local community as Monterey, nearby towns and the Presidio there, have a long-standing history of private/public/military partnerships, most notably with local residents taxing themselves $5 million to help build the Jacksonville/Little Rock Air Force Base Joint Education Center, a consortium of colleges now located in a new building on the base but outside the fence.

There is currently a dilapidated public elementary school on LRAFB, but the Air Force has offered to make land available for a new elementary school — with some construction money likely to come from the Department of Defense.

Land may also be offered on base but outside the wire for a new high school when the new Jacksonville-North Pulaski County School District completes its breakaway from the Pulaski County Special School District.

The greater Jacksonville area, in cooperation with Little Rock Air Force Base, has twice won the Abilene Trophy for greatest community support among the nation’s Air Mobility Wings.

Meurer said that, while he didn’t have a chance to visit the air base, he had driven by the Joint Education Center, calling it “a pretty terrific partnership.

“I’m very impressed with the (Col. Patrick Rhatigan) base commander and his focus on partnership,” Meurer said.

SPORTS STORY >> Lady Bears pick up first win at MSM

Leader sportswriter

The Sylvan Hills Lady Bears picked up their first win of the season in the third round of the Mount St. Mary Heavenly Hoops Classic on Saturday, dominating Forrest City 53-31 to improve to 1-3 this season.

The Lady Bears did it with a balanced scoring attack. Forwards Aljahnay Duncan and Alana Canady led the way to a 29-12 halftime lead while guards Storm Ellis and Jessica Brasfield did most of the scoring in the second half.

Sylvan Hills gave up exactly six points in each of the first three quarters, taking a 40-18 lead into the final frame. Duncan led all scorers with 13 while Ellis added 11, Canady 10 and Brasfield eight.

In the second-round consolation game on Wednesday, Sylvan Hills held a two-point halftime lead over Mount St. Mary, but the tournament hosts did a better job of crashing the boards in the second half, which helped the Belles beat the Lady Bears by the final score of 42-34.

The first half was close throughout, and at the end of the first quarter, the score was tied at 5-5.

Duncan scored all five of Sylvan Hills’ points. Mount St. Mary scored the first point of the second quarter on a free throw, but the Lady Bears took the lead shortly after on an and-1 by Duncan.

Duncan’s and-1 put the Lady Bears up 8-6, and with 4:32 left in the half, sophomore guard Storm Ellis gave the visitors an11-6 lead with a 3-pointer. The Belles answered with a bucket before Canady sank two free throws to put the Lady Bears up 13-8 with 2:50 remaining.

Ellis scored Sylvan Hills’ final bucket of the half with another 3-pointer, this one with 1:29 remaining, but MSM scored the final three points of the half at the free-throw line, cutting the Lady Bears’ lead to 16-14.

The Belles tied the score on the first possession of the second half with a short bucket by Valerie Kauffman, and consecutive buckets by teammate Emily Engnath near the five-minute mark of the third quarter put MSM up 22-19.

A free throw and putback by Canady tied the score at 22-22 near the 3:30 mark, but MSM scored the next four points before Brasfield made two free throws for Sylvan Hills, cutting the Belles’ lead to 26-24.

Sylvan Hills’ final bucket of the third quarter came on a 3-pointer by Duncan from the top of the key with 41 seconds remaining, but MSM scored the final four points of the quarter, which put the Belles up 32-27 heading into the final eight minutes.

The Lady Bears scored the first point of the fourth quarter on a free throw by Brasfield, but then the Belles started feeding the ball inside, where they had the size advantage over the Lady Bears.

Consecutive buckets in the paint by MSM center Mary Rhinehart gave the Belles a 36-28 lead with 5:51 remaining, and forced Sylvan Hills coach Shelley Davis to call timeout.

The timeout didn’t help, though, as the Belles scored the next five points to push their lead to double digits, leading 41-28 with just over two minutes to play.

Sylvan Hills got back on the board with a steal and transition layup by Makayla Smith, and the Lady Bears got within single digits of the Belles’ lead on a putback by Duncan after a missed free throw by Canady.

However, Duncan’s putback came with just 1:34 to play, and after MSM added a free throw to its side of the scoreboard, Brasfield set the final score with a contested layup with 20 seconds remaining.

Mount St. Mary was the more dominant team on the boards, which led to more second-chance opportunities for the hosts.

The Belles outrebounded the Lady Bears 31-16, and made seven more shots at the free-throw line.

The Belles finished the game 15 of 24 from the line for 63 percent. Sylvan Hills was 8 of 20 from the stripe for 40 percent.

Duncan led the Lady Bears with 13 points and seven rebounds. Ellis had six points, and Canady and Brasfield had five points each. Kauffman led the Belles (1-3) with 13 points.

SPORTS STORY >> NLR girls escape Panthers

Special to The Leader

The Cabot Lady Panthers and the North Little Rock Lady Wildcats faced off Saturday afternoon in the championship game of the annual Mount Saint Mary Academy Heavenly Hoops basketball tournament. The first three quarters of the fast-paced, hard-fought final were close, but North Little Rock outscored the Lady Panthers 19-12 in the final quarter to secure the 55-44 victory, and send the second-place trophy to Cabot.

Cabot had defeated Watson Chapel 56-20 and Star City 47-35 to reach the championship game, while North Little Rock had easily defeated the host team 54-22 and E-Stem 77-51 to advance to the final game.

“I thought we played really hard,” said Cabot head coach Carla Crowder. “We got a little stagnant there somewhere in the fourth quarter on offense. We went about eight times without scoring, and we can’t do that. I thought we battled real hard and did a good job on the boards. Out defense did a decent job. We’ve still got to stop dribble penetration, and we’ve got to continue to work on that. We’re in the right direction. The kids are working hard. I’m proud of them.”

North Little Rock controlled the opening tip, and Malica Monk drained a 3-pointer to get the Lady Wildcats on the board quickly.

CoCo Calhoon answered with a layup for Cabot. Kyra Collier put North Little Rock ahead 6-2 with a three, but Danielle McWilliams hit a two-point basket and Alyssa Hamilton a rebound and putback for Cabot to tie the game at 6-6.

Calhoon added two more two-point baskets and Leighton Taylor a 3-pointer to give the Lady Panthers a 13-11 advantage, but North Little Rock scored five points, including an offensive rebound and putback by Brogan Jones at the buzzer to give the Lady Wildcats a 16-13 advantage at the end of the first quarter.

Hamilton, Calhoon and Anna Sullivan combined to give Cabot a 23-20 lead in the second quarter, but Monk answered with four of her eight second-quarter points, and North Little Rock led at the half 26-24.

The Lady Panthers came out of the locker room and scored six-straight points as Calhoon scored two on an inbounds play under the basket, McWilliams had a drive and a layup, and Sullivan two free throws to give Cabot a 30-27 lead. North Little Rock answered with two, but Taylor hit a driving layup in the lane to put the Lady Panthers ahead 32-29. Collier hit a three to tie at 32, and the Lady Wildcats added four more for a 36-32 advantage at the end of three quarters.

Collier led North Little Rock with eight of the team’s 19 points in the final quarter. Cabot pulled within five at 45-40, but the Lady Wildcats outscored them 10-4 from that point to set the final score at 55-44. Taylor was 4 for 4 from the free-throw line in the fourth for four points for Cabot, while Sullivan was 3 for 4 from the line and had five points.

The Lady Panthers were 17 for 23 from the stripe, while North Little Rock was 14 of 24.

Calhoon led the Cabot scoring with 11 points, Sullivan had 10 points, Taylor added nine, and Hamilton eight points.

Monk led North Little Rock with 17 points, and Collier was right behind with 16.

SPORTS STORY >> Red Devils rally to win first place

Leader sports editor

If a little adversity can help a team grow, then the Jacksonville boys’ basketball team grew up a lot on Saturday.

The Red Devils overcame two large deficits, a stretch of one-sided foul calling, two starters fouling out in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter and most importantly, their own lethargy to defeat 6A-South favorite Benton 68-65 in the final of the Citizens’ Bank Classic at Searcy High School.

The first half was played at a slower pace than Jacksonville is used to, and Benton led 28-24. When Jacksonville came out of the locker room at halftime, Jacksonville coach Vic Joyner had to admonish his team to get up off the bench and warm up for the second half. That lethargy carried into the third quarter, and the Panthers’ lead was up to 34-24 within two minutes of play. That sparked a strategy change by Joyner.

“Some of that was my fault because I made a mistake and tried to slow it down this game,” said Joyner. “We’ve been pushing the tempo all season and that’s just the way this team is going to have to play. But this was a big win for us. This game had a conference intensity. I didn’t know how they would handle adversity. When the calls started getting one sided there in the fourth quarter, we lost two starters, they fought through it. This is the kind of game that can add character to your team.”

Benton brought a sizable height advantage into the game, so Joyner went with a bigger starting lineup and played a half-court game to try to even out his team’s disadvantage.

After the deficit grew to double digits, he went back to the pressure defense.

Within 55 seconds the Benton lead was down to three, and just 33 seconds later Jacksonville led 35-34. The run started off a missed 3-pointer by Benton. LaQuawn Smith pulled down the rebound and passed to Tyree Appleby. He dribbled to the free-throw line before pulling up and lobbing to Tedrick Wolfe for an alley-oop dunk.

Joyner immediately called for the full-court press. Smith got a steal and dished to Appleby for three. Appleby then stole the inbound pass and dished to Wolfe for a layup, making it 34-31 and forcing a Benton timeout. Benton missed on its next possession and Appleby went to the line and sank two free throws to make it 34-33. Benton then turned it over again and Smith scored to put Jacksonville up for the first time since early in the first quarter.

The run ended and the two teams traded baskets for the next few minutes, but Benton closed the third with a 6-0 run to take a 49-44 lead into the fourth quarter.

The pace slowed early in the final frame and Benton fell back into a 2-1-2 zone to try to keep the tempo slower. The Panthers went up 52-45 and Joyner called timeout. His team came out pressing again, but this time began fouling.

Appleby and Smith fouled out within five seconds of each other and Benton’s lead went from 52-50 to 59-50 with three minutes remaining.

Appleby was hit with his fourth foul with 5:23 remaining. When he untucked his jersey and ran down the court towards Jacksonville’s bench, he was hit with a technical and disqualified from the game. Right after Benton’s two free throws, Smith picked up his fifth foul with 5:18 remaining.

At that point, the Panthers held a 14-3 free-throw advantage in the fourth quarter, made 10 of them and pushed their lead to 59-50.

With two ball handlers and scorers out for Jacksonville, Benton switched to a box-and-one defense to keep the ball away from leading scorer Devin Campbell. Campbell had been held without a point or a rebound in the first half, but the fourth-quarter strategy backfired.

“When they did that we just used him to set screens,” Joyner said. “When he’d roll off the screen, if the pick man didn’t go with him he was open for a layup. They did it three times and he scored twice, so they had to come out of that.”

Campbell scored eight in a row for Jacksonville, which pulled the Red Devils to within 61-58 with 2:05 remaining. Braylin James then hit a pair of free throws before Benton’s Clayton Anderson drained two foul shots to make it 63-60 with 1:27 left.

Lakalon Huskey got an offensive rebound and putback with 48 seconds remaining, and Benton could not get the ball across half court in 10 seconds, turning it over with 33 seconds left. Only one second ticked off the clock before Campbell went to the line and gave Jacksonville the lead.

Anderson penetrated and hit a driving layup with 20 seconds left, putting the Panthers back up 65-64. Campbell then did the same for Jacksonville, driving the length of the court and scoring with five seconds remaining. Benton called timeout to set up the last play, but couldn’t get the ball thrown in and turned it over on a five-second violation.

Wolfe got open for a layup on the inbound play to set the final margin.

Wolfe led Jacksonville with 19 points. Campbell finished with 17 points and eight rebounds, all of which came in the second half. He gave credit for his second-half turnaround to his coach.

“I was just trying to go out there and execute what coach Joyner wanted us to,” Campbell said. “This team has all the tools, all the pieces to the puzzle, and we believe in coach. If we do what he says, we can go all the way.”

On Friday, Jacksonville got by Greenbrier 74-52 to set up the first-place game with Benton. In that game, Wolfe, Smith and Campbell each scored 19 points, while Appleby finished with seven points and seven assists.

SPORTS STORY >> Badgers confident going to Wynne

Leader sports editor

The Beebe Badger football team will be playing after Thanksgiving for the first time since 1983 when they take on the Wynne Yellowjackets Friday at Yellowjacket Stadium. It’s a Class 5A semifinal matchup of the former conference mates. The Badgers, 8-4, have survived two playoff games that went down to the wire, beating Nettleton 49-48 in the first round and winning 42-35 at Hot Springs in the quarterfinals last week.

Wynne, 11-1, cruised through its first-round game before gutting out a 27-17 win at Maumelle in last week’s quarterfinal.

This week’s matchup is a battle of No. 2 seeds. The Yellowjackets lost 34-28 in week seven to 5A-East champion and semifinalist Batesville. They committed three turnovers in that game, something that played a huge role in three of Beebe’s four losses.

The Badgers lost their first three games, but haven’t lost since week six, when it fell 65-36 to the other semifinal team, Pulaski Academy.

Wynne coach Chris Hill doesn’t believe the first three weeks have any bearing on games in late November.

“I think Beebe’s losses were the same as our loss,” Hill said. “There are some teams that are good enough that you can’t turn the ball over and expect to beat them. Batesville is one of those teams and that’s why we got beat. Beebe played some quality teams and turned the ball over. They haven’t been doing that lately and they’ve won several in a row.”

The two teams share two common opponents because the East matched up with the Central in the first round. Wynne hammered Sylvan Hills at home 54-7 while Beebe got past the Bears 41-37 on the road.

Wynne struggled for a half with Nettleton, falling behind 29-21 on the opening kickoff of the third quarter, but rolled up 29 unanswered points to win going away 50-29.

Beebe coach John Shannon believes Wynne is one of the best teams in the state, but thinks the same of his bunch.

“They’re pretty good, but when you get down to the final four everybody’s pretty good,” said Shannon. “We’re there too, and from what I heard from our kids after last week’s game and the next day, they believe they can compete with anybody, and I believe that too.”

The other three semifinal teams are nearly mainstays for this time of year. Wynne and Pulaski Academy each have multiple state titles since 2000, while Batesville has played in, but not won, the last three state championship games.

Hill also doesn’t believe that gives his team any advantage.

“I don’t think so because the playoffs are about who’s playing the best ball,” Hill said. “Beebe is playing great football right now, particularly on the offensive side. They seem to score on every possession from the film I’ve seen. So you just hope you can get a couple of stops and then capitalize when you have the ball.”

How good the Beebe offense has been is not a matter of conjecture. The Badgers have punted only twice in the last five games combined. All other drives have ended in touchdowns or turnovers, which makes holding onto the ball of huge import this week.

Turnovers made their first two playoff games closer than they needed to be. Beebe committed three against Nettleton, and spotted Hot Springs 14 points with two quick ones in the first quarter last week.

“No one has really stopped us, but we’ve stopped ourselves a few times,” Shannon said. “If we can hold onto it and just do our thing, get our three and four yards at a time, I feel good about this game.”

Shannon addressed last Friday’s fumbles on Saturday with halfback Jo’Vaughn Wyrick, who lost both fumbles that led to Hot Springs touchdowns.

“He was wearing sleeves for the first time and I didn’t like it even before the game,” Shannon said. “After that second one we took the sleeves off of him and he didn’t drop it anymore. I told him Saturday that he’s never wearing sleeves again. I really don’t even like my backs to wear gloves, but I let them wear gloves. We’re not doing sleeves anymore though. It makes a big difference to the feel of things when you’re wearing something you’ve never worn and you’re not used to it.”

Wynne’s offense has been just as potent, though it doesn’t rely on ball control. The Yellowjackets’ 27 points last week were the fewest of the season, including the 34-28 loss to Batesville. In their other 10 wins, they have averaged 50.2 points per game.

Quarterback Ross Trail, a Cincinnati commitment who also received scholarship offers from Louisville and Ohio St., leads the Wynne offense, but he’s not alone as a playmaker. Running back Jamar Nixon has more than 1,200 yards and 19 rushing touchdowns this season. Zach Morris and Austin Wilson are both approaching 1,000 yards receiving.

Tripp Smith and Clayton Meurer each surpassed 100 yards rushing last week for Beebe. Smith and Wyrick have each rushed for well over 1,000 yards while Meurer is just under 800. But Shannon felt his quarterback played a huge role in last week’s win.

“Everybody sees our backs and all the yards they get, but I think the player of the game Friday was Aaron Nunez,” Shannon said. “About eight different times he checked out of the call and got us into the right play.”

With the game tied with 1:02 left, Shannon called timeout on fourth and 1 from the Hot Springs 15-yard line. Nunez didn’t like the looks of things and called another timeout. Shannon called the dive right with the halfback, but after getting to the line of scrimmage, Nunez checked to off tackle left. Smith gained 10 yards on the play. On the very next play, the Hot Springs nose guard shifted off center, and Nunez checked to the quarterback keeper and scored.

“Those are things no one knows but us coaches,” Shannon said. “They see Trip get 10 yards on fourth and 1 and everybody’s happy, but they don’t know how big it was for us that Nunez recognized the defense they were in and got us into that play.”

Last week, the Badgers faced the biggest team it has seen all year. This week it will be the fastest. Offensively the Yellowjackets’ speed shouldn’t be much of an issue since the Badgers don’t play in space, and instead run directly into defenses.

“In our conference just about everybody we play is faster than us,” Shannon said. “We don’t make you chase us much anyway. On defense, though, we’re going to have to be very sound, get lined up right and make tackles. They’re fast as all get out and it’s all over the field. But I’m looking forward to it.”