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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Mountain Home bummer

Thursday, September 11, 2008

LONG NIGHT BY THE LAKE: Highland running back Michael Tarver tries to find some open space in the Rebels' season-opening 43-0 loss at Mountain Home Sept. 5. Photo/Sparks
It wasn't pretty.

Not pretty at all.

This was the season of the new spread offense.

Big, tall Cannon Davis slinging the ball to the hands team of Justin Bryant, Matt Schneider, Caleb Davidson and Eric Roberts, while mixing in the hard-nosed running of Michael Tarver and Blake Martin.

Against the Bombers in the season opener, Tarver and Martin could barely get past the line of scrimmage, while Davis spent most of his time trying to corral the snap from center Tyler Phillips and the hands team insisted on waiting for the ball to come to them instead of meeting the ball.

The result was a 43-0 dismantling at Mountain Home on Sept. 5.

Keep in mind that the Bombers are a 6A team that was 2-7-1 last season, but still played in the divisional championship game in 2006, losing to Texarkana.

Bomber kick returner Jake Bolt took the opening kickoff along the home sideline for a 96-yard touchdown and 7-0 lead with 16 seconds gone in the game.

It's not like the Rebels haven't rebounded from an opening kickoff touchdown. Think Gosnell last year. They picked up two first downs on their first possession. The second was provided by a pass interference call on Mountain Home.

A delay of game penalty and high snap for a loss of 16 yards forced the Rebs to punt.

The Highland defense held the Bombers to a three-and-out on their first offensive series.

The Reb offense picked up positive yards on four of nine plays, with another first down coming from a second Bomber pass interference call.

Davis picked up a first down after hitting Bryant on a slant pattern for five yards and then recovering the Bryant fumble to rumble for seven more yards -- a very bizarre looking play.

Highland gave the ball back on downs by finishing the series with three incomplete passes.

Bomber fullback Chase Walker and quarterback Zach Hawthorne got into the groove, going 63 yards in six plays, concluding with a 26-yard TD run by Walker. They failed to get the 2-point conversion after an offside penalty by the Rebels.

The teams exchanged punts before Highland put together its best series.

Davis found Roberts wide open for a 42-yard gain to the Mountain Home 33-yard line. Martin rattled off his best run for 16 yards. Scott Gatewood slammed ahead for two. Davis swept for one yard before hitting Tarver for a six-yard gain, just short of the first down.

A fumble on fourth down was picked up by linebacker Chris Wenneberg and advanced it to the Bomber 42.

Mountain Home, mostly behind the running of QB Hawthorne, drove the ball to the 1-yard line. Defensive back Brandon Sharp saved a touchdown by pulling Walker down at the 6-yard line, and then Hawthorne was stopped short of the goal line.

Just like the Rebels, the Bombers coughed up the ball and Roberts returned it to the Rebel 23.

There wasn't enough time left in the half to do anything with it, and Highland went into the locker room down only 13.

In the second half, the Rebels failed to sustain a drive past five plays, logging two interceptions, one fumble, two punts and one failed punt attempt.

Injuries started to mount for the Rebels with Bryant, Martin, Zach Bloomfield and a few others getting attention on the sideline.

And the Bombers took advantage. Their second half have included four touchdowns, one field goal and two missed 3-pointers.

Chase Armistead started the second half scoring by hitting a 33-yard field goal for a 16-0 lead.

Running back Dalton Lind took the pitch 10 yards for a touchdown. Armistead missed the PAT.

After Davidson kept Mountain Home from getting a safety by running a failed punt out of the end zone, Kent Perryman scored on a six-yard sweep. The PAT was good this time.

Taking advantage of a Rebel fumble, quarterback Ben Worlow rushed into the end zone from nine yards out for a 36-0 score with 6:45 left in the game.

Finally, defensive back Robert Eiden picked off a Davis pass for a 35-yard touchdown and the final score.

Martin and Gatewood led the defense with seven tackles, followed by Roberts with five.

Davis was six-of-18 for 75 yards and two interceptions. Martin rushed five times for 20 yards.

Highland will host 5A Greene County Tech on Sept. 12.

The Golden Eagles were winless last year and lost to Paragould 20-0 on Sept. 5.

Many teams play a tougher non-conference schedule to get ready for the district teams.

If the Mountain Home game is a good example, Highland will be battle tested by they time they travel to Newport on Sept. 26.

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