To their credit, the Highland junior Rebels didn't give up. As bad as they played in the first half is how well they played in the second.
The junior Wildcats scored three touchdowns in the opening half and Highland scored three in the closing half, but the junior Rebs made sure to convert all of their 2-pointers, giving them a 24-20 win at Trumann on Sept. 25.
"The first half we played as bad as we could possibly play. I thought we were ready, but sometimes you just come out flat," said junior Rebel Head Coach Spencer Hill. "But at half we didn't yell and scream at them. We just talked to them. I could look in their eyes and I could tell they were ready to come out in the second half and take advantage. The kids never gave up and we played a great second half."
Trumann scored on a 6-yard pass on the first drive, a 57-yard pass and a 3-yard run to go into the half up 20-0.
Junior Rebel running back J.J. Moore completed the 11-play, 52-yard opening drive by rushing in from the two yards out at the 2:57 mark in the third. Quarterback Garrett Sublett added two with a pass to Brennon Severn.
Junior Rebel safety Sterling Stowers intercepted a Jimmy Creasy pass at the Highland 5 and returned it to the junior Wildcat 45. Two passes of 16 and 29 yards from Sublett to Ben Markway cut the score to 20-16 -- after the Sublett run for the conversion with eight seconds gone in the fourth.
"We just executed better, and I called the plays better in the second half," explained Hill. "It took us about a half to know what they were doing on defensive. Once we knew what they were going to do, we knew where the holes were going to be. But the key is the kids have got to execute and we did that great in the second half."
With a 1:23 left in the game, Sublett fumbled away the ball at the Wildcat 28, but two plays later Xavier Weiand recovered a Trumann fumble to give Highland a final chance.
Sublett was sacked for a 9-yard loss on first down. Fullback Michael Moore took the Sublett pass along the sideline and bullied his way to the 20.
Markway caught the next pass along the opposite sideline and the turned it back into the end zone for the go-ahead score.
Stowers added the conversion for good measure.
Stower rushed for 65 yards on 14 carries to lead the offense.
Sublett was seven-of-11 for 106 yards. Markway had four receptions for 79 yards.