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Monday, May 2, 2016

Bobcats follow plan

Thursday, October 9, 2008

OFF TO THE RACES: Skylar Jones leaves Cedar Ridge defender Tuff Murphree in his dust en route to a long TD run. Photo/Mullins
The blueprint that Salem followed to its first win of the 2008 season went something like this: get a quick lead, hang onto the football and play lights out defense while scoring at will.

And while this plan worked to perfection against Cedar Ridge in week four, it was completely absent from the Greyhounds' mode of operation in Salem's week five 3-2A clash with Walnut Ridge.

Instead, it was the Bobcats who jumped out to a quick lead, played great defense and forced five Salem turnovers in a 44-0 Walnut Ridge victory Oct. 3 at Greyhound Stadium.

Walnut Ridge (3-2, 2-2) quarterback Jared Blackwell, a dual threat for sure, had another big night, rushing for 58 yards on 13 carries while connecting on seven of 16 passes for 101 yards through the air.

And it was Blackwell that got his squad off to a good start.

After controlling the pigskin for almost seven minutes to start the game, Blackwell crossed the goal line from five yards out on second-and-goal on Walnut Ridge's first series on offense of the game. Tim Cummins kicked the PAT and the Bobcats took a 7-0 lead with 4:43 left in the first quarter.

Salem's (1-4, 1-2) first series of the game got off to a promising beginning, with the Hounds starting at their own 30 and moving all the way to the Walnut Ridge 22. Salem's drive hung up a bit there and on fourth-and-2, the Greyhounds attempted a 37-yard field goal. The kick was wide right and Walnut Ridge took over on downs.

The Bobcats didn't make much hay on their next series, as Clint Pleasant sacked Blackwell deep on Walnut Ridge's end of the field, forcing a punt.

Salem didn't have the football long, as the Hounds fumbled near midfield and the Bobcats pounced on the ball.

Then, aided by a face mask penalty on Salem that kept a Walnut Ridge series alive, Blackwell ran the option perfectly, sprinting into the end zone from 10 yards out for Walnut Ridge's second TD of the first half. Cummins' extra-point gave the Bobcats a 14-0 lead with 1:38 left until the half.

But then things turned worse for the homestanding Greyhounds.

Salem fumbled away the ensuing kickoff and Walnut Ridge recovered the ball at the Greyhound 36-yard line.

A couple of plays later, Blackwell hit Logan Gaither with a 25-yard TD pass to add to the Greyhounds' woes. Cummins' PAT gave Walnut Ridge a 21-0 lead with 29 ticks still showing on the clock.

And the Bobcats still had a little juice on its side before intermission.

Derek Medlock picked off a Salem pass and the Bobcats pushed the ball all the way to the Greyhounds' goal line. But time ran out in the first half before Walnut Ridge could punch the ball in, leaving the Bobcats with a three-touchdown lead at the break.

And as if they needed it, the Bobcats really hit their stride in the third quarter.

Salem's first series of the third quarter ended on a sour note as the snap went over Pleasant's head in a punting situation with the Hounds backed up near their own end zone. The ball sailed out the back of the end zone for a safety and 23-0 Walnut Ridge advantage.

Then Blackwell struck again on a 9-yard touchdown run at the 9:18 mark of the third, pushing the Bobcats in front 30-0.

Later in the third, Jason Huff picked off a Blackwell pass attempt, but Salem fumbled the ball right back to the Bobcats one snap later near midfield.

This lead to a 6-yard touchdown run from Preston Matthews and a 37-0 cushion for Walnut Ridge.

The Bobcats' last score of the game came via a 55-yard punt return for a touchdown by Bennett Dudley down the right side of the field with 3:10 left in the third. Cummins' PAT set the final score of 44-0, Walnut Ridge.

Things don't get any easier for the Greyhounds with a long road trip to East Poinsett County Oct. 17, as the Hounds look for their second 3-2A win of the season.

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Why post a photo of the Cedar Ridge/Salem game with a story about the Walnut Ridge/Salem game?

-- Posted by jubon on Sun, Oct 12, 2008, at 11:52 PM

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