A lead the Rebels would maintain throughout the first half.
But by the end of the game, the Rebs had committed five turnovers and had 105 yards in penalties, as they fell to the Wildcats 31-21 at Trumann (1-4, 1-1) on Oct. 2.
This on a night when senior running back Blake Martin rushed for over 200 yards and junior quarterback Will Edmondson threw two touchdown passes, which has to rank as the best offensive night of the Rebels' season.
Rebel sophomore Dustin Bynum grabbed kick returner Dustin Miller to keep him from getting the fumbled kickoff just long enough for Bynum to fall on the ball himself at the 11-yard line.
A Martin pitch to the right for eight yards, a Scott Gatewood 3-yard blast for the touchdown and a Landon Strobbe PAT gave Highland the lead with just 46 seconds off the clock.
Fielding the next kickoff cleanly, Trumann started its first drive at its own 25 and senior quarterback Blaike Jones rainbowed a pass along the right sideline to Miller for a touchdown. Luis Gutierrez' PAT was blocked to keep the Rebs in the lead 7-6 with one minute and five seconds off the clock.
It was the beginning of a long night.
Highland put together a nine-play drive to the Wildcat 35, but it came to an end because of a fumble on the handoff that was recovered by Trumann's Tony Harris.
The Rebel defense forced a three-and-out to set up Highland's next score.
Starting from their own 20, Martin found six off the left end and Gatewood rumbled for 34 yards through the middle.
Then like ping-ball balls, it was Martin to the left for six, Gatewood to the right for three, Martin to the left for eight and Edmondson to Skylar Jones along the sideline for the 23-yard touchdown. Strobbe's PAT was wide right, but the Reb's lead was extended to 13-6 with four minutes left in the first quarter.
Trumann's next drive was marred by Highland penalties. On the first play, the Wildcat's were called for holding, but the Rebs were called for a personal foul. They walked off both penalties to give Trumann the ball at midfield.
A few plays later, another personal foul pushed the ball to the Highland 8.
Two Blaike Jones running plays to get to the end zone, another blocked Gutierrez PAT and the Rebel lead was cut to 13-12.
There was still 43 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Wildcats' Setra Buchanan recovered a Gatewood fumble, but Highland's Ben Markway intercepted a Jones pass.
A block-in-the-back penalty negated a nice return setting the ball back to the Rebel 28. The Reb offense would give the ball back on downs after a nine-play drive.
Yet another personal foul moved the ball into Highland territory for Trumann, but they were not able to take advantage. Jones' punt landed at the 8-yard line.
Martin broke through the Wildcat's initial defense, found the sideline and thundered down the field for an 81-yard gain.
Gatewood added two up the middle. Martin was stopped for no gain. Edmondson's pass to sophomore Codie LaCount in the end zone was overthrown, but his pass to senior Brandon Sharp was on the money for the score. Edmondson hit Sharp again for the 2-point conversion and the 21-12 lead with 2:38 left in the half.
Highland's big lineman Coty Woodson would not be available in the second half, because of an ankle injury.
On the Rebels opening drive, Edmondson's pass to Markway was intercepted by Anthony Rusher, but the Highland D forced Trumann to give the ball back on downs five plays later.
The Reb offense was forced to punt on the next three possessions.
Trumann had a fourth-and-1at their own 33, when Highland jumped offsides to give the Wildcats a first down.
Three plays later, the Rebels had knocked Jones out of the game. His replacement, Miller, swept to the right for a 17-yard gain, but the personal foul on Highland gave Trumann the ball at the Reb 23. Jones returned to rush for the 23-yard TD. Gutierrez' PAT was finally good after the false start penalty added five yards to the kick. The Rebels held a slim 21-19 lead with less than a minute left in the third.
On their next series, Jones found Jimmy Creecy for a 31-yard touchdown pass. Sharp knocked down the 2-point conversion pass to Creecy, but the Highland lead was lost, 25-21.
The Wildcats extended their lead to 31-21 on a Quentin Buchanan 12-yard touchdown run.
Highland's next two drives were stopped by interceptions.
Martin led Rebel rushers with 26 carries and 208 yards followed by Gatewood with 10 rushes for 66 yards. Edmondson was four-of-17 for 59 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. He also picked up 31 yards on four carries.
Highland (1-4, 0-2) will host Westside on Oct. 9 for Homecoming.