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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Perfect ending to perfect season

Thursday, November 3, 2011

(Photo)
CAN'T STOP THIS BUNCH: With a 38-16 victory over Trumann Oct. 27, the Highland junior Rebels put the cap on an undefeated 9-0 season. Photos/Sparks
An undefeated season was at stake for Highland, and the Trumann Junior Wildcats stood in their way.

The game itself didn't match the gravity of that statement, but the Junior Rebels joyously celebrated a perfect season anyway.

Highland easily beat Trumann 38-16 at Rebel Memorial Field on Oct. 27 for a record of 9-0 overall, 7-0 in the 3-4A conference .

"They come in the summer to the weight room. They come up here in August in the heat and they work and they work and they work. They do things they don't want to do when I ask them to do it," explained Junior Rebel Head Coach Adam Carter. "That's the kind of great kids you have. These parents, they've done an awesome job to get these kids to where they're at and I'm blessed to have a chance to coach them. The kids did this. I'm just proud of them."

The game was like no other game the Junior Rebs played this season. Avery Johnson, who had over 1,200 yards rushing this season, didn't have a single rushing yard. The Reb offense only ran 12 plays; four in the first half.

Starting the game at its own 49, Highland scored on the first play of the game. Deon Stewart went in motion, caught the center snap in midair, and, to the great surprise of the Wildcats, swept around the end for the touchdown.

Johnson ran in the conversion for a 8-0 lead with 24 seconds gone in the game.

Trumann had three false starts on their first drive, which forced quarterback Justin Liles to pass on third-and-21 allowing Spenser Stowers to grab the interception.

Taking over at quarterback for a play, Stowers threw the quick sideline pass to Johnson for the 53-yard score. Stowers added the conversion for a 16-0 advantage with less than three minutes out of the game.

The Junior Cats gained a first down, but were forced to punt after a third down sack.

Johnson blocked the punt and recovered it at the Trumann 2-yard line.

Stowers got one yard on first down and Brody Ninemire picked up the second for a TD.

Stowers completed the conversion for a 24-0 score early in the second quarter.

Trumann's offense got positive yards on the first six plays of the third drive. With a fourth-and-8, Liles threw his second interception, which was returned about 65 yards by Stewart for another Rebel score. Johnson's conversion run made the halftime score 32-0.

Wildcat running back Willie Moore finally found rushing yards on the first drive of the second half, but two penalties forced another punt.

Stowers returned the punt to the Trumann 44.

Stowers picked up two yards rushing and then caught a 27-yard swing pass from Johnson.

Ninemire busted up the middle for a 15-yard touchdown. Johnson's conversion pass was incomplete, but the 38-0 score started the running competition clock.

Moore scored two late touchdowns for the Junior Wildcats as the Rebel coaching staff worked in non-starters. He scored a 14-yard TD and Grayson Dye added the conversion with 4:46 left in the game. Moore broke loose for a 43-yard score to start the next drive. Cain White's conversion run completed the night's scoring.

This season also served as redemption for the first-year junior head coach, who has been the seventh-grade head coach for several years. This year's ninth-graders were part of a seventh-grade team that played in Carter's first loss as a coach.

The Greyhounds narrowly beat the Rebs in Newport two years ago.

"It's a special group of guys for me. We went down to Newport. We lost the ballgame because of a play that I called, so I told them I owed them one, and they just told me we're even. So, that made my day."

Stewart led the team with one rush for 51 yards and Ninemire had 22 yards on four carries.



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