September 5, 2007 Edition

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Walnut Ridge and Hoxie football team members meet in the middle of the field after Friday night's game at Sexton Field in Walnut Ridge. The Mustangs defeated the Bobcats, 22-15, in the final scheduled game for the long-time rivals.
Submitted photo ~ Robert Warden

Mustangs rally for
22-15 win over Bobcats

Walnut Ridge Bobcat quarterback, Tyler Meadors, gets ready to throw a pass in the final game between the two rival schools on Friday night.
Submitted photo ~ Ashley George

Hoxie Mustang Alex Ward stretches to place the ball across the goal line during the football game against Walnut Ridge Friday night.
Submitted photo ~ Robert Warden
Nathan Hibbard
TD Staff

Houston Waldrupe rushed for 108 yards and scored two second-half touchdowns to rally the Hoxie Mustangs from a halftime deficit to a 22-15 win over Walnut Ridge on Friday night at the Bobcat's Sexton Field.

Walnut Ridge got on the board first, when quarterback Tyler Meadors passed 44 yards to Logan Gaither for a touchdown. Jared Blackwell added the extra point to put the Bobcats ahead 7-0.

Hoxie answered just over a minute later, on a 12-yard run by Alex Ward. A two-point conversion put the Mustangs up 8-7.

Colton Simpson put Walnut Ridge back in the lead with a 2-yard run with 7:55 to play in the second quarter. Meadors passed to Gaither for the two-point conversion, giving the Bobcats a 15-8 lead, which they would take to the locker room at halftime.

Hoxie came out strong in the second half, scoring on their opening drive on a 6-yard run by Waldrupe. The extra point tied the game at 15-15.

The Mustangs took a 22-15 lead late in the third period on a 9-yard run by Waldrupe. The Mustangs' defense held the Bobcats scoreless in the second half to secure the win.

"Our kids played their hearts out, but injuries took a toll and we shut down offensively, but I thought our defense played well," said Walnut Ridge head coach Larry Treadway. "We are focused on getting back to the playoffs with a higher finish in the conference."

Hoxie dominated the game statistically, gaining 300 yards rushing, to only 66 for Walnut Ridge. Hoxie tallied 19 first downs, to four for the Bobcats.

Individually for the Mustangs, Waldrupe gained 108 yards on 16 carries and scored two touchdowns. Ward added 64 yards on 16 carries and scored a touchdown. Blaine Middlecoff carried 12 times for 46 yards. Tyler Thompson had 32 yards on seven carries. Cook added 27 yards on four carries, and Houston Hancock gained 23 yards on six carries. Hancock completed two of five passes, for 23 yards.

Tel Britton led Walnut Ridge in rushing, with 31 yards on 16 carries. Simpson carried twice for one yard and scored a touchdown. Meadors rushed twice for six yards, and Gaither carried once for nine yards.

Meadors passed 3-of-7 for 64 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. Blackwell passed 0-for-1, with an interception.

Last scheduled game

Friday night's game was the last one scheduled, at least for the near future, between the two cross-town rivals. Hoxie's coach Tom Sears said it was not his school's decision to end the rivalry.

Coach Treadway, Walnut Ridge football coach and athletic director, said the rivalry had spiraled out of control in recent years. He said that the decision is an attempt to help "cool down" the rivalry and that it has not been a healthy rivalry.

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