September 10, 2008 Edition

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WR records comeback
win at Cave City

Walnut Ridge's Bennett Dudley carries the ball for the Bobcats in their 47-36, season-opening victory over Cave City on Friday night.
Submitted Photo ~ Ashley George

Nathan Hibbard
Staff Writer

Jared Blackwell connected with Bennett Dudley on a 25-yard touchdown pass in the final seconds for the go-ahead score, as the Walnut Ridge Bobcats rallied from a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat Cave City 47-36 in a wild back-and-forth shootout Friday at Cave City.

Walnut Ridge opened the scoring on a 12-yard run by Brian Archibald with 11:30 to play in the first quarter. A fumbled snap on the PAT left the Bobcats with a 6-0 lead.

Cave City answered with a touchdown and two-point conversion to take an 8-6 lead with 6:47 remaining in the opening quarter. The Cavemen took a 15-6 lead on a touchdown and PAT with 9:25 to play in the second period.

A Bobcat drive was thwarted when Cave City intercepted a pass at the one-yard line. Two plays later, however, Walnut Ridge's Brandon Dawson sacked the Cavemen quarterback, forcing a fumble. Bobcat Chris Dickson caught the ball out of the air and ran in for a touchdown. Tim Cummins' extra-point brought Walnut Ridge to within 15-13.

Walnut Ridge regained the lead when Blackwell scored on a quarterback keeper from a yard out, giving the Bobcats a 19-15 lead with a minute to play in the first half.

Cave City scored the only points of the third quarter on a touchdown and extra-point with 10:53 to play in the quarter and took a 22-19 lead into the final period.

The Cavemen appeared to put the game away early in the final period. Another touchdown and PAT extended the Cavemen's lead to 29-19. Cave City then recovered an onside kick and scored on the ensuing possession to take a 36-19 lead with only 7:15 remaining in the game.

Walnut Ridge wasted no time in mounting their comeback. On the first play of their next possession, Blackwell hit Dudley on a 55-yard scoring pass, cutting the lead to 36-25.

Cave City recovered the Bobcats' onside kick attempt, but Walnut Ridge's D.J. Wayne recovered a fumble three plays later.

Blackwell scored on an eight-yard run and Cummins added the extra-point to bring the Bobcats to within 36-32 with 2:19 to play.

In what might have appeared to be a case of déjà vu, Cave City recovered the Bobcats' onside kick attempt. Once again, the Walnut Ridge defense forced a fumble, which was recovered by Wayne with 45 seconds to play.

The Cavemen defense held for three downs, but on fourth-and four, Blackwell connected with Dudley for the game-winner. Blackwell then hit Logan Gaither for the two-point conversion to give the Bobcats a 40-36 lead.

On Cave City's final possession, Derek Medlock sacked the Cavemen quarterback, knocking the ball loose. Wayne again picked up the loose ball and returned it 49 yards for the clinching score.

Blackwell finished the game 13-of-22 passing, for 243 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for two scores.

Dudley had seven receptions for 165 yards and two touchdowns. Gaither caught five passes for 74 yards.

Brandon Dawson rushed for 42 yards on six carries.

On defense, Gaither led the Bobcats with 14 tackles. Wayne finished with 13 tackles, three fumble recoveries and forced a fumble. Dudley finished with 12 tackles.

Walnut Ridge will play their home opener on Friday, when they host Cedar Ridge. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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