September 17, 2008 Edition

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Bobcats claw Thunderbirds, 51-6



Walnut Ridge's Logan Gaither tries to shake off a defender during the Bobcats' 51-6 victory over Cedar Ridge on Friday night. Gaither caught three passes for 96 yards and three touchdowns in addition to picking up a Timberwolves fumble for another TD.
Submitted Photo ~ Ginger Bibb
Nathan Hibbard
Staff Writer

Walnut Ridge jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back, as the Bobcats moved to 2-0 on the 2008 football season with a 51-6 win over the Cedar Ridge Timberwolves on Friday night at Sexton Field.

Walnut Ridge opened the scoring when quarterback Jared Blackwell passed 11 yards to Logan Gaither. Tim Cummins' PAT made it 7-0.

Brian Archibald scored on a 15-yard run and Cummins added the extra-point for a 14-0 Bobcat lead with 7:52 to play in the opening period.

After the Bobcat defense recovered a Cedar Ridge fumble, Blackwell again connected with Gaither, this time on a 54-yard scoring pass. Cummins added his third PAT, as Walnut Ridge moved ahead 21-0.

The second quarter proved to be more of the same, as Walnut Ridge increased its lead to 27-0 on an 18-yard pass from Blackwell to Derek Medlock.

The Bobcat defense then got into the act, as Gaither scooped up a Timberwolves fumble and returned it 28 yards for a touchdown and a 34-0 lead, following the extra-point.

A Cedar Ridge punt, followed by a Walnut Ridge penalty, left the Bobcat offense pinned inside its own five-yard line. The Timberwolves fell on a fumbled snap in the end zone for their only score of the game with 6:04 left in the first half.

The Walnut Ridge offense atoned for the miscue when Blackwell passed 31 yards to Gaither for another score with 4:33 to play in the half. Cummins' extra-point gave the Bobcats a 41-6 halftime lead.

Walnut Ridge substituted at most positions in the second half and the half was played with the mercy rule in effect, which called for the clock to run continuously.

The only points of the third quarter came on a 22-yard field goal by Cummins, giving Walnut Ridge a 44-6 lead.

Preston Matthews scored on a five-yard run in the final period and Cummins added his sixth PAT for the Bobcats' final points.

On offense, Blackwell finished with nine completions in 17 attempts for 157 yards and four touchdowns.

Matthews rushed for 75 yards on eight carries.

Gaither had three receptions for 96 yards and three touchdowns. Bennett Dudley added three catches for 43 yards.

William Wilcoxson led the Bobcat defense with 10 tackles and Justin Cagle added eight.

"We had an outstanding defensive effort in the game. We're going to have to carry that over to next week against Cross County," said Walnut Ridge head coach Larry Treadway.

Walnut Ridge travels to Cherry Valley on Friday for a 2A-3 conference matchup against the Cross County Thunderbirds. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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