October 29, 2008 Edition

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Bobcats rally for big win

Nathan Hibbard
Staff Writer

The Walnut Ridge Bobcats rallied from an 8-6 fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the Rector Cougars 20-8 Friday night at Rector to remain in the hunt for a 2A-3 playoff berth.

The Bobcats struck quickly, scoring on their first offensive series. Justin Cagle capped the 63-yard drive with a four-yard run with 5:35 to play in the opening period. The PAT was no good, leaving the Cats with a 6-0 lead.

Rector tied the game in the second quarter on a 30-yard touchdown pass with 4:17 to play before halftime.

The Cougars took the second half kickoff and drove deep into Walnut Ridge territory. The Bobcat defense ended the threat when Logan Gaither intercepted a Cougar pass at the three-yard line.

The Rector defense then rose up and sacked Bobcat quarterback Jared Blackwell in the end zone for a safety, giving the Cougars an 8-6 lead.

The score remained 8-6 until late in the fourth quarter, when Blackwell passed 15 yards to Gaither for a Bobcat touchdown. Rector stopped Walnut Ridge's two-point conversion attempt to keep the Bobcat lead at 12-8.

It was the Walnut Ridge defense's turn to make a big play, as Derek Medlock intercepted a Rector pass near midfield to end the Cougar's final possession.

Intent to run out the clock, Blackwell took a knee on first, second and third downs. However, the clock was reset, forcing the Bobcats to run a play on fourth down. Bennett Dudley broke loose for a 51-yard touchdown run with seven seconds to play in the game. Blackwell passed to Gaither for the two-point conversion.

"We had to battle through some adversity to win the ballgame," said Walnut Ridge head coach Larry Treadway. "The bottom line is that we found a way to win, and I'm proud of our kids for that."

With the win, Walnut Ridge improved to 4-3 overall and 3-3 in 2A-3 conference play.

Friday night will be Senior Night at Sexton Field, as the Bobcats host East Poinsett County in the final home game of the season. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.

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