Cats suffer tough loss
East Poinsett County scored a defensive touchdown on the second play of the game and the Warriors never looked back, rolling to a 51-13 win over Walnut Ridge Friday night at Sexton Field.
The loss puts Walnut Ridge in a "must win" situation Friday night at Augusta. A win over the Red Devils would earn the Bobcats a trip to the state playoffs, while a loss would end the season.
After receiving the opening kickoff, Bobcat quarterback Jared Blackwell was intercepted by EPC's Dustin Beatty on the game's second play. Beatty returned the pick 30 yards for a touchdown to give the Warriors an early 6-0 lead.
EPC also scored on their first offensive possession when Carson Tyler passed 43 yards to Bucky Chamberlain. The PAT gave the Warriors a 13-0 lead. Beatty added his second score of the night on a five-yard run with 7:44 to play in the first quarter, as the Warriors exploded for a 19-0 lead just over four minutes into the game.
Beatty scored on an 11-yard run with 10:02 to play in the second quarter to put the Warriors ahead 25-0.
The Bobcats tried to claw their way back into the game with a pair of second-period scores. Following an EPC turnover, Blackwell put Walnut Ridge on the scoreboard with an eight-yard run. With 4:09 to play in the quarter, Blackwell hit Logan Gaither with a 14-yard scoring pass. The PAT brought the Cats to within 25-13.
EPC answered when Lando Bass scored on a 14-yard run late in the period and the Warriors took a 31-13 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Beatty scored his fourth touchdown of the evening on a 62-yard run on the first play of the second half. Beatty added the extra point for a 38-13 Warrior lead.
EPC added two more scores in the period on a 16-yard run by Byron Ford and a 43-yard punt return by Chamberlain for the game's final points.
"They just physically handled us. They were bigger up front and they controlled the line of scrimmage all night," said Walnut Ridge head coach Larry Treadway. "Now we move on and prepare for the biggest game of our season."
Blackwell finished 9-of-28 passing, for 91 yards and a touchdown.
Bennett Dudley had four receptions for 48 yards, and Gaither had four for 41 yards.
Preston Matthews led the Bobcat defense with 13 tackles, and William Wilcoxson had 12.