October 28, 2009 Edition

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Cats earn playoff berth

Walnut Ridge's Bennett Dudley grabs one of his two interceptions during the Bobcats' 44-14 victory over Rector on Friday night. Also shown is Walnut Ridge's Tristan Ferndandez.
Submitted Photo ~ Ashley George
Nathan Hibbard
Staff Writer

Preston Matthews ran for 136 yards and scored three touchdowns to lead the Walnut Ridge Bobcats to a 44-14 victory over the Rector Cougars in senior high football Friday night. The win clinched a berth in the Class 2A State Playoffs for the Bobcats.

Rector got on the scoreboard first, on a seven-yard run by Clinton Healey with 3:32 to play in the first quarter.

The Cougars' lead would be short-lived, as Matthews ran for a 65-yard touchdown to tie the game at 6-6. Bennett Dudley ran in the two-point conversion to put the Bobcats ahead 8-6 with 2:09 to play in the quarter.

Matthews scored his second touchdown on a 19-yard run with 7:58 remaining in the second period. Dudley again added the two-point conversion for a 16-6 Walnut Ridge lead. Later in the period, Dudley scored from a yard out and Matthews added the conversion, as Walnut Ridge took a 24-6 lead into halftime.

Walnut Ridge continued to roll in the second half, as Luke Holloway passed 62 yards to Derek Medlock for another Bobcat score. Greg Fender kicked the PAT for a 31-6 advantage.

Haley returned the ensuing kickoff 60 yards for a Cougar touchdown. The two-point conversion trimmed the Bobcat lead to 31-14.

Dudley added his second touchdown of the evening on a two-yard run on the final play of the third quarter to extend Walnut Ridge's lead to 37-14.

Dudley connected with Matthews on a 98-yard scoring pass in the fourth quarter. Fender's PAT provided the final point.

"This was a huge win for us because of the playoff implications," said Walnut Ridge head coach Larry Treadway. "Rector fought hard and our kids had to step up to win the game. We are proud of the win and glad to be back in the playoffs."

Matthews rushed for 136 yard on 10 carries.

Holloway completed nine-of-12 passes for 138 yards.

On defense, Matthews led the Bobcats in tackles with 14, while Brian Archibald had 11. Dudley had two interceptions, and Zach Carson had one. Tristan Fernandez forced a fumble, and Shawn Seagraves had a fumble recovery. Kyle Simms had two sacks.

Walnut Ridge travels to Lepanto to face East Poinsett County on Friday night. Game time is set for 7 p.m.

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