November 18, 2009 Edition

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Bobcats fall to Woodlawn

Walnut Ridge's Derek Medlock (foreground) wraps up a Woodlawn player during the first round of the state playoffs on Friday night. Moving in to assist are Brian Archibald (left) and Dylan Willis.
Submitted Photo ~ Ashley George
Nathan Hibbard
Staff Writer

The Walnut Ridge Bobcats saw their 2009 football season come to an end with an 18-13 loss to the Woodlawn Bears Friday night at Rison in the first round of the 2A State Playoffs.

The loss marked the second time in the last three years that Walnut Ridge's season was ended by the Bears. Woodlawn defeated the Bobcats 42-6 in the first round of the 2007 playoffs.

Walnut Ridge threatened to get on the scoreboard early, when quarterback Luke Holloway connected with Teague Phillips on a 54-yard pass play to the Woodlawn three-yard line on the game's first play. The Bears' defense stiffened and forced an incompletion on a fourth-down pass.

The Walnut Ridge defense appeared to stop Woodlawn's ensuing offensive possession, but a roughing the kicker penalty against the Cats kept the drive alive. Woodlawn capitalized on the break when Ryker Smith scored on a two-yard run three plays later. The PAT was no good, leaving the Bears with a 6-0 lead with five minutes to play in the first quarter.

Woodlawn extended their lead when quarterback Jordan Spakes hit Brandon Spakes with a 29-yard touchdown pass early in the second period. Walnut Ridge stopped the Bears' two-point conversion attempt to keep the score 12-0 with 11:25 to play before halftime.

Walnut Ridge was able to cut into Woodlawn's lead later in the period. Bennett Dudley ran for a 31-yard gain on a fourth-and-one play from the Bears' 34-yard line. Teague Phillips scored from the three-yard line on the next play. Greg Fender kicked the extra point to bring the Bobcats to within 12-7 with 3:57 in the quarter.

The score would remain 12-7 until Woodlawn put together a 55-yard drive, capped by Lane Brooks' three-yard run in the fourth quarter. Again, Walnut Ridge stopped the two-point attempt to hold the score at 18-7 with less than 10 minutes to play in the game.

On Walnut Ridge's next possession, Holloway threw a 66-yard touchdown pass to Dudley to bring the Bobcats to within 18-13 with 8:30 to play. The try for two-points was no good.

Woodlawn recovered Walnut Ridge's onside kick attempt, but was unable to move the ball. The Bears then punted the Bobcats back inside their five-yard line. Walnut Ridge was unable to move the ball and had to punt with less than three minutes to play. Woodlawn was able to move the ball and run out the clock to earn the victory.

"Our kids fought hard. We were down early, but kept fighting back. It was a tough end to a great season," said Walnut Ridge head coach Larry Treadway. "We are going to miss our seniors, but we're excited about what we have coming back."

Dudley finished with 54 yards rushing on 12 carries, and had two receptions for 68 yards. Holloway completed three-of-four pass attempts for 122 yards.

The Bobcats' defensive effort was led by Preston Matthews with 12 tackles. Tristan Fernandez recorded 11 tackles, while Phillips and Fender each had 10.

The Bobcats finished the season with a 7-4 record.

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