October 6, 2010 Edition

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Poole leads Cats to win over Salem

Walnut Ridge's Richie Ward pulls in a reception that netted the Bobcats a touchdown during their 45-26 victory over Salem Friday night.
Submitted Photo ~ Ashley George

Nathan Hibbard
Staff Writer

Payton Poole ran for four touchdowns and passed for two more to lead the Walnut Ridge Bobcats to a 45-26 victory over Salem on Friday night at Salem.

The Bobcats scored on their first possession of the game when Richie Ward caught a 31-yard touchdown pass from Poole. Ward kicked the extra point to put Walnut Ridge up 7-0 with 9:56 to play in the first quarter.

Salem scored a touchdown early in the second quarter, but the two-point conversion failed, leaving the Bobcats with a 7-6 lead.

Poole connected with Eric Wilcoxson for a 45-yard scoring pass on the Bobcats' next possession. Ward added the extra point for a 14-6 advantage with 9:58 remaining in the half.

The Greyhounds responded with a touchdown to cut Walnut Ridge's lead to 14-12. The Bobcats' offense stalled on their next possession, but the Cats' defense stepped up when Preston Matthews intercepted a Salem pass to set up Walnut Ridge's next score. Poole ran for a four-yard touchdown with less than a minute to play in the quarter, and Ward added the PAT as the Bobcats carried a 21-12 advantage into halftime.

Salem recovered Walnut Ridge's onside kick attempt to start the second half and drove for a quick score to close to within 21-18.

Poole then capped a long Walnut Ridge drive with a one-yard run. He passed to Ward for the two-point conversion to give the Bobcats a 29-18 lead after three quarters.

In the fourth quarter, Poole scored on a 29-yard quarterback keeper with 10 to play in the game. Poole again connected with Ward for the two-point conversion, as the Cats' extended their lead to 37-18.

Salem scored a touchdown and two-point conversion to make the score 37-26.

Poole added Walnut Ridge's final touchdown of the evening on a 23-yard run with 6:33 to play. He once again passed to Ward for the conversion to set the final score.

Poole finished with 20 completions on 30 pass attempts, for 249 yards and two touchdowns. He rushed for 74 yards and four touchdowns on 12 carries.

Zach Carson had 92 yards receiving, and Ward added 82 receiving yards.

Matthews led the Bobcat defense with 13 tackles and an interception. Dylan Wills made 10 tackles, and Hunter Yates had an interception.

Walnut Ridge improved to 3-1 in 2A-3 conference play and 4-1 overall. The Bobcats host Marked Tree on Friday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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