September 21, 2011 Edition

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Bobcat Teague Phillips prepares to stiff arm a defender as he runs the ball, while teammate Eric Wilcoxson moves in to offer assistance on the play during Walnut Ridge's 46-26 loss to East Poinsett County on Friday.
Submitted Photo ~ Ashley George

Cats fall to EPC, quarterback hurt

Nathan Hibbard
Staff Writer

East Poinsett County defeated Walnut Ridge 46-26 in 2A-3 conference football action Friday night at Sexton Field.

EPC's Darius Barnes rushed for 171 yards and three touchdowns, threw a TD pass and returned a punt and a kickoff for scores to lead the Warriors' attack.

After a scoreless first quarter, EPC took the lead on Barnes' 58-yard run early in the second period. Walnut Ridge answered midway through the period when Payton Poole passed 16 yards to Eric Huff. Cason McQuay's PAT gave the Bobcats a 7-6 lead with 7:40 to play in the half.

The Warriors regained the lead at 12-7 when Barnes broke loose for a 90-yard scamper with 2:50 remaining. EPC's defense stopped Walnut Ridge's next possession, and Barnes returned the Cats' punt 45 yards for a score. The two-point conversion put the Warriors up 20-7.

Walnut Ridge put together a late drive, capped by Poole's quaterback keeper from a yard out with 23 seconds remaining in the half to make the halftime score 20-13 in the Warriors' favor.

EPC struck quickly out of the locker, as Trevor McDaniel returned the second-half kickoff 65 yards for a touchdown to extend the Warriors' lead to 26-13.

Walnut Ridge suffered a blow when Poole went down with a season-ending knee injury in the third quarter. Zach Crisler stepped in at quarterback and threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Zach Carson with 4:20 to play in the period. McQuay's PAT brought the Cats' to with 26-20.

Barnes scored on a one-yard run early in the fourth quarter. The two-point conversion lengthened EPC's lead to 34-20 with 11:40 remaining in the game.

Crisler scored on a two-yard run to bring Walnut Ridge to within 34-26 with 8:30 left to play. Barnes returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown put the Warriors in front 40-26. Barnes capped his big night by tossing a 17-yard touchdown pass to Wendell Pritchett for the game's final points with 6:20 to play.

For Walnut Ridge, Poole completed 14-of-20 passes for 184 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed for a toucdown before being injured.

Crisler rushed for 113 yards and a score on 18 carries.

Carson had seven receptions for 83 yards and a touchdown.

Walnut Ridge is now 1-1 in conference play and 1-2 overall. The Bobcats play at McCrory on Friday. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

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