September 5, 2012 Edition

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Walnut Ridge's Payton Poole pulls in a pass from quarterback Zach Crisler during the Bobcats' 33-30 victory over Corning on Friday night. Also shown is teammate Robert Vaughn (far left).
Submitted Photo ~ Ashley George

WR posts win

Nathan Hibbard
Staff Writer

Walnut Ridge and Corning renewed their gridiron rivalry Friday night at Corning, with Walnut Ridge's Bobcats holding off a late Corning rally to come away with a 33-30 victory.

The fireworks started early, as the first quarter saw four touchdowns and three lead changes.

Walnut Ridge struck first, when Eric Wilcoxson raced 37 yards for the game's first score. Ryan Vaughn added the PAT for a 7-0 lead with 9:40 to play in the opening quarter.

Corning answered on their ensuing possession as Russel Cox scored on a 13-yard run. Walnut Ridge's defense stopped Corning's two-point attempt to keep the score 7-6.

Corning would take the lead later in the period when quarterback Korey Smith passed six yards to Trevor Barajas. This time the try for two points was successful, giving the home team a 14-7 advantage with five minutes to play in the period.

Walnut Ridge responded with Zach Crisler's 18-yard touchdown run with 1:42 remaining in the period. Wilcoxson ran in the conversion to put the visiting Bobcats back in front 15-14 to close out the first quarter.

The defenses settled down in the second period, with the only score coming on Crisler's one-yard run. The try for two points was unsuccessful and Walnut Ridge carried a 21-14 lead into the locker room.

Walnut Ridge extended its lead to 33-14 with a pair of scores in the third quarter.

First, Crisler connected with Hunter Flippo on a six-yard scoring pass with 4:56 to play in the period. Later, Payton Poole passed to Wilcoxson for a 17-yard touchdown with 2:43 remaining in the quarter. Once again, the try for two points was stopped, keeping the score 33-14 heading into the fourth quarter.

Ty Prater and Smith led the home team's comeback efforts in the final period. Prater scored on a 34-yard touchdown run with 10 minutes to play in the game. Prater then hauled in a Smith pass for the two-point conversion, cutting Walnut Ridge's lead to 33-22.

Smith then found Cox with a 57-yard scoring pass with 1:05 left in the contest. Smith passed to Jordan Rainwater for a successful two-point conversion and what would be the game's final points.

Walnut Ridge recovered Corning's onside kick and ran out the clock for the win.

Crisler finished with 119 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 19 attempts. He completed 10-of-20 passes for 112 yards and a score.

Robert Vaughn led Walnut Ridge's defensive effort with 11 tackles, while Rowdy Ditto recorded 10 stops.

Walnut Ridge hosts DeWitt in the Bobcats' home opener on Friday at Sexton Field. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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