October 09, 2013 Edition

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Martin Crisler (#10) runs the football for Walnut Ridge during the Bobcats' hard-fought overtime loss to East Poinsett County. Also shown are (from left) Justin Hand, an unidentified Bobcat, Baron Estes, Tyler Andrews and Tyler Fry.
TD Photo ~ Ashley George

Cats fall to EPC in overtime

Nathan Hibbard
Staff Writer

Walnut Ridge's rushing attack produced over 300 yards on the ground, including 145 yards from Cole Hicks, but the Bobcats couldn't overcome numerous big plays by East Poinsett County, as the Warriors came away with a 34-28 overtime victory on Friday night at Lepanto.

EPC got on the scoreboard quickly when quarterback Aaron Scales passed 55-yards to Seth Lacy for the Warriors' first touchdown. The two-point conversion gave EPC an 8-0 lead just 1:25 into the game.

Tyler Binkley answered with a 19-yard run to bring the Bobcats to within 8-6 with 5:34 to play in the opening period.

Scales raced 50 yards for a touchdown with 5:11 to play in the second quarter, and the Warriors carried a 14-6 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The third quarter would see both offenses open up, as the teams combined for 36 points in the period.

Hicks brought Walnut Ridge to within 14-12 with a three-yard run with 7:21 to play. EPC dialed up another big play on their next possession when Scales hit Trevor McDaniel with a 71-yard touchdown pass. A successful two-point conversion stretched EPC's lead to 22-12.

Hicks again found the end zone from three yards out, and then added the two-point conversion, cutting the Cats' deficit to 22-20 with 2:24 left in the period.

EPC again struck quickly on Scales' 59-yard pass to Quinn Young to make the score 28-20 with 47 seconds to play.

The Bobcats returned the ensuing kickoff deep into EPC territory to set up a 28-yard touchdown run by Hicks with 34 seconds remaining in the quarter. Hicks ran for the conversion to knot the contest 28-28 after three periods.

After a scoreless fourth quarter, the teams went to overtime still deadlocked.

EPC was on offense first in the overtime session. The Bobcat defense forced the Warriors into a fourth down-and-26, but Scales came up big again, hooking up with Young for a 26-yard score and a 34-28 lead.

Walnut Ridge then went on offense from the Warriors' 25-yard line, looking to tie, and possibly win, the contest. However, on the Bobcats' second play, EPC's Paul Pilgrim intercepted a Bobcat pass to end the game.

Hicks finished with 145 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries. Martin Crisler had 64 yards on 10 attempts, and Tyler Andrews carried 11 times for 61 yards.

On defense, Cody Reithemeyer led Walnut Ridge with seven tackles, while Darren Tribble recorded six stops. Hicks, Binkley, Crisler and Shelby Wake each had five tackles.

The loss left Walnut Ridge at 1-1 in 2A-3 Conference play and 2-3 overall. The Bobcats host Cross County for homecoming on Friday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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