September 9, 2015 Edition

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Walnut Ridge's Martin Crisler pushes his way down the field after taking a hand off from quarterback Will Weir. The Bobcats opened the season on Friday with a 32-8 victory over Corning.
TD Photo ~ Ashley George

Bobcats open with
win over Corning

Nathan Hibbard
Staff Writer

The Walnut Ridge Bobcats opened a 20-0 lead in the first half and went on to defeat the Corning Bobcats 32-8 in senior high football season opener Friday night at Sexton Field.

Walnut Ridge opened the scoring when quarterback Will Weir passed to Luke Harper for a 12-yard touchdown with 4:33 remaining in the first quarter. Corning's defense stopped Martin Crisler short of the goal line on the try for two, leaving Walnut Ridge's lead at 6-0.

Walnut Ridge stretched the lead to 12-0 in the second period when Weir found Wesley Friend for an eight-yard touchdown with 4:21 to play before halftime. Corning was successful again at stopping the two-point conversion.

Walnut Ridge's offense got the ball back before halftime and added to the lead on Weir's eight-yard run with 53 seconds before the intermission. Weir passed to Friend for the two-point conversion to give the home team Bobcats a 20-0 lead.

Corning struck quickly before the break, scoring on a two-yard run, followed by a two-point conversion to cut Walnut Ridge's halftime lead to 20-8.

Walnut Ridge added a touchdown in each of the final two quarters to put the game away.

Crisler scored from a yard out to make the score 26-8 at the 2:48 mark of the third period. Harper closed out the scoring with an eight-yard touchdown run with 10:04 to play in the game.

Weir finished with 16 completions on 28 attempts, for 219 yards and two touchdowns.

Crisler led Walnut Ridge on the ground, with 100 yards on 10 carries, while Weir added 37 yards on six carries. Harper rushed six times for 29 years. Tristan Hoffman and Colin Phillips each added five rushing yards.

Drake Smith, Michael Bounds and Crisler each had three receptions. Smith gained 68 yards, while Bounds and Crisler added 44 and 38 yards, respectively. Kyle Nunley caught two passes for 33 yards, and Friend had two receptions for eight yards. Tyler Barnes, Chase Baker and Harper each had a reception.

Walnut Ridge's defense turned in a solid effort, stopping Corning on fourth down four times, and picking off one pass.

Harper led the defense with 15 tackles. Crisler registered 12 tackles, and Barnes had 11. Phillips added six tackles and a sack, while Smith recorded seven tackles. Weir had an interception.

"The defense did a good job of flying to the ball," said Walnut Ridge assistant coach Jason Ward.

The Bobcats will be on the road this week, when they travel to Searcy to take on the Riverview Raiders. Game time is 7 p.m.

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