November 9, 2016 Edition

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Hoxie's Diamani Davis (#4) runs the ball after taking a handoff from quarterback Chandler Spradlin (#15) during Thursday night's game, while teammate Colton Robins blocks Walnut Ridge's Wesley Friend (#5). Other Bobcats in on the play were (from left) Matthew Shaw, Tristan Hoffman, Luke Harper and Michael Flinn.
Submitted Photo ~ Valerie Orrick

Walnut Ridge defeats Hoxie
in rekindled rivalry

The Walnut Ridge Bobcats and Hoxie Mustangs rekindled their longstanding rivalry on the gridiron Thursday night at Hoxie's Crider Field.

Luke Harper rushed for 280 yards and Colin Phillips scored three touchdowns to lead Walnut Ridge to a 44-0 victory. The win also secured a spot in the 3A state football playoffs for the Bobcats.

Harper scored Walnut Ridge's first points on a 76-yard run with 8:26 to play in the first quarter. The conversion was unsuccessful, leaving the Bobcats with a 6-0 lead.

Later in the period Harper broke free for a 49-yard run, but was tackled short of the goal line. Phillips finished the drive with a four-yard run at the 5:11 mark. Hoxie again stopped the conversion, keeping the score 12-0.

On Hoxie's ensuing possession, Phillips stripped the ball from Mustang quarterback Chandler Spradlin and raced 36 yards for a touchdown and an 18-0 Walnut Ridge lead with 4:27 to play in the opening period.

Hoxie's next possession also ended with a turnover when Will Weir picked off a Mustang pass and returned it 76 yards for the Bobcats' fourth touchdown of the quarter. Following a penalty, Weir raced 18 yards on a quarterback keeper to score the two-point conversion and increase Walnut Ridge's lead to 26-0.

After several scoreless possessions, Walnut Ridge added to its lead after recovering a Hoxie fumble. Michael Bounds caught an eight-yard touchdown pass from Weir to stretch the Cats' lead to 32-0 with 3:37 remaining in the half.

Walnut Ridge's defense would strike again before the intermission, however, as Phillips would pick off an errant pass and race 45 yards for another Bobcat score with 2:43 to play in the first half. The conversion was no good, but Walnut Ridge carried a 38-0 lead into halftime.

After a scoreless third quarter, Harper got free for a 57-yard run to set up Walnut Ridge's final score. Wesley Friend's one-yard run with 9:04 to play in the game were the game's final points.

Harper's final numbers included 280 yards rushing on 15 carries. Phillips finished with 118 yards on 12 carries. Friend added 13 yards on four carries.

Weir attempted three passes in the game, with his only completion being a seven-yard touchdown to Bounds.

For Hoxie, Spradlin was 2/13 passing for 16 yards.

Diamani Davis was Hoxie's leading rusher, with 68 yards on 17 attempts. Spradlin added 47 yards on 13 carries.

Colton Robins had two receptions for 16 yards.

Hoxie concluded the season with a 2-5 record in 3A-3 Conference play and was 2-8 overall.

The win lifted the Bobcats record to 7-3 overall and 4-3 in conference play. Walnut Ridge will play the Paris Eagles in a first-round playoff game Friday night at Paris. Game time is set for 7 p.m.

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