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Home News-Telegram Sports Wildcats use winning plan to down Denison

Wildcats use winning plan to down Denison

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     COMMERCE — It’s nice to watch a plan come together.


    Sulphur Springs head coach Greg Owens said his team needed to jump out to a big lead on Denison and they did just that.
    The Wildcats took a 66-42 win over Denison in the Class 4A, Div. II bi-district playoffs. They put up 50 points in the first half. Sulphur Springs had a large crowd in the game played at Texas A&M-Commerce.
    Sulphur Springs (8-3) now plays Whitehouse (11-0)  at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 22 in Forney for area. The Wildcats are the home team, tickets are on sale at the school $4 students, $6 adults or $8 at the gate.
    Larry Pryor, playing in only his 11th game at quarterback played like a seasoned veteran, accounting for 312 total yards and eight touchdowns. Pryor ran for four touchdowns with the Yellow Jackets keying on Willy Ivery. Then Pryor showed off his arm and threw four additional touchdowns completing 10 of 13 passes.
    Despite being the focus of the Denison defense, Ivery still scored on the ground with 135 yards rushing and caught a scoring pass.
    The 66 points the Wildcats scored, which was near a school record in the playoffs, came in only three quarters.
    "Our plan worked out great, it was awesome," said Owens of the playoff victory. "We had a fast start like we talked about. We did a good job of the kids coming out and playing hard. Denison scored some too, they are very good offensively upfront. Then we got some stops, got some turnovers. We got 21 points late in the second period. We gave them one late as well, but we overcame that."
    The Wildcats had a 23-14 lead after one period. After a wild and explosive second period, Sulphur Springs was up 50-21 at intermission after putting up 27 points in the second frame.
    Sulphur Springs had 495 total yards and averaged 9.5 per play. Denison accumulated 488 yards, getting an average of 6.4 per snap.
    The game opened with an immediate challenge by Denison. They won the toss and elected to take the ball, knowing of the potent offense Sulphur Springs possesses.
    Denison opened the game with a 71-yard scoring drive which consumed the first 3 1/2 minutes of the opening quarter. The Jackets drive began with three consecutive runs as carries by Colton Henslee, quarterback Devon Blanton and tail back Khalil Brown moved the ball from the 29 to the 45-yard line. Blanton threw to Edward Moreno for another first down. Then Denison had four more runs strung together as the Jackets went from near midfield to the four-yard line of Sulphur Springs. Blanton had made two success runs picking up 14 yards, then he pulled up and threw to Henslee for the first score of the contest. The short scoring toss and extra point by Wade Walters gave Denison a 7-0 lead with 8:29 left in the opening quarter.
    It was the last time Denison would be on top in the game. Mainly because the explosive Wildcats answered with a scoring drive of their own.
    The Wildcats had a short field to cover when kickoff specialist David Sauceda booted the ensuing out of bounds. The Wildcats took over at their 48-yard line to open the game. Ivery took off for a 12-yard gain. The Wildcats got a short run by Pryor. Then a false start call on Sulphur Springs was a temporary headache. So the Wildcats just scored. Pryor hand the ball to Ivery who zipped behind blockers through the first wave of Jackets, then turned on a dime, gave five cents change and streaked down the field for the first Sulphur Springs score. The 42-yard scoring burst cut the Denison lead to 7-6. Owens went into his bag of tricks and used Ivery from the Wildcat formation on the two-point conversion. Ivery did not run, oh no, instead he cooly flipped the ball to receiver Isaiah Lacy who outstepped Jacket defenders to the pylon and two points. With 7:33 left in the first frame, the Wildcats were up 8-7.
    The bag of tricks was open, so the Wildcats pulled out the onside kick while it was handy. Zach Spigner of the Wildcats pounced on the bouncing pigskin after it was deflected by a Jacket. and Sulphur Springs was back in business at the 37 of Denison.
    A holding call on the Wildcats slowed down the beginning of the drive. But Pryor read the line and used blockers for a first down run. Ivery raced for five additional yards. Three plays later the Wildcats cashed in the drive with Pryor scoring on a 15-yard run. Pryor broke tackles at the line, then rambled the final few yards to paydirt. A big block on the play was a springing shot by Ivery. Ivery raced over up the middle for the two-point conversion and the Sulphur Springs lead to was 16-7 still left in the opening quarter.
    Denison did not back and up and soon had a scoring drive of their own. The Jackets moved from their own 39-yard line down the field on eight plays, seven of the call runs. Henslee did the work inside while Brown scooted around the edge for yardage on sweeps. Brown scored for the Jackets on a six-yard run, cutting around the corner for the second Denison touchdown of the game. The Walters extra point made it a 16-14 game with less than two minutes to play in the first period.
    Again Denison was unwilling to kick deep the Wildcats, opting for an out-of-bounds kickoff.
    Sulphur Springs started their next possession at their own 30 with 1:34 to play in the first quarter. Ivery was bottled up as the Jackets started to clue in that No. 1 (Ivery) was the man to stop. Pryor made them pay as he threw to Lacy for a 30-yard gain. Two plays later it was Pryor taking off for a 20-yard burst up the gut. With a first and 10 from the 18 of Denison, Pryor went back up top again finding Lacy, this time for a scoring connection. Ryan Watson boomed the extra point and Sulphur Springs now had a 23-14 lead.
    Owens on Pryor, "He is coming into his own. He feels it, he is seeing it all. He's making good reads and he's mobile enough to take off and make something happen."
    Action shifted to the second period and it proved to be an eventful quarter and went a long way to deciding the contest.
    The Sulphur Springs defense came up with their first stand of the night. Derick Ingram met Blanton at the line and tackled the quarterback. Then Jaylon Dugan came up to cut down Jaleel Dade for a short gain after he caught a Blanton pass. Henslee was greeted at the line by Bryton Wood and friends to seal of the run game on this drive. The next two passes Blanton tried fell incomplete as the Wildcats took over on downs at their 30-yard line with 8:32 still to play in the first half.
    Pryor started the drive off with a pass to Alex Burney over the middle for a 29-yard gain. Then from the 37-yard line Pryor threaded a pass through defenders to Burney as he broke to the sidelines for a stylish completion. Pryor went back to Lacy, this time the senior speedster caught a 27-yard scoring pass to make it a 30-14 game.
    The Sulphur Springs defense found ways to slow down the Jackets. Mainly tackles by Dedric Smith, Ingram and soon the Denison squad had to punt.
    The Wildcats moved from deep into their own territory to the 35 of Denison before their drive sputtered and stalled. Denison took over on downs, but soon would be feeling charitable.
    Denison tried some razzle dazzle, but the reverse play had poor timing, mainly because the Wildcats disrupted the play. The ball popped free and defensive end Garret Hood was in the right spot to make the big recovery.
    Sulphur Springs took over at the 27-yard line of Denison and it just took them one play to light up the scoreboard, again.
    Pryor threw a perfect high lofting pass to Ivery going down the sideline on a wheel route for a score. Ivery had time to wait on the ball, line up his blockers and still score. Watson's point after padded the Wildcats’ lead to 37-14.
    Denison moved the ball on their next possession as they progressed from their 32 to the 14 of Sulphur Springs on a mixture of runs and passes with Blanton making key runs. Finally Blanton tried to force a pass into tight spot, the ball was tipped in the air and fell into the arms of Melroy Givens of the Wildcats. Givens returned the pick to the one-yard line.
    Givens said, "I was sitting back and I saw the ball bounce up and I got it. I wanted to score, but I was tired. I set up Larry for an easy one."
    Pryor did the honors and turned in a 1-yard scoring run to give the Wildcats a 43-14 lead.
    After another turnover on the kicking game. The Wildcats had the ball back, this time on the 29 of the Jackets. Pryor scrambled to the outside, then scooted down the sidelines for a scoring run. The Wildcats took a big breath, now up 50-14 following the Watson PAT.
    Denison showed some determination on the ensuing kickoff. Sulphur Springs went back to the high short kick, this time Dade got his hands on the pigskin. He evaded the first Wildcat, then used his speed to score on the 58-yard return with no time left on the first half clock. At intermission, the Wildcats were riding high up 50-21. Denison was not about to give up hope, after posting the final score of the exciting first half.
    Sulphur Springs took the second half kick off and did exactly what they had planned to do. Score quickly and try to salt away the contest.
    Pryor scored on a 33-yard keeper which was followed by a Watson extra point. Sulphur Springs had a 57-21 lead, but most of the second half remained.
    Denison went back to their game plan - running the ball. The Jackets used six straight runs to move from in for the score. Edward Moreno got the call and raced up the middle for the touchdown from three-yards out. The extra point was good and now the Sulphur Springs lead was now 57-28.
    The Wildcats had their next drive come up short of a touchdown. But they got points anyway when Watson banged home a 26-yard field goal. With 8:16 left in the third period, Sulphur Springs had a 60-28 advantage.
    Denison kept it interesting, putting together a 59-yard scoring drive. Brown used his speed to zip in from five-yards out. Moreno rambled over for the two-point conversion and the Sulphur Springs lead was now 60-36.
    Pryor closed out the scoring for the Wildcats with a perfect 49-yard scoring bomb to Burney making it a 66-36 game.
    Denison scored late when Drew Marr caught a 34-yard pass from Blanton.
    Sulphur Springs started using reserve players late and won the game by the final of 66-42.
    When the game was over the Wildcats  celebrated to their new theme song “Jump Around” by House of Pain after they collected the bi-district trophy.
    Denison, 6-5, could only walk off the field and ponder what might have been.
    The Wildcats had done more than jump around, they scored 66 points and get a rematch with rival Whitehouse.

 

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