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Game with Rider still has drama this year

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WICHITA FALLS – This year’s version of the Sulphur Springs-Wichita Falls Rider match-up didn’t have the same national audience as last year’s ESPN2 version, but it had the same drama.

Last year, cornerback Anthony Mills’ end zone interception sealed the victory in the final seconds. This year, it was Seth Harris’ 44-yard interception return for a touchdown with 77 seconds left in the game that provided the breathing room that the Wildcats needed.

Harris’  interception was followed by another pick by cornerback Keiston Clayton on Rider’s final possession – meanwhile, Sharard Timmons intercepted his fourth pass of the season.  Timmons’ interception stopped a Rider drive at the Wildcat 11-yard line late in the third period.

Add to that a blocked punt by defensive end Kedrick Dial in the first half, and a key sack on fourth down by defensive tackle Tyler Halerumal that stopped a Raider drive at the SSHS 10-yard line early in the second quarter. It added up to a fine defensive effort by the Cats.

J.B. Beachum also had a sack, and the Wildcats tackled Rider runners for losses nine times in the game. Overall, the Wildcats limited Rider to just 256 total yards.


SOPHOMORE DEBUTS – Sophomore quarterback Justin Owens got his first varsity start in place of injured senior Colton Lee, and he did it with a classmate in the backfield with him. Kody Chester also got his first start at running back. In addition, sophomore wide receiver Cody Clayton saw action when Alvin Frazier was injured in the first half. All three players shined in their debuts. Owens ended up completing 18-of-27 passes for 199 yards, while Chester had 38 yards rushing on five carries, and Clayton caught one pass for 19 yards and a first down. … Six different receivers caught passes from Owens, led by Garrett Ferguson’s 67 yards on seven receptions. … Senior Shane McQueen, who saw his first game action since injuring his ankle in the final preseason scrimmage, made his presence known with a full-out horizontal diving catch for a 39-yard TD for the Cats’ first score.


WIN STREAK –The Wildcats have now pieced together a 12-game winning streak, starting with the win over Marshall last year. … Sharard Timmons and Justin Owens combined for six punts, and averaged a healthy 41.7 yards per boot. Rider didn’t fare as well, punting six times for a 22.8-yard average. … Rider fumbled the ball four times, but recovered the ball each time. …         Each team was hurt by penalties. Rider had a 44–yard punt return for a TD by Paul Mason wiped out by an obvious block in the back, while SSHS had a first-and-goal from the 5-yard line with about two minutes remaining in the game turn into a fourth-and-38 from the 44-yard line after a 15-yard crackback penalty and a sack pushed the team back to near midfield.


WHERE’S THE BEEF? – Senior center Colby Suggs scored his third touchdown of the season on a 3-yard run in the third quarter. Suggs, a former quarterback who takes over that position in the Wildcats’ short yardage formation, carried the ball three times – twice for first downs and the final time for the TD. … Suggs anchored the offensive line with Beau Carpenter, Mason Y’Barbo, Chris Sorley, Tyler Halerumal and Alex Peek. … Rider had 10 different players carry the ball, including punter Rustin Morgan, who gained 3 yards after he fielded a blocked punt. … Rider tailback Deron Royster had 99 yards on his first seven carries of the game, but the Wildcat defense limited him to just 6 yards on his final six carries, all in the fourth quarter.


SAFETY FIRST – Wildcat safeties Triston Crook and Sharard Timmons combined for 14 tackles. Linebackers Tyler Higginbotham, Joe Scott and Jocko Spataro also among the leading tacklers, along with end Jimmy Villa and tackle Fred Gilstrap. … SSHS was called for a pass interference penalty on the two-point conversion attempt following Rider’s second TD. On a redo, Rider’s Paul Mason ran in the conversion. … SSHS junior kicker Fernando Arellano was right down the middle on both of his field goal attempts.




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