Both teams make key plays on special teams
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

August 28, 2004 - COMMERCE - For both Sulphur Springs and Jacksonville Friday night, special teams giveth and taketh away.

Both teams had big plays - both positive and negative - in the kicking game, as they went live for the first time this year. In scrimmages, there are no punts or kickoffs.

"I said that yesterday to one of my buddy's on the team," said SSHS junior punter Spenser Daniel. "I said it would come down to special teams, and it really did."

For Sulphur Springs, the positives were a 27-yard pressure-packed field goal by Daniel to tie the game on the last play of regulation, a blocked punt by Keidric Duffey and Zach Reeves, three punts downed inside the 20, including one at the 5-yard line that led to a safety, and a 49-yard kickoff return by Keelan Green.

On the negative side were allowing a blocked punt and a 58-yard kickoff return, having Keenan Clayton's 70-yard punt return for a touchdown called back on an illegal block, and negating a blocked extra point because of an offside penalty.

"We knew the kicking game would be a big part of it," said SSHS head coach Brad Turner. "This is the first time live. Both teams had good plays and bad plays in the kicking game."

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Mr. Versatility - Junior Josh Riley combined for 88 yards of total offense. He ran for 48 yards on 11 carries, completed 2-of-7 passes for 28 more yards and caught one pass for 12 yards. He started at quarterback and alternated series with sophomore Logan Turner. ...Junior Josh Harrington, starting in the place of injured senior Rolaundo Wright, was the top receiver with four catches for 48 yards. All of his catches went for first downs. ...The Wildcats, though, had just one play from scrimmage that went more than 20 yards, that being a 23-yard completion from Turner to Keenan Clayton.

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OT Once in a While - This was the first overtime game for the Wildcats since the 2002 season, when they lost to Sherman, 6-3, in a torrential downpour. ...The Wildcats finished the game with 13 first downs, but did not have one on their first four possessions. ...Travis Edmond, converted from offensive tackle to defensive tackle, had a fumble recovery. ...Jacksonville was penalized 13 times for 119 yards. Sulphur Springs was flagged eight times for 55 yards.

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Two-Point Line - Jacksonville did poorly on their PAT attempts, until the final one. The Wildcats had their first kick attempt sail wide left, then were stopped on a running attempt after their second TD. After the touchdown in overtime, the PAT was blocked, but when given a second chance by an offside penalty, the Indians converted on a short run by 240-pound sophomore fullback Joseph Whitaker. ...OT Wes Woods was the only Wildcat offensive player who started in both the 2003 and 2004 season openers. On defense, it was FS Keenan Clayton and LB Keidric Duffey.

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