Pleasant Result: Wildcats dominate arch-rival Tigers, 66-21

Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Oct. 16, 2004 - MOUNT PLEASANT - The Sulphur Springs Wildcats scored five touchdowns, amassed more than 300 yards of offense and put up 17 first downs Friday night.

Then came halftime.

There wasn't much that didn't click for the Wildcats the entire game as they rolled to a 66-21 victory over the Mount Pleasant Tigers at Sam Parker Field. They scored points in every quarter, but were especially prolific in the second and third periods when they put up 45 points.

Sophomore quarterback Logan Turner ran for two touchdowns and threw for another, while running back Chris Person and receiver Keelan Green each added two rushing touchdowns apiece to help pace the Wildcats to 540 yards of total offense.

The victory improved the SSHS record to 6-1 overall, 2-0 in District 12-4A, where they are joined atop the standings by Texas High (5-2, 2-0), a 49-7 winner over Paris (2-5, 0-2), and North Lamar (7-0, 2-0) which beat Greenville (1-6, 0-2) by a score of 21-7.

It was the fourth-highest point total in SSHS history as seven different Wildcats scored points. In a reversal of last week's win over Paris, the Wildcats didn't commit a turnover and penalties were never a factor.

"That's what we do when we play four full quarters," said SSHS head coach Brad Turner. "That was our whole thing coming into tonight - we wanted to play good all four quarters - and we did and it showed. We've been averaging 37 points a game, but we had yet to play three quarters, much less four.

"We put together a pretty good game tonight."

And how.

Logan Turner completed 16-of-23 passes for 269 yards without an interception, his best game of the season, and 6-4 senior wide receiver Rolaundo Wright used his leaping ability on several occasions to finish with eight catches for 149 yards, including a 27-yard TD reception between two defenders in the third period.

The Wildcats didn't have a 100-yard rusher, but managed to generate 261 yards on the ground on just 31 carries, almost a 9-yard average. Green finished with 92 yards on five carries, Person steamrolled his way to 79 yards on nine totes, and Turner had 54 yards on eight carries.

Only twice did the offensive line of Wes Woods, Cole Strawn, Jacob Jenkins, Chris Berry and Jose Vargas allow a running back to be tackled behind the line of scrimmage.

"We came out ready and focused tonight. Us being focused and having our head in the game was the difference," Green explained. "Just about everything worked. We had watched film and knew their defense, and were prepared for everything we saw."

The Wildcats showed their firepower on their first possession of the game, when a 36-yard punt return by Keenan Clayton gave them the ball at the MP 38-yard line. Nine plays later, Clayton ran behind Vargas (6-2, 290) and Berry (6-2, 350) for a 4-yard TD.

Spenser Daniel kicked the first of nine consecutive extra points to give SSHS a 7-0 lead midway through the first period.

The lead grew quickly.

On the ensuing kick off, Spenser lofted a directional kick toward the sideline, which was muffed by MP and recovered by Sulphur Springs' Robert Finnie at the 13-yard line.

Three plays later, Turner had his first TD of the game on a 1-yard run and a 14-0 SSHS lead.

Mount Pleasant, though, has some firepower of its own. Quarterback Trevor Walker completed 14-of-25 passes for 194 yards and two TDs. The first touchdown came just a minute after the Sulphur Springs score, when Walker found Justin Peters on a deep post for a 37-yard strike which cut the Wildcat lead to 14-7 following Issac Guzman's extra point.

Following an exchange of punts - including a 70-yard TD return by Clayton which was called back on a penalty - Sulphur Springs struck back with a 74-yard drive spurred by a 35-yard connection between Turner and Eric Chenault, and Person's pinball 18-yard TD run up the middle.

That gave SSHS a 21-7 lead that Mount Pleasant almost immediately carved into.

Walker again went to the air for a TD, hitting Kevin Cheatum with a quick slant he turned into a 55-yard score that cut the SSHS lead to 21-14 just 90 seconds into the second period.

The rest of the game, though, belonged to the Wildcats.

They finished out the half with three straight scoring drives. Green, who had 139 yards of offense, took a handoff around left end, where he picked up blocks from Wright and Person and sped his way to a 61-yard touchdown; Person capped a 66-yard drive with a 2-yard run; and Daniel booted his fifth field goal of the season from 22 yards out on the final play of the half to give the Wildcats a comfortable 38-14 advantage.

The Wildcats then scored on four straight second-half possessions to salt the game away.

"First of all, the difference was we played a full four quarters," said Logan Turner. "We hadn't been able to string four quarters together in any game this year. We finally brought it all together.

"We spent all week talking about what we were going to do, the best match-ups. We didn't really do anything different. Overall, it was a really good night."

The second half started with a 68-yard drive propelled by a 20-yard tipped pass from Turner to Josh Riley and capped by Turner's 8-yard run. The next drive went 69 yards and ended on Green's 10-yard scamper. That was followed by Wright's 27-yard TD catch thrown by Turner under heavy pressure, and the final score came when senior back-up quarterback Tremayne Jones kept the ball for 24 yards.

Mount Pleasant added a late TD on Courtney Walker's 54-yard gallop up the middle. Walker finished with 141 yards on 14 carries.

The Wildcat defense, meanwhile, stiffened after giving up the two early TDs. Middle linebacker Keidric Duffey led the charge with nine tackles, one sack and two tackles for losses. Cornerback Brandon Clayton and free safety Keenan Clayton had six stops apiece, while Jonathan Hall, Zach Reeves, Zach Attaway and Jones had five tackles apiece.

Defensive tackle Travis Edmond had a sack, as did middle linebacker David Barnes and defensive end Patrick Radney.

"Our defense was kind of on their heels a little bit early, but we talked at halftime about sometimes a team has to pick each other up," Coach Turner said. "Sometimes, it's the defense and sometimes it's the offense. That's what the team is all about. I was real proud of the way they played tonight."

Finnie, at the other cornerback, had two tackles and one pass defensed. He said the team pulled together after giving up the two big plays in the first half.

"We've got some stuff to work on, and we can play better, but we played pretty well after the first quarter," he said. "Usually, the defense has to be the one to step it up, but today the offense was there to pick us up until halftime."

And beyond.

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