White-Washed: Wildcats score five different ways in victory
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Sept. 18, 2004 - ADDISON - Loos Stadium officials were having trouble with the scoreboard before Friday night's game between Sulphur Springs and Dallas W.T. White.

If it didn't blow a fuse after the workout it got during the game, then it should be fine.

It took the Wildcats about a quarter to get going, but then they scored five different ways en route to a 56-28 win over White in a game that lasted almost 3 1/2 hours.

The Wildcats not only scored eight touchdowns, they had three others called back, including a pair of punt returns by senior speedster Keelan Green, who brought back a kick off 75 yards for one TD and took another punt back to the 5-yard line. SSHS scored on special teams, defense and offense.

Senior cornerback Brandon Clayton returned an interception for one TD and a blocked punt for another, while offensively, sophomore quarterback Logan Turner completed 20-of-29 passes for 185 yards and three touchdowns.

The Wildcats (3-1) fell behind, 14-7, in the first period, but then put up 42 straight points before White scored two late TDs against the SSHS second-team defense.

"They came out ready to play, and we were flat and didn't do some things good in the first," said SSHS head coach Brad Turner. "But, we hung in there and settled down, and that was a good thing. It's not bad to experience that - you just don't want to experience it and then lose. You want to experience it and overcome it.

"The kids did that. I thought we settled down there in the second quarter and were able to stretch it out there in the second half."

Total yards for the teams were closer than the score, with SSHS accumulating 329 yards and White (0-4) garnering 282, but the Wildcats turned the game around in the second period when the Sulphur Springs defense allowed White just one first down while the offense converted three of their four possessions into touchdowns.

White had 98 total yards in the first period, but just 28 in the second.

The players attributed it to coming out less intense than usual in the first quarter.

"We came out flat, and they took advantage of that," said middle linebacker David Barnes, who had six tackles before the first-string defense took a seat midway through the third period. "We thought they would run more to the outside, but they just ran it right up the gut."

That's how White took a 7-0 lead when tailback Dante Thomas, who finished with 121 yards on 16 carries, ran 35 yards up the middle midway through the first period. For the first time since the opening game, the Wildcats were behind.

But, not for long.

On the ensuing kickoff, Green took the ball at the 25-yard line, went up the middle, then cut to the sideline near midfield while avoiding a would-be tackler. Once he got to the outside, there wasn't anyone who could catch the sprinter who finished fourth at the state track meet last spring in the 100-meter dash.

His 75-yard kick return and the first of eight straight PATs by Spenser Daniel tied the game at 7-7. It was his second kick return for a TD this year, and he had two others in the game called back on illegal blocks well behind the action.

"Keelan Green's pretty special to have a night like that," said Coach Turner. "That's a pretty amazing game."

Following White's next possession, Green took a punt back 66 yard to the WTW 5-yard line, though an end zone interception by White's Brad Darnell and 70-yard return ended the SSHS drive and set up White's next touchdown. When WTW quarterback Drew Harris threw up a pass under pressure that Casey McCune came down with in the end zone, the Longhorns had a 14-7 lead with 2:49 to play in the first quarter.

The Wildcats had given up as many points in that period as they had in the previous eight quarters combined.

"I was worried about us coming in a little overconfident to begin with," Coach Turner said. "I did my best to assure them that W.T. White has some talent, and if they come ready to play they can give us a ballgame. "

By the second quarter, the Cats had regained their focus.

They tied the game at 14-14 two minutes into the period on Chris Person's 1-yard run. He finished with 85 yards on 14 carries, including 43 yards on the 77-yard scoring drive.

The Wildcats then quickly took a lead they would build on for the remainder of the game.

On White's first play from scrimmage after Person's TD, quarterback Harris tried to throw a curl pattern, but the ball was tipped by SSHS outside linebacker Jake Broumley and gathered in by Brandon Clayton at the 40-yard line. Five seconds later, he was in the end zone with a 21-14 SSHS lead.

The Cats then scored on two of their final three possessions of the first period, including two TDs in the final 90 seconds.

SSHS took advantage of a 3-yard punt by White's Suad Hopovac and quickly moved 30 yards in four plays. The final 15 yards coming on Turner's slant pass to Eric Chenault in the end zone for a 28-14 lead.

Two play later, defensive tackle Zach Attaway recovered a White fumble at the 16-yard line, and the Cats converted it into a 35-14 lead on a 10-yard TD pass from Turner to Keenan Clayton with 13 seconds left in the half.

"We made some mistakes on blocking schemes in the first quarter, but we got it together in the second period," said offensive guard Chris Berry as the offensive line that includes Jose Vargas, Cole Strawn, Jacob Jenkins and Wes Woods allowed just one sack against the athletic Longhorn defense. "They were doing a whole lot of twisting up front. They blitzed about every play.

"At halftime, we got focused and ready to finish the game."

The Cats stretched out their lead in the second half as Brandon Clayton scored his second TD of the game after blocking Hopovac's punt deep in WTW territory, then grabbing it at the 7-yard line and running it into the end zone for a 42-14 SSHS lead.

Keenan Clayton likewise got his second TD in the third period on a 4-yard run, and Rolaundo Wright finished out the scoring with a 16-yard TD catch on a fade route from Turner with 7:40 remaining in the game.

Wright was the team's top receiver with eight catches for 80 yards. Eight different receivers caught passes including Green (4-21), Josh Riley (3-28 receiving and 3-45 rushing) and Talon Askew (2-21).

There were several curious plays in the game, including a double fumble in the second period that netted the Wildcats about 20 yards, and an 85-yard TD run by White's Leon Patton in the third quarter in which an illegal block was called but the touchdown was allowed to stand and the penalty marked off on the ensuing kickoff.

The game lasted so long in part due to 13 penalties for 133 yards on White and nine flags for 105 yards on SSHS.

Middle linebacker Keidric Duffey and tackle Zach Attaway had seven tackles each to lead the team. Free safety Keenan Clayton and Barnes had six stops, while Harley Pier, Zach Reeves and Jared Ramey accounted for five tackles each. Ramey also had a pair of sacks, while Pier had one. Barnes, Mitchell Smith and Bryce Jackson each had a tackle for lost yardage.

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