I-30 Shootout: 292 yards rushing spearheads Wildcats victory
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Oct. 15, 2005 - Sulphur Springs and Mount Pleasant fans went to a football game Friday night and a track meet broke out.

In a wild shootout between two point-a-minute offenses that ran up and down the field, Sulphur Springs had a little more firepower to pull away from the Tigers, 56-42, at Gerald Prim Stadium.

The Wildcats improved to 2-0 in District 12-4A, 4-3 overall, with an important match-up next week at Greenville. Mount Pleasant dropped to 0-2, 2-5.

The teams combined for almost 1,200 yards of total offense, but as crazy as it sounds, it was the Wildcat defense that came through in the second half to stop Mount Pleasant on three straight possessions to allow the offense enough breathing room to put the game away.

The SSHS offense did it behind a near record-breaking performance from senior running back Chris Person, who carried the ball 30 times for 292 yards rushing and four touchdowns, the second-highest total in school history, and a 200-plus passing, 100-plus rushing performance from junior quarterback Logan Turner.

Mount Pleasant countered with 381-yard passing from senior Trevor Walker, whose 8-yard scoring pass to Kevin Cheatum gave the Tigers a 35-28 lead in the third quarter.

But, the Wildcats scored four straight touchdowns after that to put the game away.

After the first half ended with the two teams locked up in a 28-28 tie, SSHS head coach Brad Turner had a few words for the defense.

"I challenged them at halftime pretty good. I mean, I got after them pretty good, and they responded," Turner said. "I really didn't know what else to do. I thought we needed to challenge their manhood a little bit, and find a way to do something different, and they did it.

"The defense played better in the second half."

The offense played well all game. Person's 292 yards rushing are the second-best single game output in SSHS history, trailing only the 301 put up by John Edwards against Whitehouse in 1987. He scored on runs of 15, 4, 2 and 35 yards.

"The crowd got me going, my adrenalin was up, and the O-line stepped up and did their part, and the receivers did their part," Person said. "We just came together. 

"We were just going to mix it up, but the running game got going and we did a good job on that. We were able to mix the defense around."

Turner added 106 yards rushing on 15 carries, and completed 13-of-21 passes for 264 yards and two more TDs. Receivers Marc Crook and Josh Harrington both went over the 100-yard receiving mark.

It didn't take long for the game to get interesting.

On the Wildcats' first offensive play, Turner handed the ball to Josh Riley, who turned and pitched it back to the quarterback. Turner then completed the flea flicker with a 70-yard TD strike to Crook, who was streaking down the middle of the field. Crook, who came into the game with one reception, caught three passes for 109 yards.

Spenser Daniel booted the first of his eight PATs for a 7-0 SSHS lead just 12 seconds into the game.

"We don't have great speed at wide receiver, but we've got kids who can get behind you," Turner said. "I thought we threw the deep ball better than we've thrown it all year."

The Wildcats couldn't rest easy, though, because of MP running back Jamarri Aikins, Walker and his bevy of wide receivers. Every time Sulphur Springs scored in the first half, Mount Pleasant answered.

Aikins scored on a 1-yard run, then Person countered with a 15-yard TD. Walker completed a 21-yard scoring pass to Kevin Cheatum to tie the game at 14-14, then Person scored again on a 4-yard run.

Two plays later, Aikins' 48-yard touchdown scamper tied the game at 21-21. Mount Pleasant then took its first lead at 28-21 on Carliss Robinson's 54-yard bomb reception from Walker. But, the Wildcats tied the game at 28-28 on Person's 2-yard run with 26 seconds to go in the half.

Aikins ended the first half with 97 yards rushing on nine carries, but the Wildcat defense held him to just eight yards on three carries in the final two periods.

The Wildcat defense was also able to finally get pressure on Walker, who was sacked three times in the final two periods by Carlos Hernandez, Cole Strawn and Stephan Petty.

Mount Pleasant, though, scored on the opening possession of the second half on Cheatum's 8-yard reception to take a 35-28 lead.

The Wildcats responded with an 80-yard drive fueled by gains of 17 and 39 yards by receptions from Josh Riley and Harrington. The Cats tied the game on Harrington's 15-yard TD catch. He finished with four receptions for 110 yards.

It was then that the tone of the game started the change.

The Wildcats stopped MP on fourth-and-6 from the SS 42-yard line when Ivan Beard and Clay Wilks combined to tackle Cheatum a foot short of the first down marker. It was the first of three consecutive stops by the defense.

On the Wildcats' ensuing possession, Person culminated the 63-yard drive with a 35-yard run up the middle of the MP defense.

The Wildcats offense line of Jose Vargas, Lucas Garrison, Jacob Jenkins, Torrence Wright, Chris Alford and Travis Longino opened the way to 662 yards of total offense.

Ahead 42-35, the Wildcat defense came up with its most important play. After holding Mount Pleasant to three-and-out, Sulphur Springs lined up for a punt block. Wilks came through off the right side and blocked Robert Nixon's punt.

Jake Broumley picked up the loose ball at the 38-yard line and started returning it down the home sideline. He got inside the 10-yard line, then lost the handle on the ball, which was picked up by Tanner Higgins and ran into the end zone. It was the Wildcats' first return of any kind of a TD this season, and it gave them a 49-35 lead with 8:45 to play.

Sulphur Springs got the ball right back on a fumble forced by Strawn and recovered by Colt Hooten, and Turner made the Tigers pay with a 25-yard TD run on fourth-and-inches that put the Wildcats up, 56-35.

Broumley led the team in tackles with eight, while Petty had seven and Strawn, Colby Mills, Hernandez and Brittain Diamond had five stops each.

While the defense was making stops, Person ran for 118 yards in the fourth period alone.

'Mount Pleasant got a little tired in the fourth quarter, and our big boys wore on them pretty good, and Chris had a great night," Turner said. "I thought offensively we executed pretty well."

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