Wildcat Notes: Kicker delivers big blow, saves Wildcats a touchdown

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Nov. 4, 2007 - It's not often that a kicker gets recognized for his hard hits, but the buzz Friday night was about the lick that Sulphur Springs senior kicker Oscar Marroquin laid on T-High retuner Brian Minnifield.

The hit occurred late in the first quarter after Sulphur Springs had taken a 14-7 lead.

Minnifield took the kickoff at his own 23-yard line and worked his way to the home sideline, he then reversed field to the far sideline and took off toward the south end zone. Minnifield appeared to be on his way to a touchdown when Marroquin zeroed in and hammered him at the SSHS 23-yard line.

Minnifield was down for a couple of minutes, and Marroquin had a trainer look at him when he returned to his sideline carrying his helmet.

Marroquin's tackle ended up saving Sulphur Springs seven points because the defense then held Texas High and forced a missed field goal.

Marroquin, by the way, is an All-District soccer player who before this year had not played football since middle school.

WHO'S IN, WHO'S OUT - With their win over T-High on Friday, the Wildcats clinched a playoff berth and will be the top seed in the Div. II (small school) bracket. Texas High had already clinched the Div. I playoff spot. The third team from District 11-4A will be either Mount Pleasant (5-4, 2-2) or Lindale (5-4, 2-2), which play each other on Friday. The winner will advance, the loser is out. North Lamar and Paris are both eliminated from any playoff possibility. ... Things are not so clear-cut in District 12-4A, which will be the first round opponents for 11-4A teams. Marshall, Whitehouse and Kilgore are all tied at 5-1, while Nacogdoches is at 4-2. This week, Nac plays at Whitehouse, while Kilgore plays at Marshall. The possible match-ups for Sulphur Springs will be examined in Monday's edition.

RETURN POLICY - Slade Heathcott's 76-yard kickoff return for a touchdown on Friday was the first scoring return of any kind that Sulphur Springs has given up this year. ... There was only one turnover in the game. A Texas High second-quarter fumble was recovered by SSHS free safety Bryant "Day Day" Jackson. ... The Wildcat offensive line of Beau Carpenter, Alex Peek, Colby Suggs, Dakota Graham, Jake Russell and Mason Y'Barbo allowed quarterback Tyrick Rollison to be sacked just once. ... Russell also got himself in the stat book when he picked up a Rollison fumble and ran with it. Alas, the play picked up zero yards.

LAST SECOND - Texas High tried to get into the end zone on the final play of the first half when quarterback Nathan Sorenson threw a Hail Mary to 6-3 wide receiver Cobi Hamilton, who caught the ball. Hamilton, though, was tackled by Sulphur Springs' Jackson at the 1-yard line. ... The last time Sulphur Springs beat Texas High was in 1998 by a score of 31-6. The last time Texas High lost a district game was in 2002, when Mount Pleasant won, 10-0. ... Texas High went on to win a state championship that season.

CATCHING UP - SSHS senior receiver Jeff Beck caught six more passes on Friday to give him 98 for his career. He is just six catches shy of the school record of 104 receptions by Josh Riley (2004-05). ... Sulphur Springs was hit with eight penalties for 65 yards, while Texas High had two flags for 10 yards. ... Junior Rashad Hall led SSHS rushers with 38 yards on five carries. He also caught five passes for 23 yards.

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