Third down and long? No problem for the Cats on Friday

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

Sept. 15, 2007 - -Third-down conversions told the story of the Wildcats' 56-25 win over Denison.

Sulphur Springs was successful on eight-of-11 third-down tries, while Denison made just four-of-13. The Yellowjackets were good on just two of their first 11 conversion attempts before making their final two third-down tries late in the fourth quarter.

What made the Wildcat offensive efficiency even more impressive is that seven of the third-down conversions came when SSHS needed seven or more yards to get a first down.

RUNNING OF THE BULLS - Defensive lineman Rodney Evans, one of the "Bulls" in the Wildcats' short-yardage package, picked up a two-point conversion on a direct snap after the Wildcats' third TD. The other conversions came courtesy of the legs of Oscar Marroquin (five PATs) and J.D. Cruz (one PAT). ... The Wildcats had six sacks, three by Tyler Francis and one each by Colton Nash and Evans. ... Chris Thompson caught two passes, both for touchdowns. ... Denison sophomore running back D.J. Jones finished the game with 142 yards rushing on 22 carries.

SPREADING IT AROUND - Eight different players carried the ball for the Wildcats, led by 83 yards rushing by sophomore Shane McQueen. Junior Quentin Long gained 30 yards on 10 totes. ... The Wildcats attempted just three passes in the second half, and quarterback Tyrick Rollison was 2-of-3 for 77 yards. ... Sulphur Springs forced Denison to punt five times. ... The Wildcats came up with three turnovers (interceptions by Johnny McSheffery and Dalton Abner and a fumble recovery by Dillon Verner), and had a sacked punter and a blocked punt (both by Tyler Francis), which are both as effective as turnovers.

AROUND THE DISTRICT - Three of the District 11-4A teams won, while three lost on Friday. Along with the Wildcats, other winners were Mount Pleasant (28-27 over Hallsville) and Lindale (48-28 over Van). Texas High fell to Shreveport Evangel, 26-13, Paris lost to Little Elm 24-17, and North Lamar was upset by Class 2A New Boston, 14-10. All three losing teams played at home. ... SSHS senior Olivia Stribling was crowned homecoming queen, while Kelsey Evans and Luz Hernandez were voted princesses.

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