Wildcats get to Sweet 16 in 7-on-7

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

July 14, 2008 - COLLEGE STATION - Sulphur Springs got into a shootout with Plano in the Sweet 16 round of the 7-on-7 state tournament on Saturday, but Plano had more bullets.

Sulphur Springs was one of only three Class 4A teams to make it to the final 16 in the Championship Bracket in the FSN 7-on-7 State Championship presented by adidas and Academy Sports and Outdoors. But, the Wildcats couldn't stop Plano's multi-faceted passing attack in a 70-51 loss at Penberthy Intramural Fields on the campus of Texas A&M University.

The Wildcats got an outstanding game from the combo of quarterback Tyrik Rollison and wide receiver Jace Jackson, who hooked up 17 times for 176 yards and two touchdowns. Rollison finished 32-of-39 in the passing department on his way to being named to the All-Tournament Team.

But, Plano quarterback Carson Meger completed 29-of-31 passes, leading his teammates to touchdowns on all seven possessions in the game.

Sulphur Springs only had one drive stalled - a bobbled pass ended up as an interception - but two potential scoring drives ended when time ran out in both the first and second halves.

Plano never trailed in the game, and though Sulphur Springs tied the score on its first two possessions - a 10-yard TD reception by Rashad Hall and a 45-yard bomb to Shane McQueen - Plano took the lead for good on the third possession. SSHS suffered an interception, but scored twice more in the half on a 45-yard catch by Ryan Young and a 2-yard TD by Ben Barrows.

Plano, though, had a 42-27 advantage at half, and the Wildcats could never get closer than nine points after that.

Jackson caught TDs of 5 and 10 yards, Anthony Mills grabbed a 3-yard touchdown, and Hall came up with a 14-yard score.

Hall finished with seven catches for 91 yards and Young had four grabs for 69 yards.

Wildcats 32, Austin High 26

The Wildcats scored on the final play of the game, a 1-yard TD completion from Rollison to Young, to edge the Maroons in the first round of the Championship Bracket.

Austin High scored on a 40-yard TD with about three minutes remaining to take a 26-25 advantage - only the Maroons' second lead of the game. The Wildcats then timed their drive perfectly, scoring with a few seconds remaining, then getting an Anthony Mills conversion as the horn sounded.

The Wildcats took a 12-0 lead after two possessions as Hall caught a 16-yard TD pass and Young scored the first of his three touchdowns on a 45-yard bomb down the middle. The SSHS defense also stepped up as cornerback Darrell Franklin broke up a fourth-down pass in the end zone to stop one Austin High drive.

Sulphur Springs went into halftime with an 18-13 lead after Shane McQueen's 2-yard TD reception. The lead reached 25-13 on Young's 1-yard TD catch on the Wildcats' first drive of the second half.

Rollison completed 18-of-25 in the game, with six of the passes going to Jackson for 96 yards. Hall and Garrett Ferguson each caught four passes.

Defensively, Dillon Verner and Jayden Wallace broke up a conversion pass, while Mills and Jake Spataro knocked down passes near the goal line to end another Austin High second-half drive.

Notes: Richland won the Class 5A-4A division with a 35-23 victory over Mesquite in the championship game played at Kyle Field. ... Sulphur Springs has advanced to the Championship Bracket twice in its four years at the state tournament.

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