Wildcats return to their winning ways waxing Mount Pleasant

By DON WALLACE, News-Telegram Sports Editor

Oct. 26, 2008 - It was just like old times.

Well, at least it was just like the first five weeks of the year. Back when the Wildcats were scoring points in bunches and were undefeated.

The Wildcats shook off the rust from an open date, kicked the offense in gear and scored a 48-21 win over Mount Pleasant Friday night at Gerald Prim Stadium.

The win keeps Sulphur Springs in the playoff race with a 2-2 mark after four games in 13-4A action. Mount Pleasant took the loss and tumbled to 1-4 toward the basement of the district.

"We had a little bit of a slow start and they had a big run and all that. But it was better than the previous two games," said Greg Owens, Sulphur Springs head football coach. "We moved it up and down the field. We made some defensive plays when we had to. We played a whole game, we got after them. It was a good win for us."

The coach continued, "Mount Pleasant got an onside kick on us that gave them a lift. That little number 12 (Terrell Howard) is tough to catch and very shifty. But we made the plays to win it. We had some turnovers. Mount Pleasant could not move it on us through the air, except when they got some penalties. We hemmed them in when they tried to run and we stopped them pretty good all night."

In the early going, it was mistakes and turnovers by Sulphur Springs when gave the visitors momentum.

Rollison threw an early interception, his pass on the fourth play of the game was picked off byTevin Craddock, setting up theTigers near midfield. DeMarcus King ran for 17 yards and a first down. Howard picked up nothing on a keeper, then a penalty on Mount Pleasant for illegal shift gave the team more territory to cover. Roman Hurndon was tackled for a loss when he tried to run wide on the Wildcats. Howard threw to Dee Boyd for a gain down to the 33-yard line of the Wildcats. But on fourth and six, the Tigers were held out as Howard's pass fell incomplete. Mount Pleasant turned the ball over on downs.

Sulphur Springs took over at their own 33 with 8:54 left in the opening period. Rollison threw to Jace Jackson for a 12-yard gain. Rollison then rambled on a keeper from the 45-yard line down to the 14 of Mount Pleasant. Senior running back Ryan Young finished the possession with a nice cut back run for a 14-yard scoring jaunt. Fernando Arellano boomed the extra point and with 8:21 left in the first period the Wildcats were up 7-0.

Little did the Wildcats know, but the Tigers had scoring plans.

First, Kendrick Walker got Mount Pleasant going with a nine-yard run. Walker got three more yards on the next carry. Howard called his own number and fake the option and turned the corner on the Sulphur Springs defense and jetted 56 yards for a scoring run. The extra point by Carlos Martinez tied the game at 7-all with 6:53 remaining on the first quarter clock.

The Wildcats got the ball back following the kickoff and soon strung together a 61-yard scoring drive, fueled mainly by the feet of Rollison. Rollison ran for 29 yards. Young added a burst for eight more to the 21-yard like of Mount Pleasant. Rollison took the ball to the house on his next play as he used his 6-3 frame to negotiate through traffic and turn on the speed for a scoring run. Arellano's extra point at the 5:44 mark gave the home team a 14-7 lead.

Soon a special teams play would pay dividends for Sulphur Springs. After the Wildcat defense allowed just one yard on three plays, Mount Pleasant decided to punt. Anthony Mills slipped through Mount Pleasant defenders and blocked the punt with the ball downed at the one.

Young took the equivalent of a "gimme punt" with the ball in the shadow of the goal post and lunged in from one-yard out. The Arellano kick gave the Wildcats a 21-7 lead and still 4:21 was left in the opening stanza.

Mount Pleasant proved they had some spunk as they drove from their own 36 to the 36 of the Wildcats. Along the way the Tigers successfully pulled of a fake punt with Howard taking a direct snap in front of punter Dee Boyd and racing to five key yards. The Tigers saw their drive stall in Sulphur Springs territory. But the Tigers got the ball back two play later as Rollison threw a pick to King. Mount Pleasant was set up a the Wildcat 47 in the final seconds of the first period.

The second quarter continued successfully for the Tigers as they picked up big yards on a pass from Howard to Kendrick Walker. Mount Pleasant's second score of the game came from Howard's fleet feet on a three-yard run. Martinez kicked the pig between the post and the Sulphur Springs lead was reduced to 21-14 with 9:06 left in the first half.

LeMarcus Kendricks had a good return of the ensuing kickoff and the Wildcats set up their next drive from the 30. Young rambled for a 60-yard run as he followed blockers and used his speed to run to the 30 of the Tigers. Rollison completed the drive with a perfect scoring strike to Shane McQueen on a touchdown pass. Arellano's extra point put the Wildcats up 28-14.

The Wildcats were just warming up on offense and defense.

Big hits by Tyler Higginbotham, including a sack, forced a Mount Pleasant drive to sizzle and finally fizzle out at the 12-yard line. The WIldcats took over and soon started picking up big chunks of yards.

Rollison threw to McQueen for a 13-yard gain. Then he tossed to Rashad Hall for 15 additional yards.A short Young run, moved the chains.Rollison ran for a 15 yards and another first down. Young closed out the drive with a 13-yard scoring burst behind good line blocks as he scored at the 4;05 mark of the second period. Arellano added the extra point to make all the home fans happy with Sulphur Springs leading 35-14 and finally getting some breathing room on the Tigers.

The Wildcats cranked up the defensive pressure on Howard and his mates allowing just seven yards on three plays, forcing a punt.

Sulphur Springs took over at the Mount Pleasant 42 with 2:17 left in the opening half. Rollison threw a long bomb to McQueen to move into scoring territory. From the one-yard line, the Wildcats got another Young scoring run. The kick was no good, but the first half ended with the hometown 'Cats in control, leading 41-14.

The only scoring action in the second half, took place in the third period.

Mount Pleasant drove 64 yards in six plays, overcoming a holding penalty, to cap the scoring drive Howard ran the veer to perfection with a timely pitch to Walker for a big gain. Howard scored at the 7:43 mark on a one-yard quarterback sneak. The extra point sliced Sulphur Springs' lead down to three touchdowns, 41-21.

The visitors successfully executed an onside kick and took over a tthe 48 of the Wildcats. Mount Pleasant drove down to the 31 before the drive ended when a fourth down pass by Howard was incomplete.

Sulphur Springs flexed their muscles as Young took off for an 18-yard gain following pancake blocks and big running lanes. Young added runs of 10 and five yards to keep the drive going and the clock running. Rollison ended the drive throwing a 10-yard scoring pass to Jackson. Austin Brewer's extra point made it a 48-21 score in the final seconds of the third period.

The fourth quarter was time for reserves to get in action, for both teams, and the Wildcats were content to protect their lead.

Sulphur Springs took the win and closed out the game in the victory formation, taking a knee as the clock clicked off to triple zeroes.

"I think everything else in the district shook out like we thought it would. This was one game, we're taking them one at a time," Owens said. "One more game toward getting our goal."

The Wildcats play at Marshall Friday night before ending the regular season at home against Hallsville the following week.

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