Pirates walk the Plank

Wildcats whack Pirates,make homecoming dreams come true

By DON WALLACE, News-Telegram Sports Editor

Sept. 19, 2008 - The Pirates picked the wrong time to play Sulphur Springs.

The Wildcats came into the game with offense in high gear averaging 40 points and almost 500 yards a game, Friday was no different.

The Wildcats flexed their offense muscle again scoring more than 50 points as they rolled to a 56-21 rout of Mesquite Poteet.

It was a homecoming game which had something for everyone. For the undefeated Wildcats, they got to stay that way as they rolled to 4-0.

Because of the one-sided score, Sulphur Springs fans were able to visit with friends and old school chums without much worry about the outcome.

Sulphur Springs on walking and talking highlight reel - quarterback Tyrik Rollison was at it again. Rollison threw four touchdown passes and ran for two other tallies to spark his team as he was able to stand tall behind nice blocking by the offensive line.

Rollison threw 19 times and no of them hit the ground. Rollison completed 17 passes to Sulphur Springs backs and receivers for 336 yards and four scores. The other two passes were picked off by the Pirates.

"Good homecoming win, we didn't do everything we wanted to do and execute perfectly, but we had a good game," Wildcat head coach Greg Owens said. "It was a great win for us. We finished it off right in the second half. It was a great homecoming win, we stayed healthy. Everybody got in the ball game and homecoming is supposed to be like that. Every kid got to contribute."

The coach continued, "We had a couple of interceptions we really should not have had. We were trying to force some things. But that is a mistake we can fix."

The game started like it was going to be yet another scoring fest as the first 15 plays netted 29 points. Most put up by the hometown 'Cats.

Sulphur Springs flexed their defensive muscles early. After winning the opening coin toss, they deferred to the second half and let the Mesquite Poteet Pirates begin the game with the ball.

Four plays produced very little for the Pirates and forced the visitors to punt from near midfield.

The Wildcats then put together their opening drive moving down the field in six plays as they covered the 72 yards with a mixture of runs and passes.

Ryan Young ran for six yards then Rollison completed passes to Shane McQueen and Young for big gains down into Pirate territory, Rollison dropped back, with no pressure he surveyed the field, then tossed a seven-yard scoring pass to Jace Jackson. The extra point by Fernando Arellano gave the home team a quick 7-0 lead with 7:48 on the first quarter clock.

Again the Mesquite team was going nowhere fast as they lost two yards in three plays. A key play was a screen play which was sniffed out by the Sulphur Springs defense and shutdown for a loss. Following a punt by Jason Fowler, the Wildcats were ready to score again.

And they did.

This time it was Rollison directing a 76-yard scoring drive which only took four plays. The big chunk of yardage on the drive was a long completion from Rollison to Jackson. Jackson adjusted to the flight of the ball, turning in midair and falling backwards with a long catch despite being closely guarded by a Pirate defender. The touchdown came on a Rollison-to-Jackson connection, again, this time from 11 yards out. J.B. Beachem ran over for the two point conversion. With 5:33 left in the opening quarter, it was looking pretty simple for the Wildcats as they were up 15-0 and the stands were packed with avid fans dressed in their homecoming finery.

The Pirates proved they had not come to the game just to watch and soon had a drive of their own going. The key plays coming up the middle against the Wildcat defense. Senior running back Chris Bibins did all the work. First he ran for five yards, then got a first down with a 10-yard jaunt. Bibins closed the deal with a 53-yard run to paydirt and the first touchdown for the Pirates. Fowler's extra point made it a 15-7 game and 4:09 was still left in the opening frame.

Sulphur Springs decided to flash for the huge homecoming crowd more of their quick striking ability. The next drive took just three plays to cover 45 yards following a 51-yard return by Young.

The score for the Wildcats came when Rollison drew the defense in as they covered the run, but McQueen broke free and caught a 22-yard touchdown pass. The extra point by Arellano allowed the home team to regain some breathing room up 22-7.

It appeared the Pirates were ready to answer the Sulphur Springs score with one of their own. Mesquite Poteet used six plays to drive from their 20 to deep within Wildcat territory. Quarterback Courtland Crumby was flattened by Triston Crook forcing a fumble. The Wildcats jumped on the loose pigskin at their own 22-yard line.

The second quarter began with Sulphur Springs on the move again. Two Young runs netted 12 yards. A Rollison pass was called back by a holding play. Two plays later Rollison threw to the end zone in heavy traffic with Mesquite Poteet's Shakeem Taylor intercepting the ball at the 9:56 mark of the second quarter.

Sulphur Springs forced a punt then staged another drive. Disaster struck for the Wildcats with 7:05 left in the first half as Rollison threw a pick to Chase Rettig who had close coverage on a Wildcat receiver to end the scoring threat.

The Sulphur Springs defense bowed up and only allowed nine yards on three plays and forced another punt. A 21-yard return by Bryant Jackson gave the Wildcats excellent field position at their 44 with less than five minutes remaining in the first half.

Young ran for seven yards up the middle. Then a Rollison made an option pitch to Jackson for an 18-yard gain. Two plays later Young ended the drive with a two-yard scoring burst behind stellar blocking. The extra point was perfect and Sulphur Springs had a 29-7 lead.

Crumby, the sophomore speedster quarterback for Mesquite Poteet, tried to get something going. But like sophomore tend to do, he made a mistake. His ill-advised throw was picked by Bryant Jackson and the Wildcats called time out with two minutes left in the first half.

The hometown team just needed less than a minute with two Rollison passes moving the team near the goal line. Rollison capped the possession with a one-yard run. The extra point by Rodrigo Larios was true and the first half ended with Sulphur Springs in command with a 36-7 lead.

The Pirates proved the could be opportunistic. The visitors took advantage of a Sulphur Springs fumble and drove 35-yards in 10 plays. The Pirates got back on the scoreboard with 8:38 left in the third period when Bidins scoring on a two-yard run. Fowler's kick sliced the Sulphur Springs lead to 36-14.

Sulphur Springs went back to the drawing board and it only took their explosive offense six plays to cover 68 yards for another touchdown. This time Rollison let his feet do the talking. With all the receiving vacating one side of the field and taking defenders with them, Rollison slipped behind the flow and zipped on a cat-like feet 13-yards untouched to the end zone. The extra point gave the hometown team a 42-14 lead.

As if Mesquite Poteet needed something else to go wrong, it did, The Pirates were forced to punt after accumulating a minus seven yards on four plays. Kedrick Dial and Crook inflicting the hard hits on the Pirates.

Rollison closed out his night with a 40-yard scoring pass to McQueen. The extra point missed the mark, but it all was over but the crying as Sulphur Springs went up 49-14.

Johnny McSheffery and later Colton Lee took over quarterback duties for the Wildcats.

Action got a little sloppy as the teams exchanged fumbles. But they also exchanged late scores.

First the visitors got a short scoring run by Bibins to make it a 49-21 gave following his 14-yard run for a touchdown.

Sulphur Springs was trying to run out the clock, but Eddie Arciga was running to glory. He was ready to make to the most of his playing time as he took off down the sidelines for a 46-yard scoring jaunt in the final five seconds of the game.

Sulphur Springs went to 4-0 in district with the 56-21 victory.

"All this is good and everything with us starting 4-0, but the games really count with the start of district next week," Owens said. "We have to take care of our business, one game at a time. These are more important."

The Wildcats open District 13-4A play on the road Friday in Longview against Pine Tree.

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