Wildcats dump tricky Pirates

By DON WALLACE, News-Telegram Sports Editor

Sept. 28, 2008 - LONGVIEW- It wasn't a blueprint for success in 13-4A, but it will work for now.

The Sulphur Springs got five touchdown passes from Tyrik Rollison as they scored a 51-27 win over Pine Tree Friday night.

The Wildcats, ranked No. 10 in the state, fell victim to several tricks played by the jolly Pirates.

But in the cream rose to the top and the Wildcats finished the game off with 14 unanswered points to put the game on ice and go 1-0 in district play.

"Pine Tree did a great job, they were prepared and more focused. We are fortunate to get a win," said Sulphur Springs head football coach Greg Owens. "We can't play at that level."

The coach was unhappy at the lack of focus by his team and how they seemed to play at the level of the 2-2 Pirates.

"We just did not play well... our tackling was awful, our defense was soft," Owens said. "On offense we got too cute and fancy and did not do what we need to be doing. We had more talent, we got enough points to win. Overall, it was not a great performance by us."

Rollison, the leading passer in the district, continued to play at a record-breaking pace. The 6-3 senior now has 19 TD passes in five games.

Ryan Young paced the Sulphur Springs running game with 198 yards on 16 carries scored twice on the ground and also caught three of Rollison's touchdown passes.

The game started with a strange development, which was quickly explained. Pine Tree won the opening coin toss, but deferred to the second half, giving the high-powered Sulphur Springs offense the ball to start the game. A curious move by Tim Russell, head coach of the Pine Tree Pirates.

The Pirates were crafty indeed, beginning the game with an onside kick which was recovered by Brenyon Henderson. The Pirates took over at the Sulphur Springs 31-yard line to begin the game.

Pine Tree was putting their keep away theory into practice as they began a ball control ground attack aimed at moving down the field and eating up the game clock. The Pirates used runs by quarterback Tyler Kids and running back Ray Horton to movedown the fake turf.

The Pirate drive stalled 10 plays later and a try for a 35-yard field goal by Jonathan Flores sailed wide. The Wildcats took over at their own 20 with 5:33 left in the opening period.

Sulphur Springs came out sputtering as Young slipped on the turf with no tackler around and Rollison threw three straight incompletions after starting the game with two short completions. The Wildcats had to punt the Colton Nash boot pinned the Pirates at their own 16.

The Sulphur Springs defense forced a punt after three plays only netted a yard for the Pirates. The Wildcats took over at the Pine Tree 28 with 1:03 left in the opening frame.

Young ran for a 10-yard gain. Then a delay of game penalty pushed the Wildcats back. Young came back with a spinning short run for eight yard followed by an 18 yard gain as the first quarter ended. Young ran for the goal and was knocked out at the 1-yard line. Rollison then had to deal with a bad snap from the shotgun spread formation and the Wildcats lost 18 yards.

On the next play, Sulphur Springs got it all back as Rollison threw a 19-yard scoring dart to Young for the first touchdown of the game. The extra point at the 11:15 mark by Fernando Arellano gave the Wildcats a 7-0 edge.

Pine Tree took over their next possession, driving from their own 28 to deep inside Wildcat territory. Horton ran for 35 yards and then Jacques Pollard slashed the Sulphur Springs defense for 25 yards. It appeared the Pirates were ready to tie the game, but on a third and 1 from the Sulphur Springs five-yard line, Kids' pass into the end zone was picked off by Bryant Jackson to end the threat.

The Wildcats then moved quickly down the field covering 80 yards in just three plays. First Young had a 53-yard gain on a nifty cutback run as he followed blocking for a huge gainer. A short pass from Rollison to Rashad Hall lost a yard. Then Rollison went back to Young, tossing a 27-yard scoring pass to the senior running back. Jace Jackson raced over for the two point conversion and Sulphur Springs was up 15-0 and the 28 point pick of the Wildcats by the Harris Rankings was looking accurate.

But the Pirates came storming back following a short kickoff by Sulphur Springs.

Pine Tree drove 62-yards in three plays. Personal foul calls on the Wildcats and coaches gave up a huge hunk of yardage to the Pirates. The scoring play was a 14-yard run by Horton as he dipped inside, then cut to the sidelines to score. Flores made the extra point to make it a 15-7 game with 7:04 left before the bands took the field.

A try at a second trick Pirate kick failed, giving the Wildcats good field position. Young slipped after a four-yard gain. Rollison was sacked and the Wildcats punted for the second time in the first half.

The upstart Pirates used a six-play drive to cover 56 yards and score again to the delight of the Pine Tree fans. The scoring play was a one-yard run by Benandre Wilson. The play was set up by a run of 20 yards by Flores on a fake punt.

The Pirates tried for a two point conversion and failed and Sulphur Springs held a 15-13 lead.

The game was much too close for the liking of the Wildcats or their coaches. Sulphur springs flexed its muscles with 15 points in the final 2:39 of the first half.

The next Sulphur Springs drive just took three plays. Rollison threw a 50-yard scoring bomb to Hall. Hall had broken free down the middle of the field, the senior receiver fell into the end zone as he nabbed the pigskin out of the night sky. Rollison tip-toed over for the two point conversion to make it a 23-13 lead.

The Pirates soon made a costly mistakes as a Pollard fumble bounced into the hands of the Wildcats at the Pine Tree 21-yard line.

From point blank range, Sulphur Springs only needed two plays to score. Rollison eluded heat and threw a 15-yard pass to Young for the touchdown. Rollison's pass traveled all the way across the field and he sprinted toward the visitor's sideline, then spotted Young on the opposite sideline for the scoring toss. The Arellano extra point kick at the 52 second mark gave the Wildcats a 30-13 lead they would take to the half.

The Pirates open the third quarter with a spirited 65-yard drive in 4:25 to get within striking distance. The touchdown was a 1-yard sneak by Kids set up by long runs by Pollard. The kick by Flores at the 7:35 mark of the third quarter allowed the Pirates to slice the Sulphur Springs lead down to 10 points, 37-27.

The Wildcats answered on their next possession. The squad drove from 85-yards for a score on eight plays. Rollison threw to Jackson for the 47-yard touchdown which capped the drive. The Arellano extra point was true and Sulphur Springs had a little breathing room up 37-20.

The Pirates did not know it was time to quit, so they didn't.

The Pine Tree team put together a scoring drive of their own, this time it took three plays to cover 58 yards. Demarcus Hart raced for for a huge gain. Then he covered the remaining yardage on a scoring run from five yards out. The Flores kick came with 4:01 left in the third period as the Pirates slipped back into contention, cutting the Sulphur Springs lead to 37-27 with 4:01 left in the third quarter.

Soon the Pirates had the ball back, the fourth quarter was almost over when Rollison had a pass picked off by Ryan Kulak. The Pirates took over at 20 with the interception coming in the end zone.

Pine Tree used 10 plays to move from their 20 to the Sulphur Springs' nine-yard line. Along the way the Pirates were called for delay of game and holding. The drive was halted by the Sulphur Springs defense when Kids was sacked by Kedrick Dial in a big time play to seal the game.

Sulphur Springs took over at the 26-yard line of the Pirates. Young then turned the Pirates on their heels as he sliced between defenders to cover the ground to the goal for a scoring run. The extra point gave the Wildcats a 44-27 lead.

The Wildcats ended the scoring with a 45-yard scoring drive. Young scored on a four-yard run to end the game and make it a 51-27 final.

The Wildcats will return home to face district co-leader Longview at 7:30 p.m. at Gerald Prim Stadium. The Lobos began district play with a 41-7 win over Texas High.

"We must play better than this. If we give the same kind of effort next week,we will get smoked," Owens warned.

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