‘Hawks bounce Bob­cats

The Times (Northeast Benton County) - - FRONT PAGE - JOHN MCGEE

The Black­hawk of­fense gave their op­po­nent some new looks on of­fense, and the re­sults were the same as Pea Ridge mercy ruled Ber­ryville in a 35-0 shutout vic­tory last week.

“We didn’t come into this game any dif­fer­ently than we did last week against Prairie Grove,” head coach Stephen Neal said.

“We al­ways make our fo­cus to be upon pre­par­ing our­selves to do what we can do. We are about get­ting bet­ter each week.”

The ’Hawks’ Jakota Sains­bury put up 15 passes in the open­ing quar­ter, com­plet­ing 10 of them. The se­nior field gen­eral even­tu­ally com­pleted 15 of 24 passes for 128 yards and a pair of touch­downs, both of them to Jor­dan Witcher.

Tail­back Drew Winn only car­ried 14 times, but av­er­aged more than 10 yards a carry as he piled up 161 yards on the ground. Winn’s ef­forts put him over the 1,500 mark for the sea­son, av­er­ag­ing 190 yards per game.

The ’Hawks won the toss to re­ceive the open­ing kick­off, and what has be­come the cus­tom of dis­trict op­po­nents this sea­son, the kick was short, al­low­ing the ’Hawks to take over at their own 44. Op­pos­ing teams have cho­sen to avoid giv­ing fleet re­turn men Winn, Witcher and Hay­den Holt­grewe the chance to run a kick back which has served to give the ’Hawks a short field.

The ’Hawks be­gan the game by driv­ing down the field on the strength of 7-, 14- and 5-yard passes to Pey­ton Gal­braith, Bradley Wright and Witcher to get to the ’Cat 25. Tight­en­ing pass de­fense forced a turnover on downs, and on the Bob­cats’s sec­ond of­fen­sive play, Ber­ryville’s Archer broke through for a 23-yard run to ’Hawk ter­ri­tory. Un­for­tu­nately for the hosts, their next three runs net­ted but a yard per carry, forc­ing a Bob­cat punt. Holt­grewe gath­ered in the punt at the 5, then raced, spun, out manuev­ered, then out­ran the de­fense to score on a 95-yard re­turn. With 6:29 on the clock, Evan Green drilled the point af­ter for a 7-0 Pea Ridge lead.

Black­hawk de­fend­ers locked down the next Bob­cat se­ries, al­low­ing no yards on three car­ries. The sub­se­quent punt set the ’Hawks up on the Pea Ridge 31. A first down pass from Sains­bury to Holt­grewe net­ted 10 yards and a new set of downs. An 8-yarder from Sains­bury to Bray­den Ralph then put the ’Hawks on the mid­field stripe.

Winn’s num­ber was called twice in suc­ces­sion with the tail­back gain­ing 7 then 9 yards for a first down on the Ber­ryville 34. Wright then caught a pass for 9 yards, fol­lowed by a 5-yard catch by Witcher. Wright caught an­other for 6 yards, with Witcher nearly scor­ing on the next play, gain­ing 17 yards be­fore be­ing brought down on the Bob­cat 1. Trevor Henry burst up the mid­dle on the next play for the score with 0:39 left in the quar­ter. Green’s sec­ond kick gave the ’Hawks a 14-0 ad­van­tage.

The ’Hawk de­fense picked up where it left off, hold­ing their hosts to but a sin­gle yard in three plays. Ber­ryville’s de­sire to not let a ’Hawk run back a punt al­lowed the Bob­cat kicker punt one to side­line coach John King.

Start­ing at the Bob­cat 47, the ’Hawks went to Winn who picked up 27 yards to­tal on four car­ries to the Ber­ryville 20. Dis­as­ter struck two plays later, how­ever, when a Black­hawk fum­ble turned the ball over to Ber­ryville on their own 17-yard line. The Cats could not es­cape their end of the field though, as three runs by Ber­ryville ball car­ri­ers net­ted but a sin­gle yard again. The en­su­ing punt went six rows deep in the visi­tors bleach­ers, giv­ing Pea Ridge ex­cel­lent field po­si­tion on the Bob­cat 28.

Winn nearly broke through on a 7-yard run, and the ’Hawks would score on the next play. Ber­ryville did a good job cov­er­ing the pri­mary re­ceivers, and af­ter a scram­ble, Sains­bury spot­ted Witcher who broke away enough to catch a pass and run it into the end zone. Green kicked the PAT through and the ’Hawks were com­fort­ably ahead 21-0 with 6:57 left in the half.

With more and more Black­hawk play­ers en­ter­ing the fray, Ber­ryville fi­nally got some trac­tion in their of­fense, be­hind the run­ning of Smith and Archer. They com­bined for 36 yards, mov­ing the ball into Black­hawk ter­ri­tory at the 33. Tack­les for losses by Jack­son Till­man and Tristin Brewer proved to be the clods in the churn that de­railed the drive, with the ’Hawks get­ting the ball back af­ter stop­ping a fourth down play.

The ’Hawks got 20 quick yards from Winn on two car­ries, but could go no fur­ther, turn­ing the ball back over on downs on the Bob­cat 44. Ber­ryville then got as close to the goal line as they had been up to that point, mov­ing to the 26-yard line. How­ever, Brewer blew up the march, tack­ling the quar­ter­back for a 5-yard loss just be­fore in­ter­mis­sion to ex­tin­guish the threat.

Ber­ryville had the ball to start the sec­ond half, and mounted a mild threat mov­ing to the ’Hawk 38 where they faced a fourth and 2. Brewer nailed Brown, the Cat run­ning back, for a 2-yard loss to get the ball back to Pea Ridge.

It would take Pea Ridge just two plays and 24 sec­onds to ex­pand the lead. Winn ran right on first down, spin­ning past, dart­ing by and run­ning over de­fend­ers un­til he was fi­nally stopped 38 yards later at the Bob­cat 22. Winn, the state’s lead­ing scorer, then bolted into the end zone on the next play ith 7:16 left in the third pe­riod. Green was again ac­cu­rate and the ’Hawks led 28-0.

Car­son Rhine then ad­min­is­tered the coup-de-grace, swip­ing a Ber­ryville ball on their third play fol­low­ing the kick­off. Winn picked up 3 yards on a rush and then picked up 7 more on a short

pass from Sains­bury. Winn ex­ploded for 22 ad­di­tional yards to give the ’Hawks a first down on the Ber­ryville 20. Sains­bury picked up the next 10 yards to a pass to Wright, then went the rest of the way on a 10-yard pass to Witcher. Green’s kick ac­ti­vated the Mercy Rule, as Pea Ridge as­sumed a 35-0 lead with 3:45 left in the third quar­ter.

The fourth quar­ter moved to a con­clu­sion fairly quickly with nei­ther side mov­ing past the mid-field stripe. The loss dropped Ber­ryville to a 1-7 mark, math­e­mat­i­cally elim­i­nat­ing them for a play­off spot. The ’Hawks saw their stan­dard rise to 8-0 with games left against Huntsville and Shiloh to fin­ish the reg­u­lar sea­son. Cur­rently the holder of the No. 1 play­off seed, the ’Hawks will de­fend that po­si­tion in the last reg­u­lar sea­son home game next week in Black­hawk Sta­dium.

Seven dif­fer­ent Black­hawks had re­cep­tions for the ’Hawks, a sea­son’s high. The re­ceiv­ing corps was led by Witcher and Wright’s five catches each with Holt­grewe hav­ing three re­cep­tions. Witcher led the way in re­ceiv­ing yardage with 58 yards.

De­fen­sively, Tristin Brewer led the way with 12 tack­les fol­lowed by Mike Mahoney with nine and Jack­son Till­man and Adam Tram­mel tied with seven stops each.

Pho­to­graphs courtesy of Stephanie Har­well

Black­hawk sopho­more No. 35 Hunter Rains plowed through Bob­cat de­fend­ers Fri­day night in Ber­ryville. Be­low, Black­hawk se­nior No. 81 Ryan Shep­pard car­ried the ball to gain yards for the team.

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