Gravette rolls over Lin­coln, 40-7, in con­fer­ence opener

Westside Eagle-Observer - - SPORTS - By Alex Nicoll

GRAVETTE — Coach Bill Har­rel­son summed up his team’s win over the Lin­coln Wolves in one of the most ac­cu­rate ways pos­si­ble.

“It was a total per­for­mance,” he said.

The Lions pounded Lin­coln with the run game, rush­ing for over 350 yards, and sti­fled a pass-happy Wolves of­fense dur­ing Gravette’s 40-7 win Fri­day night in the 4A-1 Con­fer­ence opener for both teams at Lions Sta­dium.

Be­hind Gravette’s po­tent of­fense was run­ning back Austin O’Brien. The se­nior broke off runs of 7, 29, 41, 53 and 61 yards on his way to a game-high five touch­downs.

Lin­coln coach Don Har­ri­son said the goal was to con­tain O’Brien, but the Wolves strug­gled to bring him down in open space, which is where he did most of his dam­age.

Gravette (2-2, 1-0) quar­ter­back Ta­jae White ac­counted for most of the team’s rush­ing yards af­ter O’Brien, while also chip­ping in 58 yards pass­ing. Hav­ing play­mak­ers on the field playing at their peak per­for­mance was ex­cit­ing to see for Har­rel­son, es­pe­cially go­ing into next week’s matchup against un­de­feated Prairie Grove, he said.

“When they’re go­ing full tilt and our of­fen­sive line

is com­ing off the ball like they were tonight — I’m sure Austin had over 200 yards rush­ing — we threw for sev­eral yards be­fore we quit throw­ing, and Ta­jae and Brady Moor­man made plays in the re­ceiv­ing game,” Har­rel­son said. “Those guys give us a chance ev­ery night.”

The Lions’ de­fense held the Wolves to 178 yards of total of­fense, forced two fum­bles, picked off two passes and recorded four sacks.

“De­fen­sively, we shut them down pretty much the whole night,” Har­rel­son said. “I’m proud of the way our de­fense played. I thought our de­fen­sive line just dom­i­nated the game.”

De­fen­sive line­man Bai­ley Soulé and the rest of the line pres­sured the Wolves all night and made key plays on third and fourth down, in­clud­ing Soulé’s sack in the sec­ond quar­ter that forced Lin­coln to punt, which set up a touch­down drive for Gravette.

Lin­coln (1-3, 0-1) was forced to play three new de­fend­ers in the game, which has fit the nar­ra­tive of the Wolves playing banged-up this sea­son. Har­ri­son said he had mul­ti­ple play­ers playing dif­fer­ent po­si­tions tonight due to in­juries.

“When you only got 36 guys on a team and you got three de­fen­sive starters that go down, you’re mov­ing one kid here and putting an­other kid there,” Har­ri­son said. “It re­ally caught up to us in the first and sec­ond quar­ter.”

Photo by Randy Moll

Gravette quar­ter­back Ta­jae White looks for an open­ing in the Lin­coln de­fense dur­ing play be­tween the two teams in Gravette on Sept. 22.

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