Min­ers strong 2nd half leads to Show­down win

BAUX­ITE 28, HAR­MONY GROVE 7

The Saline Courier Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - By Josh Briggs [email protected]­ton­courier.com

BAUX­ITE — The Baux­ite Min­ers con­tin­ued their reign over ri­val Har­mony Grove on Fri­day, win­ning 28-7 in front of a packed house at The Pit while also cel­e­brat­ing home­com­ing.

En­gag­ing in the fourth an­nual Sa­line River Show­down, the win knots the over­all record be­tween the two at 2-2 as the Min­ers have won back-to-back matches against the Red­birds.

De­spite the fi­nal score, how­ever, the Min­ers had a tough time get­ting go­ing in Week 6, playing to an even 7-7 tie at the break.

“The first half, we were too hype and too emo­tional,” said Baux­ite Head Coach Daryl Pat­ton. “We have been do­ing a good job all year of playing with a lot of en­thu­si­asm, but our kids were prob­a­bly a lit­tle too amped. That is my fault for get­ting them that way. I didn’t do a very good job of call­ing plays. I’ll take the blame.”

Har­mony Grove struck first, scor­ing on a 1-yard run from Canyon Clifton with 2:02 re­main­ing in the first quar­ter.

The Car­di­nals scor­ing drive be­gan fol­low­ing a 50-yard in­ter­cep­tion re­turn from Clifton, one of three picks Har­mony Grove would force in the first half.

Af­ter caus­ing a punt on the Min­ers sec­ond drive, the Car­di­nals would quickly give the ball back via fum­bled snap, set­ting the Min­ers up at the Har­mony Grove 10. Baux­ite would tie the game two plays later as Lo­gan De­bord pow­ered in from 5 yards away to make it 7-7 with 10:37 to play in the half.

Nei­ther team would find the end zone again un­til the sec­ond half as Har­mony Grove was forced to punt three times on its re­main­ing drives while also fum­bling just be­fore half­time.

Baux­ite would turn the ball over twice and punt as well, leav­ing the scored tied at the break.

The sec­ond half, though, was all Baux­ite as it tacked on three more touch­downs, in­clud­ing an open­ing drive score capped with a 60-yard scam­per from quar­ter­back Con­ner Stacy to make it 14-7 Min­ers with 10:31 to tick in the third.

Fac­ing a fourth-and-8 later in the game, Stacy would con­vert with an 18-yard pass to Bray­lon Walker, set­ting up a 1-yard run from the quar­ter­back later on the drive. Baux­ite would lead 21-7 with 7:41 to play.

Look­ing for in­surance late, the Min­ers tacked on its fi­nal score of the game with a 20-yard scrum from Hay­den Ed­wards to make it 28-7 with un­der two min­utes to play.

“I thought the sec­ond half we played hard and phys­i­cal,” Pat­ton said. “To hold that team to seven points is huge. They do a great job over there. Proud of our of­fense and de­fense in that sec­ond half. Any­time you can win a home­com­ing vic­tory is big.”

In the past few games, Pat­ton has re­turned to more of a ground-and-pound of­fense, us­ing a plethora of run­ning backs.

On Fri­day, Baux­ite rushed for 262 yards with Stacy lead­ing the charge. The quar­ter­back would keep the rock 15 times, rush­ing for 112 yards on the night.

Fabian Tor­res fol­lowed with 66 yards on nine car­ries.

Stacy would fin­ish 3 for 10 for 26 yards and three in­ter­cep­tions.

“We want to be bal­anced,” Pat­ton said. “Tonight, Con­ner ob­vi­ously did not throw the ball well in the first half. The sec­ond half, he made a big-time throw to Bray­lon. That was a great rout when we needed it. We want to be bal­anced and take what they are giv­ing us. But, we also know the strength of our foot­ball team and that is those big kids up front. When it came down to the last few quar­ters, I thought our kids did a good job of be­ing phys­i­cal and own­ing the line of scrim­mage.”

Baux­ite stays perfect in 7-4A Con­fer­ence ac­tion, some­thing Pat­ton and com­pany is proud of.

“We are aw­fully happy to be 3-0 at the top of the con­fer­ence stand­ings,” he said. “We just try to take them one at a time and this should go a long way in clinch­ing a play­off berth. We want to come out next Fri­day night against a good Foun­tain

Lake team and fight, scratch and claw and find a way to win the ball game.”

Har­mony Grove slips to 1-2 in con­fer­ence play and will take on reign­ing state cham­pion Arkadelphi­a at Sykes Sta­dium in Haskell.

The Car­di­nals gained a to­tal of 132 yards in Week 6, led by Hay­den Hil­son with 43 yards and a score on 11 car­ries.

Quar­ter­back Hunter Wil­liams would be dropped for a sack four times in the loss.

Open­ing kick­off is set for 7 p.m. for both teams in Week 7.

GREG Davis/spe­cial to The Sa­line Courier

Baux­ite quar­ter­back Con­ner Stacy pre­pares to hand the ball off to run­ning back Lo­gan De­bord dur­ing Fri­day’s 28-7 win in the fourth an­nual Sa­line River Show­down over Har­mony Grove. Stacy rushed for 112 yards on 15 car­ries while scor­ing two touch­downs.

GREG Davis/spe­cial to The Sa­line Courier

Har­mony Grove run­ning back Jayce Harrison, 2, looks for a hole in the Baux­ite de­fense Fri­day as he gains yardage in a 28-7 loss.

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