Cy­clones storm back

■ The Panthers lost 30-16 on se­nior night.

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - SPORTS - By Gra­ham Thomas Staff Writer gth­omas@nwadg.com ■

Rus­sel­lville earned the No. 3 seed out of the 6A-West Con­fer­ence by weath­er­ing the storm and show­ing plenty of re­solve.

The Cy­clones ral­lied from an early 10-0 hole to storm back and spoil Siloam Springs’ se­nior night with a 30-16 win at Pan­ther Sta­dium.

“Weather the storm,” said Rus­sel­lville coach Jeff Weaver. “We talked all week about ‘fin­ish.’ That was our theme all week long. Late in the year, fin­ish ev­ery rep, ev­ery play, ev­ery drive. I just told them, I wasn’t thrilled about the way we started the game but man did we ever fin­ish it from the sec­ond quar­ter on.”

The Cy­clones (7-3, 5-2) will now host Syl­van Hills next week in the open­ing round of the Class 6A play­offs, while Siloam Springs (5-5, 3-4) will be the fifth seed and travel to Searcy.

Af­ter be­ing held to just 37 yards of of­fense in the first quar­ter, the Cy­clones ex­ploded in the sec­ond quar­ter for 215 yards and three scores to take a 17-10 half­time lead.

Rus­sel­lville’s Jaidon Palmer got loose on a sweep for a 43yard touch­down run to make it 10-7 and Aaron Wil­liams turned a short pass into a 54yard touch­down.

Wes­ley Robin­son booted a 41-yard field goal as time ex­pired in the first half to put the Cy­clones up 17-10.

A long kick­off re­turn by Palmer set up an­other Robin­son field goal on the open­ing drive of the third quar­ter for a 20-10 lead.

Siloam Springs looked to an­swer and drove in­side the red zone, but Lan­don El­lis’ pass was in­ter­cepted by Johnny Bucher to snuff out the drive.

The Cy­clones got a third field goal from Robin­son to go up 23-10 and added a touch­down run by Daniel Espinoza mid­way through the fourth quar­ter for a 3010 ad­van­tage.

Kaiden Thrailkill scored a touch­down for the Panthers in the fourth quar­ter, but it was too lit­tle too late for Siloam Springs.

The Panthers scored on their open­ing pos­ses­sion of the game on a 14-yard run by Lan­don El­lis, which was set up by his 40-yard pass to Primo Ag­behi.

Siloam Springs made it into the red zone three more times in the first half and only came away with three points.

“I think we had four trips to the red zone, and I think we only had 10 points,” Siloam Springs coach Bran­don Craig said. “That’s some­thing you can’t do. We missed tack­les in space, which No. 7 (Palmer) is a very spe­cial player. He is a kid I watched all week on film, and he does things that high school kids don’t do. He never gives up on a route. He al­ways keeps work­ing. Al­ways finds a way to get open. and he did that tonight and he made us look bad at times, and there’s no way around that.”

Palmer caught eight passes for 113 yards and ran for 59 yards on six car­ries. Rus­sel­lville quar­ter­back Rhett Ad­kins com­pleted 18 of 25 passes for 267 yards and he also caught 30-yard pass which set up a Rus­sel­lville field goal. The Cy­clones had 395 yards of to­tal of­fense.

The Panthers fin­ished with 334 yards of of­fense. Thrailkill had 28 car­ries for 143 yards, while El­lis com­pleted 12 of 21 passes for 154 yards and rushed 10 times for 37 yards.

Bud Sullins/Spe­cial to Siloam Sun­day

Rus­sel­lville safety Johnny Bucher, right, steps in front of Siloam Springs se­nior Spenser Pip­pin for an in­ter­cep­tion to snuff out a po­ten­tial Panthers scor­ing drive on Fri­day at Pan­ther Sta­dium.

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