Sea­son ends in Searcy

Li­ons 49, Pan­thers 42 Li­ons top Pan­thers in 49-42 shootout

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

SEARCY — Siloam Springs’ of­fense pro­duced a sea­son-high 505 yards of of­fense and the Pan­thers kept pace with Searcy’s high-oc­tane of­fense and even took a 4241 lead early in the fourth quar­ter.

But Searcy scored the go-ahead touch­down with 6 min­utes, 37 sec­onds re­main­ing and the Li­ons’ de­fense came up with stops on three more oc­ca­sions to de­feat Siloam Springs 49-42 Fri­day in the open­ing round of the Class 6A playoffs at Lion Sta­dium.

The Li­ons (9-2) ad­vance to this week’s 6A quar­ter­fi­nals at de­fend­ing state cham­pion Green­wood (9-1), while the Pan­thers’ sea­son ends at 5-6 un­der first-year coach Bran­don Craig.

It was Siloam Springs’ first play­off ap­pear­ance since the 2014 sea­son.

“It’s a tribute to our se­niors and their lead­er­ship and what they’ve done through­out the course of the summer and all the way through fall camp and ev­ery­thing they’ve been through,” Craig said. “We were down and could have eas­ily thrown in the towel, but they just kept fight­ing. We found a way to put some points up and keep pace for a lit­tle while, but we just ran out of gas in the end.”

Searcy took a 13-0 lead on big plays in both the run­ning game and pass­ing game be­fore Siloam Springs got on the board.

Lan­don El­lis threw a 13-yard touch­down pass to Jor­dan Ste­wart with 54 sec­onds left in the first quar­ter to bring the Pan­thers within 13-7, and for the next two quar­ters, the teams traded touch­down pos­ses­sions with Siloam Springs re­main­ing one score be­hind.

Kaiden Thrailkill ran for two touch­downs in the sec­ond quar­ter, in­clud­ing a score with four sec­onds left to cut the Searcy half­time lead to 34-28. Primo Ag­behi, who had his best game of the sea­son, also caught a 15-yard touch­down pass in the sec­ond quar­ter as well.

Searcy went up 41-28 to start the third quar­ter, but Siloam Springs kept coming.

With long runs from Thrailkill and El­lis, the Pan­thers cut the lead to 41-35 with Thrailkill’s third touch­down of the game.

Siloam Springs need a stop on de­fense and got it on their next pos­ses­sion when John­son Guthrie fum­bled deep in Siloam Springs ter­ri­tory and Corbin Collins re­cov­ered for Siloam Springs at the 9.

“It just takes one,” Craig said. “That’s what I told our kids. It just takes one stop to go get the lead and maybe turn the game dif­fer­ently. That was ob­vi­ously a big play for us, get­ting the turnover and get­ting the ball in the end zone and tak­ing the lead.”

El­lis then hit Ag­behi for a 32yard pass near mid­field and the Pan­thers crossed into Searcy ter­ri­tory head­ing into the fourth quar­ter.

El­lis ran for 14 yards to the 24 and then two plays later went for 20 yards up the mid­dle to give the Pan­thers a 42-41 lead.

Siloam Springs had a chance to force a turnover on downs on its next pos­ses­sion, but Searcy quar­ter­back Pey­ton Wright threw a 10-yard com­ple­tion to re­ceiver Tim Wil­liams on fourth-and-nine to keep a drive alive.

Wright hit Tan­ner Leonard for a 14-yard score with 6:37 left and then hit Dal­las Loftis for the two­point con­ver­sion as the Li­ons re­took the lead.

“Just wish we could have got­ten one more stop,” Craig said. “That’s all we needed. It was just one of those nights where we needed one more stop.”

Siloam Springs drove back into

Searcy 49, Siloam Springs 42

Siloam Springs 7 21 7 7 — 42

Searcy 20 14 7 8 — 49

First Quar­ter

Searcy — Young 78 run (Wright kick), 7:56.

Searcy — Leonard 39 pass from Wright (kick failed), 4:46. Siloam — Ste­wart 13 pass from El­lis (Westbrook kick), 0:54. Searcy — Young 38 run (Wright kick), 0:05.

Sec­ond Quar­ter

Siloam — Thrailkill 2 run (Westbrook kick), 6:50.

Searcy — Wil­liams 68 pass from Wright (Wright kick), 5:11. Siloam — Ag­behi 15 pass from El­lis (Westbrook kick), 2:58. Searcy — Wil­liams 7 pass from Wright (Wright kick), 1:53. Siloam — Thrailkill 1 run (West­book kick), 0:04.

Third Quar­ter

Searcy — Guthrie 1 run (Wright kick), 8:21.

Siloam — Thrailkill 8 run (Westbrook kick), 4:37.

Fourth Quar­ter

Siloam — El­lis 20 run (Westbrook kick), 9:49.

Searcy — Leonard 14 pass from Wright (Loftis pass from Wright), 6:37. Siloam Springs Searcy First Downs 27 21 Rushes-Yards 46-229 35-277

Pass­ing Yards 276 292 Comp-Att-Int 21-32-1 19-32-0 Punts 1-36 1-38

Fum­bles-Lost 2-1 1-1

Penal­ties-Yards 1-12 7-39

In­di­vid­ual Sta­tis­tics

Rush­ing — Siloam Springs, Thrailkill 32-137, El­lis 14-92. Searcy, Young 13-167, Guthrie 17-81, Wright 4-27, Leonard 1-2. Pass­ing — Siloam Springs, El­lis 21-32-1-276. Searcy, Wright, 19-32-0-292.

Re­ceiv­ing — Siloam Springs, Ag­behi 6-115, Pip­pin 8-90, Thrailkill 2-21, Broyles 2-19, Ste­wart 1-13, Criner 1-11, Weaver 1-7. Searcy, Wil­liams 12-196, Leonard 4-64, Loftis 2-30, Guthrie 1-2. Missed Field Goals — None.

Searcy ter­ri­tory but a fourth-an­deight pass to Gage Weaver was just inches short and the Pan­thers turned the ball over on downs.

Siloam Springs’ de­fense got the ball back and the Pan­thers be­gan to march again. But El­lis was in­ter­cepted by Chris­tian Del­gado in­side the red zone.

Searcy was able to run the clock down into the fi­nal sec­onds and punted to the Pan­thers, and Ag­behi re­turned it to the 42-yard line with three sec­onds left.

The Pan­thers had one fi­nal play and threw a pass to Spenser Pip­pin, who lat­eraled to Ag­behi who in turn lat­eraled to Thrailkill.

Thrailkill lat­eraled from there but the the Pan­thers were un­able to go any fur­ther and the Li­ons held on for the vic­tory.

“Maybe a lit­tle too stress­ful for ev­ery­one in­volved but it was a fun,” Searcy coach Mark Kel­ley said. “It was a fun foot­ball game for sure.”

Searcy fin­ished with 569 yards of of­fense, 277 on the ground and 292 in the air.

Tony Young rushed 13

times for 169 yards, in­clud­ing touch­down runs of 78 and 38 yards in the first quar­ter, but he left the game af­ter one carry in the third. Guthrie came in the sec­ond half and rushed 17 times for 81 yards in re­lief of Young.

Wright com­pleted 19 of 32 passes for 292 yards and four touch­downs. His fa­vorite tar­get was Wil­liams, who caught 12 passes for 196 yards. Leonard caught four passes for 64 yards.

The Pan­thers rushed for 229 yards and threw for 276.

Thrailkill crossed the 1,500-yard mark for the sea­son with 32 car­ries for 137 yards, giv­ing him a to­tal of 1,580 yards for the sea­son.

“He’s a spe­cial kid,” Craig said of Thrailkill. “Again a lot of credit to our of­fen­sive line, but he makes a lot of things hap­pen be­yond the line of scrim­mage. He runs tough. I think he’s got more than 230 car­ries, that’s a tribute to him get­ting his body in shape and ready to play foot­ball.”

El­lis com­pleted 21 of 32 passes for 276 yards, his best pass­ing game of the sea­son. Ag­behi caught six passes for 115 yards, while Pip­pin had eight catches for 90 yards.

“We def­i­nitely didn’t feel in con­trol be­cause Siloam did an amaz­ing job of mov­ing the foot­ball,” Kel­ley said. “Re­ally tough team. They did a great job.”

Craig said he was proud of the way the team com­peted and hopes to use this sea­son as a build­ing block for the fu­ture.

“First off I’m very proud of them, but our se­niors set the bar for the pro­gram,” he said. “They raised the stan­dard. They showed our kids how to com­pete. From here on out, we’ve got to con­tinue to move that bar up the lad­der if we want to see our pro­gram get bet­ter and bet­ter.”

Photo cour­tesy of the Searcy Daily Cit­i­zen

Siloam Springs se­nior Primo Ag­behi hauls in a 15-yard touch­down in the sec­ond quar­ter Fri­day night against Searcy. The Li­ons de­feated the Pan­thers 49-42 to end Siloam Springs’ sea­son.

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