SPORTS >>Another cardiac finish for Badgers
By JOHNNIE RAY LAKE
Special to the Leader
Beebe’s 21-20 win over Lonoke Friday night was so similar to last year’s win it’s eery. An 18yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jared Mathis to Robie Puckett on fourth down with less than two minutes left in the game lifted the Beebe Badgers over visiting Lonoke 21-20. Lonoke had a chance to seal the victory with an interception of Mathis with just under five minutes left in the game and Beebe at midfield. But on the very next play, Lonoke fumbled and Danny Miller recovered for the Badgers on their own 39.
Mathis then hit running back James Anderson for a 23-yard gain down to the Lonoke 43. Eight plays later on third and ten from the Lonoke 22, Mathis scrambled right to the 18. On fourth and 6, Mathis hit Robie Puckett over the middle for the deciding score.
Last year Lonoke took over on downs late in the game with the lead, but fumbled it away and gave up a late touchdown that lifted the Badgers to victory.
“Every game we play against Lonoke seems to come down the last play,” Beebe coach Cam Prock said.
The first quarter ended with Beebe up 7-0 on a 9-yard touchdown run by Robie Puckett. On the ensuing kickoff, Lonoke seemed to execute a triple reverse for a huge gain down to the Beebe 16-yard line. But a holding penalty brought it back to the Lonoke 44-yard line, and three plays later Alex Cash was intercepted and gave Beebe great field position at the Lonoke 25. Three plays later, Beebe returned the favor as Mathis was picked off by Alvin Farmer.
In the second quarter, an errant snap on a fourth down punt play led to a 12-yard punt which allowed Lonoke to begin their drive at midfield. On second down, Clarence Harris busted up the middle for a 40-yd gain down to the Beebe 1-yard line.
Wendall Scales ran it in on the next play, but Lonoke missed the first of two extra points which would come back to haunt them.
In the third quarter, with Beebe up one 7-6, Lonoke failed on fourth and 12 from the Beebe 28. On their first possession of the second half, Mathis fumbled on his own 45-yard line to give Lonoke good field position once again. Five plays later, Clarence Harris ran 30 yards down the left sideline for a score, and Cash ran in the two-point conversion to give Lonoke a seven point lead. With 1;24 left in the third quarter, Mathis ran in from nine yards out after reversing his direction on the left hash mark. The extra point tied the game going into the fourth 14-14.
On the second possession of the fourth quarter, Lonoke marched 76 yards on a nine-play drive capped by Cash scoring from six yards out with 6:10 left in the game. But once again, a missed extra point by Lonoke gave Beebe the opportunity to win as they scored and made the extra point for the victory.
Prock was pleased with the calmness of his quarterback in a pressure situation.
“Mathis showed poise and seemed relaxed,” Prock said.
Mathis finished with 289 yards, with 207 of those coming through the air. Beebe plays Villonia next week before heading into conference play.