Leader Blues

Monday, September 10, 2007

SPORTS >>Beebe rolls at Lonoke

By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor

A disastrous first quarter never got any better for Lonoke, and Beebe was the benefactor as the Badgers hammered the Jackrabbits 32-7 Friday night at James B. Abraham Stadium in Lonoke.

The Jackrabbits fumbled the ball away on their first play of the game, but it was only the first of nine turnovers the team would commit.

Beebe coach John Shannon recognized that his team got the breaks, but was still pleased with the effort and improvement his team showed.

“We got lucky a few times when they dropped the ball,” Shannon said. “I was worried about their speed all week, but the defense did a great job for us. They flew to the football. They had that one big mistake when they scored, but overall I think the defense played outstanding.”

The first turnover came on the end of an 11-yard run by Brandon Smith when Smith fumbled and the Badgers covered at the 50-yard line.

Beebe lined up in the dead T and pushed the ball down the field, using nine plays to cover the distance and take a 6-0 lead. The first of five failed conversions followed, leaving the Badgers’ lead at six points.

Lonoke didn’t even get to snap the ball before committing its second turnover. This one came on a handoff attempt on the kickoff. It fell to the ground and Beebe’s Ethan Quick covered it at the Lonoke 20.

It only took Beebe fullback Sammy Williams two plays to pick up that distance, rumbling up the middle for the final seven yards for the score with 7:04 left in the first quarter. The two-point conversion was stuffed leaving it 12-0 Beebe.

Lonoke didn’t turn it over on its next possession. The Jackrabbits picked up four yards and punted on fourth and six, but the punt bounced off the up back and traveled backwards nine yards, where Beebe took over at the Lonoke 30.

The Badgers lost a yard on their next possession, but even when things went good for Lonoke, they went bad.

Beebe went for it on fourth and 11 from the 31. A deep pass was off the mark of its intended target and right to Rabbit defensive back Lance Jackson. Jackson picked off the pass and was tackled at the six, which turned out to be as good as a punt for the Badgers.

Lonoke gained just two yards and was forced to punt when disaster struck again. A high snap out of the back of the end zone went for a safety and gave Beebe a 14-0 lead with 2:18 left in the opening quarter.

Beebe took the ensuing kickoff all the way to the Lonoke 36, where it began its third scoring drive. The big play of the drive was a 24-yard option keeper by quarterback Charlie Spakes on fourth and nine. Beebe faced fourth down again on the next set of downs, but scored on fourth and four from the 5-yard line. Sammy Williams again punched it in and the extra point was no good, giving Beebe a 20-0 lead with 10:31 left in the half.

Lonoke went three and out again, and got a big 56-yard punt by Elam that pinned the Badgers on their own 1-yard line. They made it out to the 24 before a bad option pitch on third down lost 12 yards and left Beebe with fourth and 19.

Lonoke got a good run back and started on the Badger 34. Three plays left fourth and seven, and another high snap busted the fourth-down attempt, and Beebe took over on its own 30.

The Badgers again went three and out and punted back to Lonoke, who finally got something going offensively. After an 8-yard run by Clarence Harris on first down, Elam hooked up with wide receiver Michael Howard for 61 yards and a touchdown. The play worked to perfection, with Howard beating the Badger defensive backs deep, and Elams pass hitting him in stride for the easy score. The extra point was good and got Lonoke back into the game with 1:46 left in the half.

Beebe threatened the nullify the score and steal the momentum when a 40-yard reception by James Anderson gave Beebe first and goal at the 4-yard line with 16 seconds left. Spakes then fumbled when he was pressured out of the pocket. The Badgers covered the fumble, but had no timeouts left to stop the clock before time expired.

Somehow, things got worse for Lonoke in the second half. Until their final possession began with 2:23 left in the game, the Jackrabbits had almost as many turnovers in the second half as they had snaps. There five turnovers to six snaps to that point. There was also a mental lapse that was just as bad as a turnover when no one covered a short kickoff.

Beebe went three and out to start the half, but Lonoke mishandled the punt and Beebe covered at the Lonoke 3. Three plays later, Kyle Williams scored to give Beebe a 26-7 lead.

The Jackrabbits then watched as a high sideline kick landed amidst a slew of purple jerseys, and Beebe covered at the Lonoke 37.

It took the Badgers 12 plays to cover the short distance. Sammy Williams ended the drive with his third touchdown of the night to set the final margin.

Lonoke did not snap the ball in the second half until only 58 seconds remained in the third quarter. The first snap was an interception by Josh Turner. The fourth snap was an interception by Roger Glaude. The fifth snap was an interception by Brandon Purcell, and the sixth snap of the half was over Elam’s head and recovered by Beebe’s Dillon Jones.

The Badgers converted only one first down off all four turnovers, and fumbled it back to Lonoke twice.

Again, it took until the final drive of the half for Lonoke to see any positive yardage. Smith picked up 26 yards on two carries. Morgan Linton caught a pass for a 15-yard gain and Harris got 11 yards on one carry before time expired.
Beebe capitalized on the first two to set the final margin with 1:06 left in the third quarter.

Beebe totaled 281 yards while Lonoke gained 111.

Badger fullback Sammy Williams carried 29 times for 104 yards and three touchdowns. The two teams combined for 11 turnovers, with the Jackrabbits committing eight. Beebe ran 75 plays to just 31 for Lonoke. The Badgers held the ball for
The 2-0 Badgers will host Vilonia next week while Lonoke visits North Pulaski.