SPORTS >>Beebe wins in shut out
Leader football writer
There is a sense of excitement building in Beebe. And you have to look no further than the head coach to see it.
The Beebe Badgers defeated the visiting Panthers of Greenbriar Friday night 21-0 under new head coach John Shannon. The new dead- T offense implemented by Shannon may have been the topic of discussion since spring, but it was the Badger defense that claimed the spotlight in the Badger’s home opener.
The Badger defense held the Panthers to 89 total yards, including five sacks, in recording the shutout. The Panthers rushed 28 times for a total of 21 net yards. Beebe also kept the Panther passing game in check by allowing only eight completions out of 26 attempts, with most of those coming in the second half as Greenbriar tried to make a comeback.
“It was a win, but an ugly win,” Shannon said shortly after the game. “But a win is a win, and it feels great to start the season this way.”
The offense did their part as well, as the Badgers went into the locker room at halftime with the lead. A seven-yard touchdown pass form senior quarterback Charlie Spakes to Josh Turner on fourth down with 56 seconds remaining in the first half gave the Badgers a 14-0 cushion just before the half.
On fourth and eight from the Panther 13 yard line, Shannon chose to go for the touchdown rather than attempt a field goal. Spakes found Turner open in the right corner of the end zone to put the Badgers up 7-0 in the second quarter.
“We feel converting fourth and short situations is much better than giving the opposing team the ball,” Shannon said. “We didn’t go for any in the second half because we were pinned up pretty deep on our side of the field.” The offense converted 5 of 5 fourth down conversions in the first half, scoring touchdowns on two of them
The Panther opened the game with a long drive down to the Badger 18-yard line, but a missed 35-yard field goal gabe possesion to Beebe. The Badgers responded with their own clock-killing drive in which they drove 82 yards in just under eight minutes to put the first points on the board in the second quarter. Beebe converted two first down conversions to sustain the long drive.
A fumble on the opening drive in the second half by Beebe gave the Panthers good field position and a chance to get back in the game. But the Badger defense forced an incomplete pass on fourth and five, and the offense took over on their own 33-yard line.
After a fumble on the ensuing possession, Greenbrier again had good field position near midfield. But on fourth and goal from the Badger 14, the defense came through again by forcing the Panthers to come up short on a run up the middle. The Panthers were unsuccessful in three fourth down attempts for the game.
With just over two minutes left in the fourth quarter, Beebe put the game away on a one-yd run by running back James Anderson, giving the Badgers a 21-0 shutout victory.
Running back Sammy Williams led all rushers with 161 yards on 18 carries. Spakes was 4-8 passing with 64 yards and two touchdowns, both to Turner. The Badgers gained 198 total yards for the game, and would have had more if not for six untimely penalties; one which negated a 25-yard run by James Anderson.
“This first win feels great,” said Shannon. “Our defense played great, and we will study the film this week to see what areas we can work to improve on offensively and defensively”. “We definitely need to cut down on our turnovers and penalties,” he added.
Shannon and the Badgers travel to Lonoke next week to take on the Lonoke Jackrabbits, who lost a last-second heartbreaker to Hot Springs 36-35.