Leader Blues

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

SPORTS >>Badgers control line, Falcons

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

The Badgers made sure that North Pulaski’s latest streak would end after only one game, downing the Falcons 34-7 Friday night at Bro Erwin Stadium during the second week of 5A-East Conference play.

Beebe racked up 421 yards of total offense on its way to a 5-0 mark, shutting out the Falcons until the final eight minutes of the contest.

A good first drive for North Pulaski ended on a big play by Beebe that gave the home team the momentum.

The Falcons’ first drive went 46 yards down to the Badger 4-yard line, where the Falcons opted to try for a 21-yard field goal attempt on fourth and goal. Beebe’s Josh Turner opted to block it, giving the Badgers the ball and the momentum that they kept for the remainder of the game.

Beebe ended up with more points than needed in the first half, with three touchdowns to go ahead 20-0 at the intermission, and would only add to that score in the final 16 minutes of the contest.

The start of the second half would lead to the fourth Beebe touchdown of the night on a 79-yard drive that was capped off with a 14-yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Charlie Spakes with 9:15 left in the third quarter. Spakes’ TD was set up by a 17-yard run by halfback Kyle Williams, and another scramble of 36 yards by Spakes.

Jerald Blair, who was a key component of NP’s win over Greene County Tech last week, tried to spark a rally for the Falcons once again this week with a 30-yard run on the ensuing drive. That would put the ball in Beebe territory, but Jo Barrick forced a fumble for the Badgers, and Josh Turner would recover.

Beebe would take that turnover and put the game away with a 75-yard drive that started on a 35-yard run by Chris Blundell and ended with an 11-yard touchdown dash by Joe Barrick with 5:11 left in the third quarter to make it 34-0 in favor of the Badgers.
The Falcons may not have made it two straight, but they refused to come back to Jacksonville empty handed. Arlando Hicks made the defensive play of the game for the Falcons when he recovered a Beebe fumble on the Badger 45-yard line. It only took three plays from there for quarterback A.J. Allen to find Daniel Thurman for a 42-yard touchdown pass with 8:38 left in the game. Melvin Tenner added the extra point, which set the final margin.

The Falcons actually put themselves in position to take the lead early in the game, when they forced the Badgers to punt on their opening possession and proceeded to move the ball 46 yards down to the Beebe 13-yard line. The Badger defense held North Pulaski to force a field goal attempt by Tenner, which was blocked by Turner.

Beebe took advantage of its next possession, taking the ball in for the score on the heels of fullback Blundell, who scored on a three-yard run with 7:00 left to go in the second quarter. Blundell also set up the score with a 34-yard run that took the ball deep into NP territory.

It would be Blundell on the next Beebe scoring drive as well. This time, it was a 62-yard touchdown run on forth and two with 6:38 left in the half to put the Badgers up by two scores.

The Badgers would score their next touchdown before the intermission through the air, with a 21-yard toss from Spakes to Turner for the score with 1:19 left in the second quarter. This would give Beebe a three-score lead at halftime, and would also prove to be too much deficit for the Falcons to recover.

Beebe finished the game with 421 yards of total offense, 392 yards of which come from the running game out of the patented full-house backfield. Blundell led offensively for the Badgers with 13 carries for 179 yards and two touchdowns. Spakes carried six times for 73 yards.

Beebe is now 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the 5A-East Conference. North Pulaski falls to 1-4 overall and 1-1 in the 5A-East. Beebe will take on Wynne on the road next week, while the Falcons host Batesville.