Leader Blues

Monday, November 19, 2007

SPORTS >>Gravette runs away with win in playoffs

By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor

GRAVETTE – Lonoke had a punt blocked on its first possession, already trailing 7-0. One play and eight yards later, it was 14-0. A good drive stalled after a sack for a loss of 14 yards, and the Lions scored again. With 55 seconds left in the first quarter, it was 21-0 and all over but the crying.

Gravette added one more score before the half to make it 27-0, but the extra point was blocked, sending the game into intermission eight points shy of enacting the sportsmanship rule.

Gravette’s playmakers all season have been quarterback Ethan McKinzie, running back Teddy Selby and receiver Frankie Walburn, but on this night it was Travis Eden.

Eden scored two touchdowns and got three sacks in the first half.

The hosting Lions took the opening kickoff to their own 37, and needed just six plays to get the needed 63 yards for the score without even facing a third down.

The biggest play of the drive was a Teddy Selby run of 28 yards that put the ball on the Lonoke 21-yard line.

A pass from McKinzie to Eden put the ball on the 8, and Eden did the rest on the ground two plays later. The extra point made it 7-0 with 9:55 left in the opening frame.

Lonoke went three plays for four yards, and the punt was blocked by Jeremy Henry and covered by Lonoke’s Clarence Harris at the 8-yard line.

On the next play, Eden went eight yards again for the score. Richard McKee’s extra point made it 14-0 with 8:20 left in the quarter.

The Jackrabbits started on their own 24 on the ensuing drive, an rove to the Gravette 19, but Harris was sacked for a big loss on second down. Third down gained just two yards and a fourth-down pass was hurried and incomplete, giving the ball back to the Lions at the their 31.

Gravette then went that distance in eight plays and one Lonoke penalty. The Lions were faced with two third downs, but converted both. After the second one, a 2-yard push forward by Selby, McKinzie found Walburn in the end zone on first down from the 25.

The extra point made it 21-0 with 55 seconds left in the first quarter.

Lonoke went just seven yards on its next possession, but the defensive also held and forced a Gravette punt.

Rabbit running back Brandon Smith gave Lonoke some brief life with a 42-yard run to the Gravette 27. Three plays later, on fourth and 1, Lonoke appeared to get the first down, but the measurement showed it about a foot short.

Gravette then took over from a half yard past where Lonoke needed for the first, and from the 16-and-a-half yard line, Selby went 20 yards to the 36.

Two plays later, Walburn made a 2-yard reception. Michael Croasdell then went 29 yards on two carries. Selby then caught a screen pass for 23 yards, with a 10-yard penalty knocking 10 yards off the play. Two plays later on third and down, Selby found Zach Daily over the middle from the 12 for the score with 1:34 left in the half.

Lonoke made one last attempt at making a game of it at the start of the second half. The Jackrabbits drove to the Gravette 21, but failed to convert a fourth and 1 and gave it back to the Lions.

The Gravette offense picked up right where it left off, going 89 yards in eight plays, including an off-sides penalty on the Rabbits on fourth and 1.

After the penalty, Selby got loose for 21 yards to the Lonoke 24. McKinzie kept for seven and Selby did the rest. The extra point snap was fumbled, and Gravette led 33-0 with 5:55 left in the third.

Lonoke went four and out on its next possession and Gravette took over just 29 yards from the end zone. On the third play, McKinzie hit Walburn for 25 yards and the score to inact the sportsmanship rule.

The two team traded possessions with the clock running, and the Rabbits finally got on the board early in the fourth quarter.
The touchdown was set up by a screen pass to Harris for 50 yards to the 29. After a personal foul penalty on Gravette, Michael Howard scored from 10 yards out to make it 39-6.

After another stop, Lonoke was able to add another touchdown to the board. Harris picked up 50 yards on another short pass from Jacob Taylor. A few plays later Howard did the rest from 10 yards out. The two-point conversion was successful to set the final margin at 39-14.

Lonoke finishes the season 8-4 overall while Gravette improved to 9-2. The Lions will host Dardanelle next week in the quarterfinals.