Leader Blues

Saturday, September 20, 2008

SPORTS>>Fumble dashes Badger hopes

By RAY BENTON
For The Leader

From the outset, it looked like a game in which the first team to flinch loses. That turned out to be Beebe, as the Badgers fell 19-14 at Vilonia Friday night.

Neither team had committed a turnover and Beebe was guilty one 5-yard penalty, it had otherwise been a mistake-free game.

That changed when the Badgers fumbled the ball away with 5:47 left in the game. It proved to be the last play Beebe would run, as Vilonia converted three third downs to retain possession and run out the clock.

“We knew it was going to come down to whoever had the ball last,” Beebe coach John Shannon said. “We felt good about where we were. We were moving the ball well on that drive and just had that one costly fumble.”

The Eagles took the lead with 8:53 left in the game on a 12-play, 62-yard drive capped by a 6-yard sweep to Kory Howard.

Leading by just five, Vilonia attempted a two-point conversion, but was stuffed at the line of scrimmage by the Badger defense.

Beebe started its last drive at its own 28, and went 34 yards on just six plays before and fullback Sammy Williams and quarterback Roger Glaude flubbed the handoff. Eagle linebacker Ross Estes fell on the loose ball to give his team possession.

Beebe took the opening kickoff and marched 75 yards on 13 plays to take a 7-0 lead. The Badgers moved the ball easily on the drive, facing just one third down the entire possession.

Vilonia had just an easy of a time on its first possession until it reached the Beebe 10-yard line. From there, the Badger defense stiffened up and forced a third and goal from the 8-yard line. Vilonia called the first of two pass plays on the night, but Beebe defensive end Ethan Quick got into the backfield and batted Vilonia quarterback Tyler Head’s pass to the ground. The Eagles settled for a 25-yard field-goal Lloyd James.

Beebe failed to get a first down on its second possession. Opting to go for it on fourth and five from the Vilonia 45, the Badgers gained three yards, giving the Eagles good field position. This time Vilonia capitalized when it got close. Howard scored from nine yards out on second and goal to give the Eagles a 10-7 lead with 2:54 left in the half.

Beebe sputtered again, and only took 1:02 off the clock before punting back to Vilonia. The Eagles started at their own 32, but got to the Beebe 26 to set Lloyd up for another attempt. The senior place kicker got it just inside the left goal post from 43 yards out to end the half.

Beebe’s defense forced a three-and-out to start the second half, and the offense capitalized. Starting from their own 14, the Badgers marched 86 yards in 14 plays, this time facing and converting four third-down situations.

Williams got his second touchdown of the game, darting in from three yards out to give Beebe a 14-13 lead with 3:12 left in the third quarter.

Vilonia totaled 291 yards while Beebe gained 232. The Badgers were led by Williams’ 120 yards on 22 carries. Howard led all rushers with 148 yards on 24 totes.

Defensively, the Badgers were led by senior linebacker Matt Dent, who picked up 11 tackles in the game. Junior secondary player Spencer Forte added nine take downs for the Badgers, who fell to 2-1 with the loss.

Beebe begins conference play at home next Friday against more Eagles, this variety from Crossett.

Vilonia, 2-1, also opens league play next week, going on the road to face Harrison.

I though in the second quarter we kind of sputtered around a little bit. We’re up 7-3 and we got the ball, got second a long and tried something different and it didn’t work.

I though we played real well the first quarter, real well the second quarter, but the second and fourth it came back to bite us.

We didn’t get out on the sweep like we should have, like we had been doing the whole second half. They caught us, they just called the right plays at the right time.