Wildcats defeat Warriors in “puntfest”

By | October 7, 2008 12:00 am

Busy punters. Jordan Armstrong, the Warrior punter, and his counterpart on the Hixson team, were busy players in Friday’s Region 4-4A game between the Warriors and the Wildcats. The two teams combined to punt 16 times in the game. The combined punt yardage exceeded the total combined offensive yards.

Forcing the pitch. Jay Currin gets into the backfield and forces the Hixson quarterback to option the ball to his running back. Currin had 14 tackles in the game, two of which went for negative yards.

    The punters for both WCHS and Hixson were put to work in Friday’s high school football game, which the Wildcats won by a score of 24-7.
    There were a total of 16 punts in the game with the two teams combining for more punt yardage than they did for total offensive yards.  Warrior punter, Jordan Armstrong was called on to punt nine times for a total of 289 yards (32 yard average).  Hixson punted seven times for 206 yards.  The two teams combined for 405 yards of total offense. 
    The Warrior offense continued their struggles as they managed only 106 yards of offense for the game.  They netted just 31 yards rushing on 29 attempts.  They recorded just two first downs in the first half and a total of six for the game. 
    The Warrior defense did their best to keep WCHS in the game.  They allowed the high-powered passing offense of the Wildcats just one score in the first half and forced four punts. 
    Hixson went to the air 38 times in the contest completing 22 of those for 205 passing yards.  Sam Gribble led the team with five pass break ups.
    The punters were called into action early as the first five possessions ended in punts.  The Warriors went three and out on their first possession.  They managed a first down on their second possession as Seth McDonald opened that series with a nine yard run.  Gribble added six yards to move the chains.  The drive stalled there. 
    Hixson punted on each of their first two possessions, but the second one saw them pick up two first downs.  The Warriors went three and out on the next possession.  Hixson then went to work on their first scoring drive.
    The possession actually began with a maroon and gray twist as Jay Currin, who had 14 tackles on the night, read the bubble play perfectly and tackled the receiver for a seven-yard loss.  Hixson came back with a 14 yard passing play.  After a two-yard run by quarterback, Zach McCarter, the Wildcats went for it on fourth down and McCarter picked up three for the first down.  McCarter used his arms and legs to pick up three more first downs and, in the process, got the ball all the way down to the one for a first and goal.  He kept and scored the game’s first touchdown on the next play.  The PAT was good and with 9:44 left in the half, Hixson led 7-0.
    The next three series each went three and out, two of those by the Warriors.  Hixson threatened again on their fifth possession of the game.  McCarter passed on seven of the next eight plays.  They had a first down at the five-yard line, but the Warrior defense stopped them there.  Three straight incomplete passes, including a near interception by Sam Gribble, left the Wildcats facing a fourth down.  They elected to go for the 32-yard field goal, which was no good. 
    The Warriors were not able to get any momentum for the defensive stand though.  Gribble did pick up a first down on a pair of runs, but the drive stalled there and forced Armstrong’s sixth punt of the contest.  Hixson would also be forced to punt on their next possession.  The Warriors had their best field position on the next play as they started at the 46-yard line.  WCHS got as close to midfield as they had the entire half on that kick return.  After a pair of incomplete passes, McDonald carried for three yards, but lost the ball and Hixson recovered at midfield.  The half ended with the Warriors trailing 7-0.
    Things continued where they left off as the second half began.  The two teams began by trading punts. 
    Hixson stretched their led to 14-0 on their second possession of the third quarter.  They put together an 11-play drive that covered 68 yards.  J.O. Owens scored on an 11-yard run with 5:02 to play in the third quarter.  The PAT pushed the lead to 14-0. 
    The next three possessions ended in punts before the Warriors got the break they ended.  Dillon Riddle recovered a Hixson fumble at the Wildcat 33 yard line.  That was the first time WCHS had been in Hixson territory.  The Warriors wasted no time converting.  Conor Sparkman hit fellow sophomore, Jordan Armstrong, who had the over the shoulder catch for the touchdown.  Zack Saylors converted the point-after and with 1:36 left in the game, the Warriors were within a touchdown. 
    Currin began the next Hixson possession with another tackle for a loss, this one for five yards.  They, however, completed a 24-yard pass on second down and were in Warrior territory.  The Wildcats would get the ball down to the eight-yard line, but had to settle for a 30-yard field goal.  With 7:14 left in the contest, they had stretched the lead to 17-7. 
    Things went sour for the Warriors on the next drive.  A bad exchange on the snap started the drive with a three-yard loss.  After a four-yard run by Gribble, the Warriors went backward with a five-yard penalty.  The next play proved controversial and went the way of the Wildcats.  Sparkman dropped back to pass and found himself in the middle of an intense rush.  He tried to get rid of the ball to a running back, but was hit as he was throwing the ball.  The officials saw otherwise much to the chagrin of the WCHS coaching staff.  They ruled the ball a fumble instead of an incomplete pass.  Hixson took over at the 16-yard line.  Four plays later, they were in the end zone with a five-yard touchdown.  The PAT was again good and with 4:03 left in the contest, they had built a 24-7 lead, which turned out to be the final score. 
    WCHS managed only 106 yards of offense in the contest.  In addition to the 31 rushing yards, Conor Sparkman completed six of 17 passes for 75 yards.  The Warriors netted 51 yards in the first half and 55 in the second half. 
    Hixson ran the ball 32 times for a total of 94 yards.  McCarter passed for 205 yards. 
    Jay Currin and Seth McDonald each had 14 tackles in the contest.  Two of Currin’s went for losses.  Aaron Murray added 12 stops. 
    The loss dropped WCHS to 1-5 overall and 0-3 in the region.  They play host to Brainerd Friday night at Warrior Stadium. 
Game Summary
White County 0 0 0 7 — 7
Hixson 0 7 7 10 — 24
Second Quarter
H – Zack McCarter 1 yard run (kick), 9:44
Third Quarter
H – J.O. Owens 11 yard run, (kick), 5:02
Fourth Quarter
WC – Jordan Armstrong 33 yard pass from Conor Sparkman, (Zack Saylors PAT), 11:36
H – 30-yard field goal, 7:14
H – Owens 5 yard run, (kick), 4:03
First downs 18 6
Rushes-Yards 32-94 29-31
Passing 205 75
Total Yards 299 106
Comp-Att-Int 22-38-0 6-18-0
Punts-Avg. 7-29.4 9-32
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-2
Penalties-Yards 4-35 2-10
Rushing: Sam Gribble 11-40, Seth McDonald 6-12, Aaron Murray 5-3, Jordan Brown 1-1, Conor Sparkman 6 – (-25).
Passing: Conor Sparkman 6-17-75-1-0, Sam Gribble 0-1-0-0.
Receiving: Sam Howard 3-27, Jordan Armstrong 1-33, 1 TD, Aaron Murray 1-1, Seth McDonald 1-14.

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