Tigers beat Razorbacks

Texas High school football team redeems 2014 loss with a 28 – 14 victory

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Photo by Lauren Maynard

Texas High’s J’Kardi Witcher looks for open field in which to run during the 2015 Texas vs. Arkansas game held at Razorback stadium. Witcher scored 3 touchdowns in the 28 -14 victory.

Molly Crouch

The Texas High Tigers and Arkansas High Razorbacks faced off Friday, Sept. 4 at Razorback Stadium for the highly anticipated rivalry game in Texarkana with Texas High victorious over Arkansas High 28-14. The Tigers lost to the Razorbacks in overtime in 2014.

Arkansas began the first quarter with a 70 yard kick return by Kushaiah Jones. The Razorbacks’ push was denied, when the Razorbacks’ turned the ball over on downs giving possession to the Tigers.

“As a whole, we were rusty a little bit coming out of the first half,” Texas High running back J’Kardi Witcher said. Then we picked it up. We executed and made good plays and we got the victory.”

A pass by Texas quarterback Cade Pearson to running back J’kardi Witcher was intercepted by Arkansas High’s defensive end Nicholas McCann on Texas 36 yard line. Unable to capitalize on the turnover, Arkansas High punted. Witcher returned the ball to the Razorback 14 yard line. Penalties crippled the second Tiger drive and resulted in a turnover on downs.

“It started off kinda sloppy,” Texas High center Matt Davis said. “We had a lot of turnovers but then in the second half, we got it rolling and scored some points.”

Arkansas High’s possession was a brief two play before Tiger’s linebacker Mitchell Butler recovered a fumbled. Pearson and receiver Eric Sutton then connected on a pass that settled the Tigers on the 3 yard line. Witcher then pushed in a 3 yard run for the first touchdown of the game. Kicker Ethan Montez’s extra point made the score 7-0 in favor of the Tigers.

J’kardi Witcher played huge, played unbelievable,” coach Barry Norton said. “The physical part of the ball game was good.”

The Razorbacks and Tigers were deadlocked throughout the second quarter with neither teams scoring.

Arkansas kicker Tyler Braswell kicked off the third quarter for Arkansas with a kick to the 1 yard line, which Witcher returned for a 99 yard touchdown making the score 14 – 0 Texas High. Tigers sacked Razorback quarterback Keaundre Banks forcing a punt. Quan Hampton returned the punt to the Arkansas 11 yard line. Witcher rushed for another touchdown for the Tigers.

“I told coach that I was going to carry the team on my back,” Witcher said. “Everything that I said came true.”

Arkansas’ Timothy Stuckey opened the fourth quarter with a touchdown run from the Texas 20 yard line bringing the score to 21-7.

Later in the fourth quarter, Tiger’s Markese Martin ran the ball from the 18 yard to the end zone giving Texas High 28 points.. After a Texas High punt later in the quarter, Arkansas High’s Kaviron Oliver rushed for 1 yard to score bringing the score to 28-14.

“This is my 17th year at Texas High,” Norton said. “We’ve lost twice; in 2000 and then last year. Last year, losing was probably good for us. We got a little emotional back then. Both sides were excited about it, so we kinda created the rivalry again.”

The tigers next game will be Sept. 18 in Kilgore, Texas.