Frying the bacon

Tigers outlast Razorbacks in back-and-forth thriller

Story by Joseph Rodgers, John Morgan, and TJ Wall

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After an onslaught of penalties, miscues and mayhem, the Tigers recaptured the coveted axe with a 43-35 win against Arkansas High on Friday night at Tiger Stadium.

The Razorbacks took the ball first and marched right down the field with a couple of third down conversions. Quarterback Sean Foreback ran a quarterback sneak to give his team a 7-0 lead.

After punts for both teams, the Tiger offense worked its way deep into Razorback territory late in the first quarter. It was all for nothing, however, as sophomore kicker Oscar Hernandez missed a 23-yard field goal. He would not return to the game after suffering an injury on the play.

Arkansas High profited off of their fortunes and orchestrated a drive with big plays by running back Cameron Collier and wide receiver Dejordan Mask. Collier would later punch it in to see the Razorbacks double their lead.

The Tigers finally managed to find success on offense after junior running back Tracy Cooper ran the kickoff to the Razorbacks’ 38-yard line. Senior Coltin Clack completed a few key passes including a touchdown toss to junior wide receiver Kobe Webster to dig into the deficit and make it 14-7.

I’m really proud of them and their effort. We did a good job with this one.”

— Gerry Stanford

A Razorback punt allowed the Tigers to again go down and score. Various running plays led to Clack punching it in from 6 yards out. The extra point attempt, however, by senior backup kicker Melvin Martinez was blocked by the Razorbacks’ special teams and returned by sophomore defensive back Torie Blair for two points to keep Arkansas High in front.

The Tigers got off to a quick start in the second half as Clack hit Webster for a 76-yard score. Senior wide receiver Myles Washington would catch a pass to convert the two-point conversion to give them their first lead, 21-16.

This was answered by another successful scoring drive by the Razorbacks that ended with another quarterback sneak from Foreback. They failed the ensuing two-point conversion after an incomplete pass due to pressure by the Tigers’ pass rush.

On the next play, senior wide receiver Mason Jones turned on the jets and set up the offense at the 19-yard line of the Razorbacks. Clack then hit senior wide receiver Kendall Reid for a touchdown and Cooper for the two-point conversion to regain the lead. Arkansas High didn’t stay down for long, however, as Collier took a read option and scampered 63 yards to tie the game at 29.

The Tiger offense once again marched down the field but was halted when Reid caught a pass but then coughed up the ball on a questionable fumble call. The Razorbacks could not capitalize as both teams traded punts to end the third quarter.

On the second play of the fourth quarter, senior defensive lineman Justin Franklin recovered a Razorback fumble and set the offense up in prime scoring position. The Tigers would cash in on the turnover as Clack found Washington in the corner of the end zone for his fourth passing touchdown of the night to regain the lead. The two-point conversion was successful after a catch by Webster.

The Razorbacks then converted a big play of their own when Foreback hit senior wide receiver Irjah Price for 43 yards to set them up in the red zone. Collier scored to lessen the deficit, but Razorbacks’ coach Barry Norton then chose to kick an extra point, which was no good, rather than tie the game with a two-point conversion keeping the score at 37-35.

The Tigers then utilized key runs from senior running back Collius Zachery who set up for another Clack rushing touchdown to increase the lead. A runback by Arkansas High on the two-point conversion was called back due to a penalty which kept the score at 43-35.

Both teams traded punts before the Razorbacks drove down the field one last time in hopes of tying up the game. The Tiger defense did not take to kindly to this idea and made a critical stop late when senior linebacker Darryl Maxwell stripped Foreback in Tiger territory with Franklin recovering the fumble. The Tigers then ran out the clock to seal the victory in the Battle of the Axe.

Clack completed 16 of 24 passes for 281 yards and four touchdowns. He also tacked on two rushing touchdowns. Senior running back Chris Sutton had 13 rushes for 48 yards. Reid had five catches for 95 yards and a touchdown while Webster had two catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns.

Foreback completed seven of 15 passes for 192 yards. Collier had 24 rushes for 166 yards and three touchdowns. Price had three catches for 115 yards while Mask had three catches for 78 yards. The top rusher for the Razorbacks, senior Jordan Hall, was out for tonight’s game.

The Tigers were able to rebound from both last year’s loss in the rivalry and their early loss to Pflugerville Hendrickson last week. The team hopes to use this game as a stepping stone moving forward this season.

“I’m tired and exhilarated [after tonight’s game],” head coach Gerry Stanford said. “I’m really proud of them and their effort. We did a good job with this one.”

The next game for the Tigers is against the Liberty-Eylau Leopards next Friday night at Harris Field at 7:30 p.m.

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