Summer is winding down, school has started, and you know what that means. It is time for Arkansas High School Football. We are less than a week away from the official kickoff of the 2010 football season, but games are already being played across the state, as teams a scrimmaging one another in hopes of finding and fixing those little mistakes each of them have.
One scrimmage game which took place on Monday night was between the Rison Wildcats and the Strong Bulldogs. The game had the feel of a 'real' game, with the exception being the length of the quarters. This game would only have 8 minute quarter's verses the 12 minute quarters you would see in regulation games.
The Bulldogs came out strong behind junior athlete Kenneth Dixon. Dixon took the snaps at quarterback out of the famous 'Wildcat' formation all night, but was a pure athlete who made plays running and throwing the ball as well as on defense. He would lead his team into Wildcat territory on the opening drive of the game, but a heave to the end zone would be picked off by Rison's Marquis Walker, and was returned for 46 yards.
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Rison would have to settle for a 36 yard field goal from Quanterio Heath, as they would not be able to find the end zone on their opening possession.
The Wildcat defense would step up again their second time on the field, and force Strong into a fourth down situation. The Bulldogs would go for it on fourth down, but Dixon's pass was incomplete.
It would not take the Wildcats long to strike on their second offensive possession of the game. Quarterback Juan Jones would hit Walker for a 36 yard pass, followed by a 24 yard scamper from Raphael Caldwell. Jones would hit pay dirt one play later on a 1 yard quarterback sneak into the end zone. Heath's PAT was good, to give Rison the 10-0 lead with 2:28 to play in the half.
Strong would bobble the kickoff, and would start their third possession deep in Wildcat territory, and two plays later, the Cats would make them pay, as Walker, Jones, Caldwell, and Jerry Marshall would sack Dixon in the end zone for a safety.
Momentum would remain in the Wildcats corner, as Caldwell would return the kickoff 35 yards. He would then have a 23 yard scamper, which set up a 22 yard touchdown pass from Jones to Heath. Heath would then tack on the PAT to take the Cats into halftime with a 19-0 lead.
Coming out of halftime, Caldwell was prepared to inflict more pain on the Bulldogs, as he returned the opening kickoff of the second half 30 yards. On the Wildcats first play from scrimmage in the third quarter, he would then scamper 69 yards down the Bulldogs sidelines for a score.
Both teams would share fumbles within the next three plays of the game, but Strong's Arriun Gatson would scoop and score a Juan Jones fumble, returning it 58 yards for a score. Dixon would scamper in for the two-point-conversion. Rison would answer right back just four plays later, as Jones made up for the fumble by hitting Marquis Walker across the middle of the field for a 49 yard touchdown pass.
Strong's final score would come with 7:54 remaining in the game as Dixon would break loose from 14 yards out. The Bulldogs would again try a two-point-conversion, but would fail, giving the final score of 32-14 in favor of the Wildcats.
Rison Head Coach Clay Totty was pleased with his teams' performance in the scrimmage game.
"You like to see this kind of stuff when you come out in a game like this." said Totty. "It was like a practice for us, so we just came out and kind of was shooting from the hip, and adjusting as we went along. We got to do a lot of game situations, and see how our kids responded. I was proud of the goal line stand we had, and the interception Marquis Walker had. Our defense really stepped up and made some good plays. We liked the safety we were able to get. Those are all good things to build on. I was proud of Rock Caldwell. He played well for us; in fact we had several guys who played well for us. I'm just proud of how our guys did tonight."
Rison's Raphael Caldwell carried the ball 12 times for 155 yards and 2 TD's.
Marquis Walker caught 3 passes for 93 yards and a touchdown. He also returned an interception 43 yards.
Quanterio Heath caught a 22 yard TD pass, and was perfect on PAT's and Field Goals, to include a 36 yard FG for Rison's first score. He also had a fumble recovery in the game.
QB Lajuan Jones was 5 for 6 passing for 135 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also scored once on the ground.
Strong QB Kenneth Dixon has 19 carries for 92 yards, and was 3 for 8 passing for 50 yards, with 1 interception.
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