RISON - Although it was for only 52 seconds in the opening quarter, Rison trailed in a game Friday night for the first time since Sept. 28 at McGehee and for just the third time this season. And after quickly regaining the lead, the Wildcats pulled away to corral the Hoxie Mustangs, 50-19, in the opening round of the Class 3A state playoffs at George Walker Field of Champions.
The Wildcats, 11-0 on the season, will now host Mayflower (10-1) in the second round next Friday night. Hoxie, the 5th seed from the 3-3A Conference, finished its season with a record of 5-6. The Mustangs hurt their own cause, committing four turnovers in the game.
“I’m proud of the kids and the effort they gave in this game,” Rison head coach Clay Totty said, as the Wildcats improved to 30-13 all-time in their state playoff openers. “We’ll move on to next week.”
Rison received a big first half from senior Malik Chavis, who finished the game with 153 yards on 17 carries, including touchdown runs of 11 and 55 yards in the opening quarter. Then in the second period Chavis snagged a 23-yard TD pass in the end zone from quarterback Jaylon Henry, with the reception capping a 15-play, 75-yard drive that consumed over 7 minutes on the clock. It was Rison’s only pass completion in the contest. Jerrion Marshall added a 2-point conversion run that made it 22-7 with 9:28 left in the first half.
Hoxie temporarily took the lead, 7-6, with 4:04 gone in the first quarter when quarterback Chandler Spradlin dumped a short pass to Keifer Wilson, who sped 47 yards for a touchdown. Mackenzie Foresha booted the PAT, as the Mustangs led by a point before Chavis’ long scoring run just a couple of plays later gave Rison the advantage for good. RoShawn Martin’s 2-point conversion plunge made it 14-7.
After the Wildcats extended their lead to 22-7, the Mustangs drove 67 yards for a touchdown, climaxed by Spradlin’s 1-yard touchdown carry that closed the gap to 22-13 at the 4:08 mark of the second period.
However, Rison answered with a 54-yard scoring march, when Marshall found the end zone from a yard out with 23 seconds remaining in the half. A Henry to Martin pass for 2 points put the margin at 30-13 at halftime. Marshall finished with 89 yards on the ground on 16 rushes.
Early in the second half, with Hoxie driving in Rison territory, Spradlin was stripped of the ball and Jordan Brown covered at the Wildcats’ 37 to stop the mild threat.
Rison had a chance to expand its lead late in the third period after Henry batted away a pass on a fake punt attempt by the Mustangs, giving the Wildcats possession at the Hoxie 16. When a holding penalty against Rison erased an apparent TD run by Marshall, the ‘Cats suffered their only turnover of the game when Henry’s pass was intercepted at the Hoxie 1. Moments later, though, the Wildcats got the ball right back when a fumble return put Rison in business at the Hoxie 31.
On the third play of the final quarter, Jamarien Frye stepped into the end zone from 2 yards out, as the Wildcats built their lead to 36-13. Following an interception by Trent Lawson at the Rison 13, the ‘Cats zipped 87 yards in 6 snaps, climaxed by Martin’s 33-yard dash to the end zone for a TD. Justin Jacobs’ PAT made it 43-13 with 5:14 remaining in the game.
After Hoxie scored on a short TD plunge by Spradlin that made it 43-19, Frye ran over a defender and sprinted 63 yards for Rison’s final touchdown. Dawson Stuckey tacked on the extra point kick and it was 50-19 with only 2:52 to play. Frye ended with 92 yards rushing on 7 carries.
Rison had 458 yards in the game, with 435 yards coming on the ground. Hoxie totaled 381 yards on offense, with Spradlin completing 15 out of 26 passes for 214 yards, and rushing 19 times for 55 yards. Wilson had 70 yards on 11 carries.