RISON — Jerry Marshall scored Rison's go-ahead touchdown with just over five minutes left in the game, and moments later made a leaping interception to turn back a Glen Rose scoring threat as the Wildcats rallied from a 14-point second-half deficit to nip the Beavers, 24-21, in the second round of the Class 3A state playoffs at Wildcat Field.
RISON — Jerry Marshall scored Rison’s go-ahead touchdown with just over five minutes left in the game, and moments later made a leaping interception to turn back a Glen Rose scoring threat as the Wildcats rallied from a 14-point second-half deficit to nip the Beavers, 24-21, in the second round of the Class 3A state playoffs at Wildcat Field.
Rison (10-2) will host Fountain Lake in a quarterfinal game next Friday.
“I’m proud of the kids,” Rison coach Clay Totty said. “They didn’t quit, which I knew they wouldn’t do. I knew we would come back. I had told our kids that against Star City and Fordyce, we just ran out of time.”
In both of those games, the Wildcats overcame double-digit deficits in the second half to either go ahead or tie the score, only to yield a touchdown in the closing seconds for a pair of heartbreaking losses.
However, the Wildcats got some big defensive plays Friday night that kept them alive to play another week.
After Glen Rose (8-4) took a 21-7 lead with 8:26 left in the third period, the Wildcats drove 49 yards for a touchdown, capped by Marshall’s 21-yard scoring run. Yves Buehler added the second of his three extra-point kicks to pull Rison within 21-14 at the 3:31 mark of the third quarter. Marshall went on to gain 139 yards on 28 carries.
After Rison’s touchdown, the Beavers drove to the Wildcats’ 36, where they faced fourth and six. But quarterback Collin Hunter’s pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage and Terrell Gray intercepted for Rison, returning to the Wildcats’ 45.
The Wildcats drove to the Glen Rose 10 for a first and goal, but eventually settled for a 24-yard field goal by Buehler that closed the gap to 21-17 with 8:00 to go in the game.
On the Beavers’ next offensive play, Hunter and Dillon Coney failed to make the exchange on a handoff and Levi Wilson pounced on the fumble for Rison at the Glen Rose 35.
After a holding penalty against the Wildcats erased a 13-yard touchdown run by Marshall, the senior running back zipped through the right side a few plays later for a 10-yard touchdown to give Rison a 24-21 advantage with 5:16 remaining.
Glen Rose overcame a fourth and 17 when Hunter completed a pass to Hunter Bredensteiner that moved the Beavers to the Rison 25.
However, on the next play, Marshall timed his leap perfectly and intercepted Hunter’s pass near the goal line, returning to the Rison 23 with just 2:08 left.
Glen Rose managed to get one more possession with 22 seconds to go, but with no timeouts to work with, the Beavers could get only as far as the Rison 35 on the final play of the game.
Rison dodged a bullet early in the game, when a fumble put the Beavers in business at the Wildcats’ 6-yard line.
But on first and goal, a high snap from center sailed way over the head of Hunter, and Kody Leopard covered for the Wildcats at the Rison 29.
After an exchange of punts, the ‘Cats cranked up a 67-yard scoring drive, climaxed by a 10-yard TD pass from quarterback Juan Jones to Quanterio Heath that gave Rison a 7-0 advantage at the 10:11 mark of the second period.
Glen Rose responded, though, when Coney raced 30 yards for a touchdown to end a 53-yard scoring drive. Dakota Harris kicked his first of three extra points to knot the score, 7-7, with 7:24 left in the half.
On their next offensive series, the Beavers moved 78 yards for a touchdown, capped by Coney’s 1-yard touchdown run to make it 14-7 with only 1:18 to go in the second period.
A 53-yard run by Coney got Glen Rose to the Rison 21 in the closing seconds of the half, but a pair of Hunter passes fell incomplete to end the threat.
Things didn’t start well for Rison in the second half, when a line-drive kick ricocheted off a Wildcat at midfield and Glen Rose covered at the Beavers’ 47.
Glen Rose took advantage of the miscue to drive to the Rison seven-yard line. On second and goal at the 6, Coney fumbled as he crossed the 5-yard line. The ball bounded into the end zone, where several Wildcats had a chance to cover for a touchback. But Colton Key wrestled the ball away for a Glen Rose touchdown to give the Beavers a 21-7 lead with 3:34 gone in the third period.