RISON — Last year it was Bearden scoring with 28 seconds left in the game to beat Rison. This year it was the Wildcats’ turn for the dramatics, as they scored with 27 seconds to go to defeat the Bears, 43-36, in a big 8-2A Conference battle Friday night at Wildcat Field. Rison’s victory ended Bearden’s two-game winning streak in the series, which the Wildcats lead, 38-13.

RISON — Last year it was Bearden scoring with 28 seconds left in the game to beat Rison. This year it was the Wildcats’ turn for the dramatics, as they scored with 27 seconds to go to defeat the Bears, 43-36, in a big 8-2A Conference battle Friday night at Wildcat Field. Rison’s victory ended Bearden’s two-game winning streak in the series, which the Wildcats lead, 38-13.


The win moved Rison (7-1, 4-1 in 8-2A) into a tie for second place with Woodlawn in the league, while Bearden (5-2, 4-2) slipped behind the two Cleveland County teams in the 8-2A standings. Rison will be on the road next week at Strong, before hosting Woodlawn in the regular season finale.


By the end of Friday night’s wild shootout, there were two tired defenses on the field, as Rison and Bearden combined for almost 800 yards of offense. However, the key play in the game was most likely a fumble recovery by Rison’s Eric Leopard on a long kick return by the Wildcats’ Jaylon Mitchum to the Bearden 29 moments after the Bears had gone ahead, 36-35, with just 2:36 left in the game.


Following Mitchum’s 55-yard return, Rison used 6 running plays to crack the end zone for the winning points, with Cortez Phillips going over from the 1. Then Bryson Marks swept the left side for a two-point conversion to give the Wildcats a 43-36 margin.


On the final play of the game, Mitchum intercepted Jamond Young’s deep pass to seal Rison’s win.


Rison took the opening kick of the game and used 18 plays and almost 10 minutes to drive 86 yards for a touchdown, capped by Marks’ 6-yard scoring run. Josh Vick added the PAT kick for a 7-0 Wildcat lead with 2:20 left in the opening period.


But Bearden responded with Xavier Cones’ 16-yard touchdown run and a two-point conversion by Young to grab an 8-7 advantage with 24 seconds to go in the opening quarter.


The two teams swapped TDs in the second period, with Marks, on a 1-yard plunge, and Jordan Brown, on a 12-yard scoring run, getting Rison’s touchdowns. Brown had a two-point conversion following Rison’s second TD. KeShawn Lee, on a 9-yard run, and Young, on a 19-yard dash, scored Bearden’s second quarter TDs. Young’s score came with 32 seconds remaining in the half to put the Bears on top, 22-21, at the break.


Bearden reached Rison’s 6 midway through the third period, but came away with no points after turning the ball over on downs at the 11.


The Wildcats then marched 89 yards, climaxed by Brown’s 4-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-goal to give Rison a 27-22 lead on the first play of the fourth quarter.


Bearden went back on top, 28-27, on Young’s 1-yard TD run with 7:39 left in the game, but Rison used a 65-yard scoring march, capped by Marks’ 18-yard touchdown dash with 5:25 remaining to regain the lead. Marks tacked on a two-point conversion run to make it 35-28.


However, Bearden drove 76 yards, and Young’s 1-yard TD plunge and the quarterback’s two-point conversion put the Bears back on top, 36-35.