Cardinals’ big plays weaken Warriors


Jonesboro Westside, making only its second-ever post-season appearance and its first in 26 years, had its moments against Dollarway here Friday night, but it quickly became apparent that the Warriors didn’t have the manpower to keep up with the speedy Cardinals for long. Big plays spelled the difference for Dollarway as it amassed 250 yards on its six scoring plays and streaked to a 44-7 first-round Class 4A playoff win.

Coach Cortez Lee’s 10-1 Cardinals sped to a 22-0 first-quarter lead and by halftime the Warriors were reeling in a 28-0 hole. With the mercy rule imposed after Dollarway stretched its advantage to 36-0 in the third quarter, Lee began inserting its reserves and Westside (4-7) was finally able to put points on the board. But the Jonesboro revival was too little, too late.

Tracy Smith Jr. notched Dollarway’s first touchdown on a 57-yard run to cap the Cardinal’s first possession. A 2-point conversion try failed, leaving the score at 6-0.

After stopping the Warriors at the Dollarway 33-yard line, the Cardinals were pushed back to their 29. From there, Darius Robinson found daylight on a 71-yard touchdown dash. A successful 2-point pass lifted Dollarway to a 14-0 lead.

The Cardinals then forced Westside to punt from the Warriors’ 35, and Dollarway’s Jaquan Lasley got a hand on the kick for a block. Robinson grabbed the ball and returned 20 yards to Westside’s 15. From there, quarterback Xavier Long squeezed through the line and broke for Dollarway’s third touchdown. It was 22-0 after another 2-point pass.

Westside threatened in the second quarter but Dollarway’s Joshua Liddell halted the Warriors’ drive with an interception. Then, on second down at its 11, Dollarway registered its biggest play when quarterback Jeremiah Young and Dequan Christmas combined on an 89-yard pass-and-run for a touchdown.

On its next series, Westside marched to Dollarway’s 10, but a second Cardinal interception squashed that Warrior effort.

Young gave the Cardinals their fifth touchdown with a 70-yard rip on Dollarway’s first possession of the second half. Westside’s Matt Nowell returned the ensuing kickoff 54 yards to the Cardinals’ 20, and the Warriors scored their lone touchdown eight plays later on quarterback Chase Mann’s 4-yard run. Lane Campbell kicked the point-after.

After Westside’s kickoff, Dollarway tallied its final touchdown on its first play from scrimmage when Robinson found daylight behind two of his blockers and raced 70 yards. A 2-point pass finalized scoring.

Campbell missed on a 45-yard field goal try in the game’s final minute.

Highland will host Dollarway*** in a second-round match next week.

•••

*** This article has been updated from its original version to correct an error in the location for Dollarway's next game.