Rison’s Rick Stephenson (24), Devonta Jones (34) and Terrell Golden (35) all rush Parkers Chapel quarterback John Tyson on Friday night. (Special to The Commercial/Mike Adam)
Parkers Chapel’s Evan McKinnon (12) fumbles the kickoff and Rison’s Devonta Jones (34) recovers. (Special to The Commercial/Mike Adam)
RISON — The first interception of the season for Rison went for a long touchdown return and the Wildcats never looked back, as they rolled to a 49-14 victory over the Parkers Chapel Trojans in a key 8-2A Conference game at Wildcat Field Friday night.
Defensively, the Wildcats (2-2, 2-1 in the 8-2A Conference) intercepted four Trojan (2-2, 1-2) passes and recorded a safety, while the special teams had a kick return for a touchdown, a blocked punt and two fumble recoveries, all setting the tone for Rison’s rout.
“We challenged our defense all week,” Rison head coach Clay Totty said. “We faced a big time player (Philip-Myles Hay) and we responded.
“We’ve rose up over the years when we’ve faced some great backs, and we did tonight. Our defense and special teams did a real good job. We got better.”
The Wildcats’ first interception of the season couldn’t have come at a bigger moment in the early going, when the Trojans had second down at the Rison 18 after Evan McKinnon’s 55-yard scamper. However, Rison cornerback Jordan Mason stepped in front of a pass by quarterback John Tyson and retuned the interception 90 yards for a touchdown. Following an offsides penalty against Parkers Chapel, quarterback Nathan Wilson ran in a two-point conversion to give Rison an 8-0 lead with 4:26 gone in the first quarter.
At the midway point of the opening period, Rison’s Devonta Jones blocked a Trojan punt that gave the Wildcats possession at the Parkers Chapel 45.
Moments later, the ‘Cats scored the first of three touchdowns in the opening half that all came on big fourth down plays.
With fourth and five at the 26, Zuntario Oliver took a pitch on a sweep around the left side, found a seam, and covered the distance down the sideline for a touchdown that pushed Rison’s lead to 14-0 at the 3:04 mark of the first quarter.
After a long pass from Tyson to Shannon Havens that put the Trojans at the Rison 20, Mason came up with his second interception, returning to the Wildcats’ 40.
On the second play of quarter two, Jarvis Broughton broke a tackle near the line of scrimmage and raced 42 yards for a touchdown that extended Rison’s advantage to 20-0. It turned out to be the Wildcats’ longest run from scrimmage so far this season.
Things didn’t get any better for the Trojans on the ensuing kick when McKinnon couldn’t get the handle on the ball and Jones covered for Rison at the Parkers Chapel 26.
Following a holding penalty, Rison faced fourth and long at the 34.
But Oliver got wide open behind the Trojan secondary and hauled in a 34-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to expand Rison’s advantage. Oliver booted the extra point to give the ‘Cats a 27-0 cushion with 2:30 elapsed in the second period.
Sparked by Hay, though, the Trojan offense came to life to march 46 yards for their first touchdown of the game. Facing fourth and goal at the six, McKinnon, on a reverse, dove across the goalline to get Parkers Chapel on the scoreboard. Caleh Wall tacked on the first of two extra point kicks to make it 27-7 with 6:40 remaining in the opening half.
A 36-yard run by Jokenzie Broughton, who also had a pair of interceptions in the second half, ignited Rison’s next possession.
Once again, though, the ‘Cats had to do it the hard way. With fourth and 11 at the 20, Oliver raced past Hay at the goalline and grabbed his second touchdown pass from Wilson that gave Rison a 33-7 advantage at the 4:23 mark of the second period.
An eight-play, 59-yard scoring march by Parkers Chapel, capped with a two-yard touchdown plunge by Hay, pulled the Trojans within 33-14 with just 2:15 to go in the half.
With Parkers Chapel running just one play during the first 10 minutes of the second half, the Wildcats racked up 16 points to blow the game open.
Rison took the second half kick and used 15 plays and more than 8 minutes to drive all the way to the Trojans’ 2-yard line before turning the ball over on downs.
But on first down, Hay took a deep snap in the end zone, tried to bounce outside, and was pulled down by the Wildcats’ Terrell Golden for a safety to give Rison a 35-14 lead with 3:52 left in the third period.
Jarvis Broughton took Tyson’s ensuing kick at the Rison 35 and dashed 65 yards for a touchdown. Oliver booted the extra point to make it 42-14.
Once again, the Rison special teams came up big, when Kolton Hooks covered a Hay fumble on the kick return to give the ‘Cats possession at the Trojans’ 44.
Four plays later, Oliver plunged across from a yard out for Rison’s final touchdown of the game. Oliver added the extra point kick to send the score to 49-14 with 2:19 remaining in the third quarter and invoke the “mercy clock.”