When Pine Bluff (4-1) beat Bryant 24-21 on Friday, it needed a comeback in the second half with the Hornets leading 14-0.
Pine Bluff coach Bobby Bolding made one key switch at halftime and the Zebras had to rely on a running back other than senior Walter Ashley, who missed much of the second half with a shoulder injury.
Bolding pulled quarterback Rickey Clements in favor of fellow senior Brandon Starks, and Trever Hunt replaced Ashley at running back.
Starks went on to pass for 142 yards and two touchdowns and Hunt rushed for 103 on 14 carries.
While Clements has been Pine Bluff’s starting quarterback for all five games, Starks has seen some time.
Bolding thought Clements was a bit off on Friday, though, and decided to make the switch to Starks.
“That’s an option that we always have,’ he said. “When one of them is a bit off, we bring the other one in. No big deal. Brandon came right in and led the team.”
Starks hit Ashley for a touchdown pass and then hit Tyrone Payne for a 69-yard score to tie the game at 14. Starks hit Payne at around mid-field, and Payne broke a tackle to go the rest of the way for the score.
“I just put it in there for Tyrone and he did what he had to do after the catch,” Starks said.
Despite Starks’ second-half heroics, Clements is still the starting quarterback.
“Rickey’s the quarterback. We don’t have a controversy,” Bolding said. “But we always have Starks and competition is a great thing. It makes people better. I have no problems with playing them both.”
Hunt had shown some promise in some previous games and came in to start the second drive of the second half.
Late in the third quarter, Hunt broke a 34-yard run that helped set up the Zebras first score. Hunt’s 11-yard run to the Bryant 11-yard line with 58 seconds left also put Pine Bluff in position for Austin McGehee’s game-winning kick.
“He took care of the football and did his job,” Bolding said. “Without Trever, we probably would have sent Walter back in there and he would’ve been a little less aggressive as he tried to protect himself.
“We always felt like we had another weapon and he just needed that opportunity and got it.”
Ashley should be good to go for this Friday’s home game against Lake Hamilton***.
“He banged it up a little bit and he will be alright,” Bolding said.
Cardinals work on fundamentals in blowout
Dollarway was not expecting much of a game Friday against Marianna Lee.
The Trojans were winless going in and Dollarway (5-0) had not lost yet. Plus, Marianna Lee had not scored a touchdown in its three games.
Dollarway came away with a lopsided win like it should have too, with a 64-0 victory.
“They didn’t present much of a matchup,” Dollarway coach Cortez Lee said. “They competed, but it wasn’t a major matchup or anything like that.”
The Cardinals got to work early, too. By halftime, Dollarway had a 54-0 lead.
“We were kind of relaxed going in,” Lee said. “But the guys were focused and it seemed like we could score on every play. We pretty much wanted to go in and handle our business from start to finish.”
Even though it was such a lopsided 2-4A Conference game, Lee was able to take some simple things away from the game.
“All you can pretty much do is work on the fundamentals,” he said. “Make sure the line blocks the right way, extra points and different things you break down in certain categories to work on.”
There were a number of backups that were able to see quality time because of the blowout that will benefit them in the future, Lee said.
“It gave us time to develop other players and see what they can do with the competition,” he said.
Cole making an impact on both sides
SanAntonio Cole has stepped in and provided an instant spark at quarterback for Watson Chapel this year.
He helped lead the Wildcats (4-1) over 4A powerhouse Nashville to get his team on a three-game winning streak.
But Cole is also making an impact on the defense side of the ball, which was evident during this past Friday’s De Queen game as he had a 53-yard interception return for a touchdown.
“We dropped him in there last year as a junior and started him as a corner,” Watson Chapel coach George Shelton said. “So he has experience there.”
Watson Chapel’s depth in the defensive backfield has only gotten stronger since, and with Cole playing such a big role on offense, Shelton has been able to use Cole less on defense.
That has not stopped Cole from being a playmaker on that side of the ball, though.
“We bring him in on critical moments when we feel they are going to pass,” Shelton said. “That makes it a lot easier for him to be a ball hawk.”
Bulldogs unable to contain Cardinals’ offense
White Hall was able to keep Camden Fairview’s offense in check as best as it possibly could in the first half of Friday’s game and the Cardinals had a 13-8 lead.
But a couple of injuries and some mistakes led to 34 second-half points for Camden Fairview in the 47-8 win.
White Hall lost defensive end Austin Berry and cornerback Shuquan Walls to concessions. Both are starters and both will miss this week’s game at Hot Springs Lakeside.
“We lost those two and they found those holes after halftime,” White Hall coach Mike Vaughn said. “They are real good and we played well for a half, but we lost some intensity and had some mistakes and they took advantage.”
It was the worst defensive performance for White Hall this year, but Vaughn said the team has already moved past it.
“It’s just one of those situations and we have to get over it,” he said. “In this conference, you play someone tough every week. The attitude during practice on Monday was good, we worked on the mistakes and moved on.”
***This article has been updated from its original version to fix incorrect information abut an upcoming game.