Texarkana Gazette/Adam Sacasa
Walter Ashley of Pine Bluff finds a gap in the Texarkana defense in the second quarter on Friday.
TEXARKANA — Youth leads to mistakes.
A couple of ill-timed miscues cost inexperienced Texarkana a chance at pinning an upset on a more seasoned Pine Bluff on Friday at Razorback Stadium.
The Zebras earned a 23-17 victory when they forced the youthful Razorbacks into two point-producing turnovers where Texarkana held a surprising 7-0 lead before the errors flipped the score.
Pine Bluff took a 9-7 lead on a safety with 11:12 left in the third quarter when Razorback quarterback Dylan Silvey threw the ball away in the end zone.
The play followed up a Silvey interception the Zebras cashed in for the tying touchdown late in the second quarter.
The score remained the same until the fourth quarter when Pine Bluff pulled away with two touchdowns sandwiched between a 23-yard Chandler Luther field goal.
Zebra running back Kelvin Sargent caught a 16-yard shovel pass from Rickey Clements to go up 16-7. Walter Ashley, Pine Bluff’s feature back, scored from 40 yards out to give Pine Bluff just enough of a lead to win.
Ashley led all rushers with 237 yards on 24 carries.
But, Texarkana (1-3, 0-1) showed it is going to be a force to contend with.
The Razorbacks made things interesting with Luther’s fourth-quarter field goal and Brandon Jetton’s 27-yard TD reception with 1:15 left.
Then to add some more spice to the final minute, the Hogs’ Dominique Jones recovered an on-side kickoff at midfield. But, the hope of a comeback died when pressure caused by Pine Bluff defensive lineman Cameron Fleming-Jackson forced Silvey to fumble.
On the night, Silvey connected on 16 or 32 passes for 240 yards and a 17-yard rushing touchdown, which included an 11-play, 83-yard scoring drive with 5:19 left in the first quarter.
Pine Bluff had a chance to post an early score, but came away empty when kicker Austin McGehee missed a 38-yard field goal.
Texarkana forced Pine Bluff to punt three times in the first half. Operating from their own 11 midway in the second quarter, the Razorbacks quickly moved inside the Zebras’ 40 on back-to-back Silvey passes of 16 to Stacey Moss and a 5-yard Jetton catch.
That’s where the Hogs shot themselves in the foot.
Trying to evade a strong Pine Bluff rush, Silvey threw the ball right to Fleming-Jackson. The turnover led to Ashley rushing over from the Razorback 7 after ripping off a 37-yard gain a play before.
McGehee’s extra point, with 4:05 left, tied the game at 7-all.