By Stan Sadler
SPECIAL TO THE COMMERCIAL
CARLISLE — Old momentum took a big swing in the second half Friday night at Fred Hardke Field.
With Rison seemingly in control at halftime, 19-8, the Carlisle Bison came roaring back behind the power running of their pair of big senior backs Deron Ricks and Bo Weddle to defeat the Wildcats, 30-19, in the quarterfinals of the 2A state playoffs.
With Rison (9-4) ahead, 19-8, starting the second half, the Bison (12-1) marched 86 yards for a touchdown. A 15-yard penalty against Rison and a fourth and 10 pass for 12 yards by Carlisle were the key plays in the drive. Ricks carried across for the touchdown from 6 yards out to trim Rison’s advantage to 19-14 with 2:52 left in the third period.
After stopping a fake punt by the Wildcats near midfield, the Bison moved 45 yards to take the lead for good on a 9-yard run by Ricks on third and 7. Weddle added a 2-point conversion run to give Carlisle a 22-19 cushion with 11:13 remaining in the game.
The Wildcats continued to unravel when Carlisle pounced on a fumble a couple of plays later near the midfield stripe. In 7 plays the Bison covered 51 yards to the end zone, capped by Ricks’ 3-yard scoring plunge. Ricks also tacked on another 2-point conversion to make it 30-19 with 7:09 to go.
Rison advanced to the Carlisle 12 in the closing minutes, but that was as close as the Wildcats could get before turning the ball over on downs with just 1:48 left.
The Wildcats scored on three straight possessions to start the first half, with Jokenzie Broughton scoring from 15 yards out with 4:41 to go in the opening period to put Rison on top. Zuntario Oliver booted the extra point to give Rison a 7-0 lead.
The Bison responded with a 56-yard TD drive, capped by Ricks’ 2-yard scoring plunge, and a 2-point conversion by Weddle to take an 8-7 advantage with just 19 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
However, Rison got another 15-yard scoring run by Broughton with 8:56 left in the second period and a 5-yard TD run by Chris Leaks with just 53 seconds to go in the half that gave the ‘Cats a 19-8 lead at the half.
Carlisle threatened to score just before the end of the half, but Rison’s Jordan Brown intercepted a pass in the end zone with 8 seconds left.