WARREN — Warren used the AAA 35-point sportsmanship rule to cruise pass Dardanelle 48-13 Friday night in the second round of the 4A state playoffs.
The Lumberjacks offense got an exciting performance from running back Kilay Cox. The junior rushed 18 times for 200 yards and two touchdowns.
“I thought we did a great job of protecting the ball. He’s our workhorse. We knew with the conditions going in tonight him and Drake (Jones) had to carry the load,” said Warren head coach Bo Hembree.
Jones, a senior quarterback, scored the first touchdown of the game with an 18-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Von Eric Gonder. Dardanelle answered back with junior quarterback Kristian Thompson running a score in from 16 yards out. Thompson was able to gash his way though the Lumberjack defense in the first quarter, something Hembree was concerned about while game planning for the Sand Lizards.
“They were rusty in the first half. The second half they came out and I knew we would be a little rusty being off last week, which was a concern, but I’m glad it didn’t hurt us that much,” said Hembree of his defense’s performance.
Warren linebackers Kendrick Newton and Odis Miller eventually stepped up to the task of containing Thompson for the night. Jones threw his last touchdown pass to Lafoy Smith for 8 yards. It would be Jones’ last score of the night.
With 2:34 left in the first quarter, the senior was brought down after he ran for 12 yards and was slow to get up. He was helped off the field and was replaced by junior quarterback Justin Gorman.
Hembree then put the load on Cox and the running back took matters into his own hands. On fourth-and-1 at the goal line with 13 seconds left in the first half, the Lumberjacks went for it and Cox scored the clutch 1-yard touchdown.
“It wasn’t no question,” Hembree said. “It’s No. 6 and he wanted it. On fourth-and-1, he’s got to able to get one yard.”
Cox opened the second half with a 35-yard touchdown run.
“When Drake got hurt it became all him. And I thought when Darveon (Brown) came in and Justin came in they did a great job,” Hembree said.
And while the defense kept sending Dardanelle’s offense back to the sidelines, Gorman picked right up where Jones left off. The junior threw an 18-yard pass to give Gonder, his second touchdown of the night, late in the third quarter.
Brown, a junior wide receiver, pitched in at the quarterback position, throwing a touchdown pass to Kaleel Thomas right before the end of the third quarter.
Taking a 41-6 lead and initiating a running clock, the Lumberjacks gave up a fourth quarter touchdown when Dardenelle’s junior running back Timothy Tucker found his way in the end zone through the second-string defense of Warren. Brown answered back with a 67-yard touchdown run with a minute left in the game to secure the win.
Warren will host Arkadelphia in the quarterfinals next Friday in a game that matches up two No. 1 seeds.