Old momentum took a big swing in the second half Friday night at Fred C. Hardke Field.
With Rison seemingly in control at halftime, leading 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 beat the Wildcats 30-19 in the quarterfinals of the Class 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 two-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 seven plays the Bison covered 51 yards to the end zone, capped by Ricks’ 3-yard scoring plunge. Ricks also tacked on another two-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.
Carlisle coach Brandon Barbaree said his team made little mistakes in the first half.
“Our defense was about a step late in the first half,” he said. “We went in at halftime and the kids were calm and didn’t panic. I think they knew if they just stayed the course and did the little things right, everything could take care of itself. We got some breaks and everything worked out for us.”
Barbaree said his team kept fighting.
“Our kids are a bunch of fighters and played one play at a time and ended up coming back with a big victory,” he said.
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.
Ricks led the Bison with 209 yards and four touchdowns on 22 carries. Weddle had 117 yards on 16 carries.
The Bison are scheduled to play the Junction City Dragons in the Class 2A state semifinals this Friday at El Dorado High School, weather permitting.