After two weeks of games called prematurely by lightning, the Conway Wampus Cats played again in the rain but produced thunder Friday night.
Running back Jeff Anderson rushed for 219 yards on 25 carries and the Cat defense came up with big plays in fourth-down situations, as the Cats surged past Cabot, 31-21, on a wet night on Centennial Bank Field at John McConnell Stadium.
The Wampus Cats (2-0) and the Panthers (2-1) were engaged in a old-style, Cabot-Conway grind-it-out contest when Kevasia Tate turned the game around late in the third quarter. After Cabot had drawn within 17-14, the Conway defender tossed about Cabot’s Kyle Edgar on a sweep on fourth down and recovered the resulting fumble at the Conway 45.
Four plays later, Cody Rhoades found Brandon Cox all alone behind the Cabot defense for a 43-yard gain. Anderson scored from 4 yards out on third and one to put Conway up 24-14 with 8:25 left.
After the Panthers failed to convert on fourth down, T.J. Ruth gave the Cats some breathing room with a 16-yard run.
Cabot scored in the final minute on a 29-yard run by Zachary Launius.
The Cats took the lead on their second possession, driving 91 yards in 10 plays using a steady dose of Anderson, who set up the touchdown with a 34-yard run. Brannon Kotch, an offensive lineman running from Conway’s ‘Big Cat formation, scored from a yard out to put CHS up 7-0 with 1:18 left in the first quarter.
Cabot drove to the Conway 23 but a wide-open receiver dropped the ball on fourth down.
The Cats then used Anderson, Kotch and Brandon Cox on a steady drive to the Cabot 15, where Matt Cummins booted a 32-yard field goal. Devin Dooley made a diving interception on fourth and inches at the CHS 30 to preserve Conway’s 10-0 lead going into halftime.
Cabot came back with its traditional grinding offense to drive 70 yards in 11 plays to draw with 10-7 with 7:31 left. The Panthers scored on a fourth-down pass from Kason Kimbrell to Keith Pledger.
With the rain subsiding, the Cats opened up their offense with Rhoades passing 37 yards to Cox and 19 yards to Austin Morgan to set up Anderson’s 14-yard run to pull to a 17-7 lead with 6:26 left in the third.
Cabot came back with a 47-yard drive with Edgar scoring on a sweep to pull within 17-14 with 4:26 left in the third.
Conway opens conference play on the road next week at Russellville.
Two other Faulkner teams won Friday night with Greenbrier defeating Benton and VIlonia romping past Beebe.
The Panthers (3-0) defeated their second straight 6A opponent, rallying from an early deficit behind quarterback Seth Peters, running back Austin Fishcer and an opportunistic defense for the 23-13 victory over Benton.
The Panthers had two touchdowns called back in the game at Benton
“Another win on another nasty night,” said Greenbrier coach Randy Tribble. “We fell behind early, got some big plays and hung on for a win. After they scored early, we settled down on defense and didn’t let them score any more.”
The coach praised Peters for his handling of a wet ball. Fischer and Gerrell Williamson made some big plays on offense. Jesse May had an interception and was the Panthers’ leading tackler. Jacob Colbert and Fischer also had interceptions. Justin Adlong also had some big plays on defense.
The Eagles (2-0) shut out their second straight opponent, outscoring the turnover-prone Badgers (0-3) 26-0 in the second half on the way to the 32-0 victory over the Badgers.
A 14-yard touchdown reception by Chase Marshall gave the Eagles a 6-0 halftime lead.
Kyle Wyatt scampered 39 yards for a score in the third quarter that opened the floodgates.
After an interception return by Michael Atkinson, the Vilonia defensive back switched to quarterback and passed 12 yards to Drew Estes to put the Eagles up 19-0 early in the fourth quarter.
Vilonia then pulled away with late touchdowns by Houston Cotton and Wyatt.
The Eagles continued their homestand Friday against Harrison.
At Rose Bud, the Ramblers outscored Conway Christian 26-13 the second half to hand the Eagles their first loss in three games, 33-20.
The Ramblers rushed for 484 yards on 53 carries and passed for 83. Cole Robertson rushed for 260 yards and Christian Reynolds had 224 yards. Rose Bud added 83 yards passing.
CCS had 96 yards rushing and 172 passing.
Tanner Stevenson passed 27 yards to Chandler Ferrand late in the first quarter to tie the game at 7.
The Ramblers then scored 20 straight points.
Robertson scored on a 20-yard run to cap a 73-yard drive in the third quarter. He added a touchdown on a 44-yard scamper on the late in the third quarter.
Rose Bud went up 27-7 when Robertson scored from 4 yards out to cap a 70-yard drive.
Ancil Lea scored from 9 yards out for CCS in the fourth quarter but Rose Bud came back with a 73-yard drive and a scoring pass from Reynolds to Spencer Starkey. Stevenson passed 6 yards to Ferrand in the fourth quarter to complete the scoring.
Ferrand had 93 yards on seven catches for CCS. Lea rushed for 84 yards on 18 carries.
The Eagles open conference play at home Friday night against Poyen.
At Mayflower, Salem rallied for a 34-28 victory, handing the Eagles (1-2) their second straight loss.
Mayflower opens conference play Friday night against Perryville.