Turnovers. They can make or break a team on the football field, and on Friday night, turnovers proved to be the difference maker between the Rison Wildcats and the Camden Harmony Grove Hornets.
The Hornets gave up five first half turnovers (two interceptions and three fumbles) against the Wildcats. The Wildcats took full advantage, and capitalized on three of them for scores.
"That is just what we try to do here." said Rison head coach Clay Totty. "I think we have been able to get more takeaway's in the first four games this year than we did all of last year. I'm just really proud of our kids for stepping up against a team with bigger players, and getting the job done."
Rison did in fact get the job done, despite a third quarter rally which put the Hornets within a score of the Wildcats.
After leading 19-0 at the break, Rison gave up two quick scores, the first with 8:08 remaining in the third quarter when Hornet quarterback James McKelvin scored from two yards out. After the kickoff, the Hornets would for Rison to punt, and Ticorian Berry would return the punt 55 yards for the score.
The Wildcats would then go on a 18 play drive which ate up nearly 10 minutes of the second half, which was capped off by a 5 yard touchdown run from Raphael Caldwell with 8:49 remaining in the game.
Rison would hold the Hornets defensively, and would then go on an 8 play, 69 yard drive capped off by a five yard A.J. Smith touchdown run with 2:43 to play to give the Cats a 33-14 advantage.
Harmony Grove was not finished though, and would strike quickly as McKelvin would find Devonta Broadnax in the flats, and he would take it 80 yards for the score. The two-point-conversion would bring the score to 33-22.
The Hornets, out of timeouts, would have a chance late to add another score. However, after failing to convert on third down, confusion ensued and McKelvin would spike the ball in an attempt to stop the clock, not realizing it was 4th and 1. Rison would take over on downs, and end the game after taking a knee.
Harmony Grove head coach Tommy Chambers gave his thoughts following the game.
"That is just how Rison plays football." said Chambers. "They pound, and pound and pound on you, and they made no mistakes. We had five turnovers in the first half. You can't make that many mistakes and expect to win. Rison just lined up and whipped us, especially in the first half. They whipped us in every facet. My hat is off to them. Rison was ready, and we weren't. We came back, but it was too little, too late."
First Quarter 8:01 Raphael Caldwell-Rison-8 Yards
Second Quarter 6:57 Jerry Marshall-Rison-2 yards
1:49 Juan Jones to Raphael Caldwell-Rison 69 yards
Third Quarter 8:08 James McKelvin-Camden Harmony Grove-2 yards
5:39 Ticorian Berry-Camden Harmony Grove-55 yard punt return