MH Bomber Football
11/08/2014

West Memphis too much for MHHS

SONNY ELLIOTT, sports@baxterbulletin.com 11:40 p.m. CST November 7, 2014

A safety and a touchdown in the final minute of the first half allowed the West Memphis Blue Devils to take a two-score lead and the Mountain Home Bombers never caught up in a 41-19 loss Friday night in the season finale for both teams at Bomber Stadium.

Mountain Home finishes at 0-10 on the year, its second consecutive winless season. West Memphis ends the year with a 3-7 mark.

West Memphis grabbed the early lead in the game when Martavius Thomas ripped off a 20-yard touchdown run. The Blue Devils would go up 13-0 with 10:18 left in the second stanza when Stanley Gaines broke free for a 55-yard scoring gallop.

After turning the ball over on downs twice in West Memphis territory in the first quarter, Mountain Home finally got its offense clicking with a mix of runs from quarterback Zane Walker and running back Dakota Sutterfield.

Sutterfield produced runs of 11 and 6 yards to take the ball into West Memphis territory, then broke a big 29-yard burst for a first-down at the 1-yard line. Mountain Home avoided disaster when a shotgun snap eluded Walker and the ball disappeared into a scrum at the 10-yard line.

After a consultation of officials, the play was nullified by an inadvertent whistle and the Bombers again had the ball at the 1-yard line. Two plays later, Sutterfield swept around right end for the score and Jose Hernandez drilled the PAT kick to make it 13-7.

Mountain Home's defense stepped up and forced a pair of punts, but the second kick was downed inside the Bombers' 1-yard line and the game's momentum changed immediately.

Sutterfield took a handoff and carried around left end and was met at that the goal line. Though the senior appeared to have the ball outside the goal line, the play was ruled a safety. Mountain Home was then flagged for two unsportsmanlike penalties after the safety, and the Bombers were forced to conduct the free kick from the 5-yard line.

The Blue Devils returned the free kick to the 7-yard line, and Quintavious Coleman punched it in from there as West Memphis took a 21-7 lead at the half after the Bombers foiled the 2-point conversion.

"We've gotten better every week. They came out and tried to do what they do, which is run the sweep game and the inside run," said Mountain Home head coach David Joyce. "We adjusted to their speed after the first series and started playing better defense, but right before the half, giving them some easy points was tough on our guys. We tried to fight our way back into the game and we got a few scores in there, but it was too much to overcome in the end."

The Bombers showed their fight in the third quarter by marching all the way to the West Memphis 12-yard line before turning the ball over on downs. Marcus May sparked the drive with receptions of 16 and 13 yards, and Drew Strope and Cord Smith provided several nice runs.

After the teams exchanged punts, Mountain Home came up with another defensive stop and tackled the Blue Devils' punter at the West Memphis 41 after a muffed snap.

The Bombers were able to capitalize on the turnover when Walker hit Strope with a 43-yard touchdown pass after a 2-yard loss on first down. Mountain Home's 2-point conversion attempted failed, but the Bombers were back in the ballgame trailing 21-13 with :49 left in the third quarter.

West Memphis immediately retaliated with a 71-yard run by Thomas to send the lead to 27-13, and then tacked on the 2-point conversion to bump the advantage to 16 points at 29-13 with .

Mountain Home fired one last salvo when Walker and Strope connected for an 80-yard touchdown pass on a fake punt early in the fourth quarter. The 2-point conversion failed, leaving the score at 29-19.

West Memphis pulled away down the stretch with 56- and 31-yard touchdown runs by Stanley Gaines, while Mountain Home's final two possessions ended in interceptions as the Blue Devils posted the 41-19 win.

Joyce was proud of his team's effort in a game that was marred by penalties and controversial calls.

"There was some calls out there that you just have to shake your head at," he said. "Our guys, up until the very last whistle, they were playing as hard as they could. Drew Strope was completely exhausted, he could even speak. But he was still going as hard as he could out there. We can build off that. This offseason is going to be very good for us. We just have to keep getting better."

West Memphis outgained Mountain Home by a narrow 418-386 margin. All of the Blue Devils' yards came on the ground as head coach Billy Elmore's team ran 48 times on the night. Gaines gashed the Bombers for 236 yards rushing on 17 carries, while Thomas ran 16 times for 150 yards.

Walker had the biggest passing night of his career, hitting on 11 of 22 attempts for 240 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Strope hauled in three passes for 145 yards, while May grabbed five balls for 54 yards.

The Bombers ran the ball 44 times for 146 yards. Sutterfield had 50 yards on nine carries to led Mountain Home. Strope ran six times for 36 yards, Smith had 32 yards on nine totes and Walker kept 19 times for 28 yards. Charlie Grissum had one carry for minus-2 yards and three catches for 41 yards.

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