Rebels roll past Black Knights
West Memphis Christian suffers a mercy- rule loss to Tri- County
On the West Memphis Christian Black Knights first play of the game, senior quarterback Parker Benson dropped back and hurled a pass downfield which was promptly picked off by a Tri-County Rebels defender.
That set the tone for a metaphorically long night at West Memphis Christian which saw the MAIS Class A Black Knights (2-2 overall) wind up on the wrong end of a 42-6 mercy-rule loss to the MAIS Class AA Rebels (2-2).
Key to the visitor’s success, the Rebels averaged 7.4 yards per rush, totaling 281 yards on 38 carries and finding the end zone four times on the ground.
“They physically whipped our buts up front,” said West Memphis Christian head coach Marcus Davidson. “We couldn’t stop them running. I was a little bit leery of it going in. We’re not as physical and aggressive as we were last year, but we’re trying to get back into that mode.
They came out tonight and just gave us an old fashion whipping out behind the barn and there was nothing we could do about it.”
As the Rebels continued to pile on points, Davidson and the Black Knights attempted to air the ball out and catch up quickly.
So far this season, the passing game had been a friend of West Memphis Christian’s, but not last Friday night as the Black Knights found very little success against a stingy Rebels secondary which picked off three passes on the night.
Overall, Benson, who entered last Friday’s game with a 59 percent completion percentage, 721 yards and 10 touchdowns on the season compared to only one interception, completed just five of 22 passes for 65 yards and a touchdown which came via a 33-yard Hail Mary on the final play of the game.
Davidson says the Rebels secondary looked much different in person than they did on film.
“They played their flats up more than what they showed in practice,” Davidsons aid.
“Everything else was more of a Cover 2 look with the safties off but they put some backers out there in those flats and whipped us up front. We couldn’t block them. We mixed some blitz coverages which mixed up our passing stuff. We were able to get off a few tonight, but we just dropped balls by trying to run and get up field before we caught the ball.”
Though the Rebels started off the second quarter with a 35-0 advantage, causing the mercy-rule to be in effect the entire second half, the Black Knights did manage 101 yards on the ground as a team, led by senior Malik Barrow’s 51 yards, averaging 5.9 yards per carry.
“We’re still there and our identity is still running the ball,” Davidson said. “But, I knew that they were tough up front and bigger and stronger than we were. So, we were going to try and throw it around a little bit. They took that away and we were able to fool them by lining up in pass formations and get some draws and quick traps and stuff underneath them.”
Though the Black Knights offense didn’t see the Rebels side of the 50 until already trailing by 28 points, West Memphis Christian did have their chances, once getting as close as the Tri-County 8yard line before throwing a pick, coming up short on a 4th-and-inches near midfield,
fumbling and losing
a kick return and only managing to steal one of four total Rebels fumbles.
Davidson says that humbling defeat is welcome and that, with a bye-week looming, the Black Knights have plenty to work on as West Memphis Christian prepares for it’s homecoming match on September 21.
“It’s much needed,” Davidsons aid. “We’re going to go back to the drawing board next week.
We’re going to go back to the basics. We’re going to push sleds. We’re going to run routes. We’re going to learn how to catch the football and use it like two-a-day type practices to get fundamentally sound and try to get some more people back as well.”
The Black Knights welcome Lee Academy (2-2) for their homecoming on the 21st. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.
By Collins Peeples