The Carlisle Bison dominated both sides of the ball in beating the England Lions 30-14 in the regular-season finale Friday night at Fred C. Hardke Field.
With the win, the Bison will play Mount Ida in the first round of the Class 2A state playoffs next Friday at home. Also, Des Arc upset Hazen 20-16, giving the Bison a co-conference championship.
"That was a big win," Carlisle coach Scott Waymire said. "They’ve got a lot guys back up front and they are a little bigger and stronger than us.
"Our offensive line has taken some heat. But I thought they controlled the game. Our offensive line controlled the game and our running backs did a good job of blocking for each other and running hard. It was a good win."
Waymire was proud for his seniors.
"We get to come back and play at home," he said. "We had a bad taste the last time we were home [16-14 loss to Hazen]. We sure didn’t want our season to end that way at Fred C. Hardke. So it was a big win for our seniors and our fans."
Carlisle finished with 320 yards in total offense — all rushing. England had 91 yards rushing and 36 yards passing.
The Bison took an 8-0 lead on the first possession of the game, driving 67 yards in 14 plays with Josh Mathis scoring on a 5-yard run with 4:35 left in the first quarter. Austin Reed added the two-point conversion.
Carlisle forced a 3-and-out on England’s first possession, the drove inside the Lions 10. It appeared twice that Carlisle scored touchdowns. One was negated by an illegal motion penalty. The second was reversed by an obscure penalty. Deron Ricks appeared to score on an 8-yard run but the officials called it back for Ricks jumping over his offensive linemen. The officials said he leaped a defender, which is apparently illegal in high school football.
That led to Ricks kicking a 30-yard field goal with 9:47 left in the first half, giving the Bison an 11-0 lead.
Carlisle drove the ball deep inside England territory but Chris Hart was intercepted by England’s Josh Fudge, who returned the ball 58 yards to the Carlisle 35. That led to Curtis Rogers scoring on a 9-yard run with 59 seconds left to cut the Bison’s lead to 11-6.
The Bison scored 12 consecutive points to lead 23-6 with 9:42 left in the game. Mathis cored on a 1-yard run with 4:19 left in the third quarter and Ricks scored on an 8-yard run with 9:42 left in the game.
England scored its second touchdown on an 18-yard pass from Tyrik Harris to Derrell Drayer with 7:13 left in the game. The pair hooked up for the two-point conversion to cut the Bison’s lead to 23-14.
Carlisle responded with another touchdown on an 1-yard run by Ricks with 59 seconds left. He kicked the extra point to push the lead to 30-14.
England’s final drive ended on an interception by Justice Bryant.
Ricks led the Bison with 146 yards rushing on 17 carries. Bryant had 69 yards on 17 carries. Reed added 49 yards on 11 carries.
Waymire said his team’s ultimate goal is to win the state championship but getting a share the 2A-6 title is still big.
"Des Arc beating Hazen tonight is a break for our seniors to say they won conference three years in a row," Waymire said. "We know we dropped the ball against Hazen."