The Carlisle Bison still have East Poinsett County’s number.
The Bison (10-1) ended the Warriors’ season for the third year in a row, wining 37-26 in the second round of the Class 2A state playoffs Friday night at Lepanto.
"It was a good ball game," Carlisle coach Scott Waymire said. "We’ve played those guys for three years and they’ve been real competitive ball games the past three years. They’ve got a good ball club.
"Our guys came out and made plays when they had to, converted on some fourth downs and we were making stops defensively when we had to."
EPC coach Brian Weathers said the loss was tough for his club.
"The loss hurts enough. My last football game in 1995 was at Carlisle and that’s the last game I ever played, so they are four up on me now," EPC coach Brian Weathers. "A loss is a loss, though, and I don’t think the opponent matters much, not in my book anyways."
The Bison finished with 327 yards rushing on 42 carries. Deron Ricks had 180 yards on 18 carries. Justice Bryant had 105 yards on 15 carries. Chris Hart had 26 yards on six carries.
"They run really hard and block really well. That style of play shows where we are lacking and that’s strength up front," Weathers said. "For the most part we hold our own, but when we get against the physical teams like Salem and the Carlisles of the world, that is our Achilles’ heel right there. We just have to continue to get stronger and hopefully one day we will have their number."
The Bison took an 8-0 lead on the first possession of the game. Bryant scored on a 40-yard run with 9 minutes left in the first quarter. Ricks added the two-point conversion.
EPC tied the game at 8-8 with 1:52 left in the first quarter. Trevor McDaniel scored on a 7-yard run then the Warriors added the two-point conversion.
Carlisle reclaimed the lead at 14-8 following a 2-yard run by Hart with 9:05 left in the first half. EPC tied the game at 14-14. Aaron Scales scored on a 1-yard run with 2:41 left in the first half. Bryant returned the ensuing kickoff 58 yards, which set up the Bison taking a 22-14 halftime lead. Hart scored on a 1-yard run with 13 seconds left. Bryant added the two-point conversion.
EPC took the second half kickoff and marched 60 yards in 13 plays, capped by Scales’ second 1-yard keeper. Byron Scales came up short on the two-point conversion with 6:42 remaining in the third quarter.
Carlisle moved ahead 30-20 when Bryant scored from 14 yards out to cap an eight-play drive that covered 65 yards. Ricks’ two-point conversion came with 2:09 left in the third quarter.
Ricks scored again on a 21-yard run with 5:18 left in the game. He kicked the extra point to give the Bison a 37-20 lead.
EPC’s Quin Young hauled in a 50-yard touchdown pass from Scales with 3:55 left in the game to cut the deficit 37-26.
The Bison will now play the Mineral Springs Hornets this Friday at Fred C. Hardke Field. Game time is 7 p.m.
Mineral Springs is 9-3, having beating Poyen 48-8 last week.
This is also the fifth time the Bison have advanced to the quarterfinals during Waymire’s seven years at Carlisle.
"They are athletic," Waymire said of the Hornets. "They’ve got a running back in Rashad Williams who has rushed for more than 5,000 yards in his career. Not very many people in the state have done that."
However, several media reports have said Williams was ejected during the Hornets’ win over Poyen and will be suspended for Friday’s game at Carlisle.
Associate Executive Director Don Brodell of the Arkansas Activities Association confirmed via e-mail Tuesday morning that a Mineral Springs player was ejected and will be suspended per AAA rules.
Waymire said the Hornets are similar to EPC.
"They try to spread out their athletes and put their guys into open spaces," Waymire said
Waymire said the Hornets are big on the offensive and defensive lines.
"They’ve got a good ball club," he said. "That’s why they are playing the Friday after Thanksgiving."
Waymire said his team must stick to what it does best.
"We can’t give up big plays," he said. "We’ve got to be able to grind it out, just keep the ball out of their playmakers’ hands."
The Jonesboro Sun contributed to this story.