The Carlisle Bison vanquished the Mount Ida Lions 39-14 in the first round of the Class 2A state playoffs. In the process, they will meet a familiar foe in the second round this week.
Carlisle (9-1) will face East Poinsett County on Friday in Lepanto. The Bison have beaten the Warriors the previous two seasons in the playoffs — both at Carlisle.
EPC is 10-1, having beating Norphlet 52-14 in its first-round game Friday.
Carlisle coach Scott Waymire said the Warriors have all their linemen back on both sides of the ball.
"They are still doing the same things," Waymire said. "They are spreading it out. They’ve got tons of weapons. They don’t have one guy that you can concentrate on."
A year ago, the Warriors were lead by A.J. Turner, who is now starting for the Arkansas Razorbacks at linebacker.
"Honestly, overall, I think they may be better than they were last year," Waymire said. "I think their team speed on defense makes up a little bit for the loss of A.J. Turner."
The Warriors lost quarterback Darius Barnes to graduation, as well.
"They are playing a sophomore there and watching throughout the season, he has progressed," Waymire said. "They may not have the big-play potential they had last year but he puts them in good position."
Waymire said his team has a similar philosophy it had the previous to years against EPC.
"We can’t give up big plays against those guys," he said. "They’ve got plenty of weapons."
Waymire said his team must move the ball offensively.
"If we can keep the ball away from them … sometimes that’s our best defense," he said. "When we keep the ball, it’s hard for them to score. We need to grind it out and run right at them and hold on to the football."
Waymire said his team won’t be intimidated by playing at EPC.
"In the playoffs, you just want to play," he said. "Of course, if we win this game, we get to play a quarterfinal game at home no matter who it is. We’re excited about that possibility but we’ve got to take care of business."
In Carlisle’s win over Mount Ida on Friday, the Bison had little to no problem with the Lions.
Carlisle took a 6-0 lead on a 45-yard run by Justice Bryant with 8:52 left in the first quarter. The Bison added to their lead on a four-yard run by Deron Ricks with 2:23 left in the first quarter. The extra point was no good, leaving the score at 12-0.
The Bison scored three touchdowns in the second quarter to lead 33-0 at halftime. Chris Hart scored on a one-yard run with 9:04 left in the half. Hart threw to Austin Reed for the two-point conversion.
Carlisle’s next score came on a seven-yard run by Ricks with 6:08 left. The Bison’s last touchdown of the game came on a 29-yard run by Hart with 43 seconds left. Ricks kicked the extra point.
The Bison then got the 35-point mercy rule into effect when Hart scored on a 16-yard run with 8:15 left.
Mount Ida scored two second half touchdowns.
Waymire said his team need a quick start against Mount Ida.
"We felt like we needed to get on the board early because what they do offensively can put you into a bind," Waymire said.
Carlisle finished with 354 yards in total offense. Hart completed 8 of 12 passes for 128 yards. He also rushed for 50 yards on nine carries.
"Chris Hart had a heck of a game," Waymire said. "He converted on some third down situations for us."
Bryant led the Bison with 100 yards rushing on four carries. He also caught two passes for 39 yards.
Ricks had 68 yards rushing on 11 carries.
Austin Reed caught four passes for 62 yards. Braden Reed caught two passes for 27 yards.
Waymire was pleased with his defense.
"I was worried about them getting three yards at a time," he said. "The defensive line probably played its best ball game of the year and we were shorthanded with Christian Cotton being out.
"Hopefully, we’ll keep on rolling and keep on playing well."