FORNEY, Texas — Coming out of halftime Friday night, the Jackrabbits looked as though they had finally figured out the problems on offense and were giving Jackrabbit fans a show. With the backfield empty and 5 wide receivers, Senior QB Campbell Anderson was 13 for 16 for 185 yards in the next three series, throwing 2 touchdowns passes to Senior Wide Receiver Riley McMurren in process. However that was about all of the offense that Forney could produce as they fell to Sulphur Springs Friday night 32-13 at City Bank Stadium. The loss puts the Jackrabbits at 2-4 on the season and 1-3 in District 8 5AII.
The star of the night for the Jackrabbits was Senior Wide Receiver Riley McMurren. Riley, who has been very quiet after getting hurt just before the game against Lindale, had a breakout night with 6 catches for 132 yards and 2 TDs. He had multiple catches in which he had to elevate over the defense and “Moss” a few Wildcat defenders.
The Jackrabbits won the toss and elected to receive the ball to start the game. Unable to advance the ball, they were forced to punt. The punt was deflected and the Wildcats had fantastic field position. So the Forney Defense had to take over, and they certainly responded. They forced Sulphur Springs to turn the ball back over on downs thanks partly to a sack from OLB Westin Beeman. The teams exchanged punts once again, but this time the Jackrabbit punt returner dropped the ball and Sulphur Springs took over the Jackrabbit 23 yard line. The Wildcats went backwards from there. Several penalties and great defensive plays by Sr LB Tochukwu Anusiem forced the Wildcats to punt. Then Anderson threw his first of 2 interceptions on the night and once again the Wildcats took over deep into Jackrabbit territory. The Jackrabbit defense responded yet again, holding Sulphur Springs to a field goal. LB Anusiem (Tochi) made plays all over the field, including several in the backfield. Rumor is he was sick during the game but from where I was sitting, Tochi had his best game of the season. He led Forney with 12 tackles for the night, followed up by Dalbrett Nzdishongong with 9 and Dylan Patrick with 8. A couple more Jackrabbit turnovers resulting in a 15 yard touchdown run by Choc Sims and a 30 yard field goal by Brandon Zavala found the Jackrabbits down 13-0 at half.
The second half opened up with Sulphur Springs marching right down the field to score making it 20-0. They then opted for an onside kick that they recovered. 2 plays later and the Jackrabbits were down 26-0. This is the point in the game in which the Jackrabbits finally put it together. The next three series were the most exciting we have seen out of the Jackrabbit offense all year. Campbell completed passes to 8 different receivers. He looked smooth and confident and absolutely picked the Wildcat defense apart, including a 32 yard strike to JR wide receiver Braden Benjamin. The score was 26-13 and there was still an entire 4th quarter to play. If the Jackrabbit Offense was going to play like this, then Jackrabbit fans were going to be in for a treat. However defensive adjustments were made and the Jackrabbit Offense stalled out once again. Another Wildcat touchdown made the score 32-13 which would eventually be the final.
Anderson ended the night going 17 for 35 for 238 yards, 2 TDs and 2 INTs. He would also rush 14 times for 35 yards. As mentioned earlier, McMurren led the receivers with 6 catches for 132 yards and 2 TDs, followed by Braden Benjamin with 2 catches for 34 yards. Jayln Phillips, Aaron Mount and Sam Guercia all had multiple catches on the night as well as Braydon Kirkland, Nick Newville and Josh Stephens who each had a catch. Senior K/P Colby Ortega had 6 punts on the night for 238 yards, with his longest being for 50 yards.
The Jackrabbits have a bye this Friday before they prepare for the Ennis Lions. Ennis sits atop the district at 4-0 and are ranked #18 in Div 5AII.
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