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Newport Independent - Newport, AR
  • Hounds, Dollarway thrill fans again

  • To longtime Greyhound fans, the Dollarway Cardinals often elicit strong reaction despite a rather short history.
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  • The Cardinals were the thorn in the side of one of the most dominant periods in Greyhound history, knocking off Newport in the 1988 and 1989 State Championship games and the 1990 semi-finals. The duo renewed their "rivalry" in 2006 with Newport upending the Cardinals 12-8 in the opening round of the playoffs and met again in the 2008 semi-finals with Dollarway preventing the Hounds from playing in the State Championship game with a 24-23 overtime victory. The classic battles between the two schools inducted another member Friday night as overtime was again needed to determine a winner. The Cardinals sent Newport back to Jackson County following a classic 44-42 overtime loss. "My gosh, that was a heck of a game," head coach Jeromy Poole said following the contest. "I can't say enough about how hard our kids played. It was very evident to everyone here tonight." Offensive coordinator Don Harrison echoed Poole's feeling shortly after the game. "This is one of the best high school games I've ever been a part of. We're proud of our kids and how they performed and how hard they fought. I am so proud of them." After building a 14-0 lead early in the first half for the second week in a row, Poole's Greyhounds fell behind 22-14 before showing their head coach perhaps their most important trait. "Our kids played their hearts out tonight, I am so proud of those young men. I just can't say enough about them, they are a great group," he explained. "They just play with so much heart." One play after Dollarway had broken the 14-14 tie with an 89-yard scoring drive, freshman tailback Carl Turner broke free for a 60-yard scoring run to cut the lead to two. The Greyhounds two-point attempt was no good to send Newport to intermission trailing 22-20. After trailing 28-20 a the end of the third quarter, Newport answered two plays later as Kristen Crite added a 2-yard run and a two-point conversion to tie the game. With 8:27 remaining in the game, Dollarway scored on a 60-yard touchdown run and added a successful two-point conversion for a 36-28. Again the Hounds responded as they put together an 8-play drive that covered 75-yards and culminated with a 5-yard, fourth down touchdown pass from Gunnar Bullard to Garrett Smith. Deondre Elston added the successful two-point conversion to tie the game at 36-36 with 4:41 remaining. Bullard's throw and Smith's catch caught Harrison's attention. "That throw that Gunnar (Bullard) made to Garrett (Smith) in the end zone to tie the game at 36-36, that was a great play and we have been working so hard on that," he explained. "It is so cool when you work on stuff and then the kids come and execute it. The way our kids are executing at such a high level, I can't complain." As time ticked away in regulation, the Cardinal offense was stopped by the Newport defense forcing a punt with 1:29 to go. Taking over on their own 6-yard line, the Newport offense moved to the Dollarway five with two catches by Crite totaling 68 yards served to give the Hounds a chance to knock off the state's number three team in regulation. Setting up a potential game-winning field goal, the Hounds called a timeout and called on senior do-everything performer Chris Grady, whose 22-yard field goal attempt with :04 remaining was blocked by the Cardinals to force overtime. In overtime, Turner scored on a 6-yard run, but the Hounds could not cash in their two-point conversion attempt on their opening series. Dollarway scored on a 10-yard touchdown run and added the two-point conversion to remain unbeaten on the season (4-0, 1-0). Newport (2-2, 0-1) jumped out to the 14-0 lead after producing scoring drives on their first two possessions. Crite scored on an 11-yard run on the opening drive and Elston added a 5-yard score on the Greyhounds second possession. Grady added the point after following both touchdowns. Dollarway answered scoring on three consecutive drives to take a 22-14 lead. For Newport, Turner led the way with 219 yards and a score on 19 carries. Crite had 15 carries for 125 yards and two scores. Bullard added 19 yards on 5 carries while Elston had 9 yards and a touchdown on 2 totes. Grady chipped in with 4 yards on 2 carries. Bullard was 8 of 19 passing for 99 yards and one touchdown. He did not throw an interception. Turner had 3 catches for 10 yards while Crite had 2 for 68. Charley Bell caught 1 for 15, Garrett Smith had 1 for 5 yards and a score while Denver Smith had 1 catch for 1 yard. Defensively, sophomore linebacker Khiran Stafford recorded 11 tackles while his senior counterpart Stephen Neal had 7 stops. Colton Willis, starting for the injured Reid Johnson, made 5 tackles as Divante Armstrong, returning from injury, made 4. Jesse Simmons and Elston had 3 tackles each. Shufon Alcorn and Grady each had 2 tackles while Tim Brown and Ramiro Macias had one stop each. With the conference opener behind them, the Hounds now turn their attention to Lonoke as Homecoming Week looms. "We didn't see any letdown after the Sylvan Hills game but that was what we preached to them. After the loss to Sylvan Hills and when they came in to watch film on Sunday, we told them, 'we have to put that behind us, it is all water under the bridge.' The same holds true this week." Poole added, "It is going to take a big man to come back from that right there, that was a tough loss, but we have to show up Sunday, put it behind us and get focused on Lonoke. We can't let this haunt us for the rest of the season." Immediately following the loss the second year head coach already had begun preparations for his team moving forward. "I think what we have to do to move forward is make them understand where they are. They are executing in all phases of the game. Obviously we will watch film and there will be some things that we need to correct, but we have just got to keep them believing." "It is there, we have a great core, we just can't let them get down on themselves." Poole and his coaching staff believe in the kids and he feels that they are on the verge of something special. "I think we are starting to peek around the corner right now. Obviously it would have been great to have won that right there, but...I'm just so proud of our kids." Newport and Lonoke kick off at 7 p.m. at Greyhound Field in a game between winless teams in the 2-4A conference.

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