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LR Catholic holds after early flourish

After racing to a 17-0 lead, the Little Rock Catholic Rockets came up with enough big plays to hold of Fort Smith Northside 34-28 in a 7A-Central game Friday night at War Memorial Stadium.

Samy Johnson, who gained 147 yards on 21 carries, scored on a 79-yard run on the Rockets' second play, but what looked like an easy night didn't turn out that way.

"This is a Friday night in this league,'' Catholic Coach John Fogleman said. "There are some elite teams that might run away with some games, but other than than it's a fight."

After Johnson's scoring run, the Rockets (3-3, 1-2 7A-Central) added a 32-yard field goal and two extra points from Chris Elser, and a 30-yard fumble return from junior linebacker Nicholas Gonzales for a 17-0 lead with 10:23 left in the half.

[HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SCOREBOARD: Live updates and scores from tonight’s games]

All seemed under control until Northside's Jackson King broke a 54-yard touchdown run for the first Grizzlies (2-4, 1-2) score. They followed that with a 2-yard TD run by quarterback Derrick Wise, and after Jose Paredes' two extra points it was 17-14 with 3:31 left in the half.

Catholic led 24-14 at the half when Luke Schildknecht raced in from 37 yards out and Elser, who battled cramps in his leg, added the extra point.

King scored from the 5 with 7:40 left in the third quarter to make it 24-21, but Jake James hit Nick Cobb with a 27-yard touchdown pass with 2:05 left in the third quarter for a 31-21 score.

King added this third TD, this one a 4-yard run with 9:01 left, and it was 31-28.

Alan Infante recovered an onside kick for the Grizzlies, but the drive was short-lived when Bryce Stine recovered a fumble on the next play.

After overcoming a first and 25 and running more than six minutes off the clock, the Rockets settled for a 42-yard field goal from Elser and a 34-28 lead with 2:09 left.

"We overcame,'' Fogleman said. "We had a fumble when we were up 10 and had a chance to put the game away, and we fumble and they go down and score. But we responded. I thought our kids did a good job."

The Grizzlies' final drive, which started on the 20 after Elser's sixth touchback of the night, went backward and ended on fourth down.

Sports on 10/07/2017

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