Saturday, October 7, 2017
PINE BLUFF -- An early ambush from Jonesboro was all the motivation Pine Bluff needed to rally for a critical 6A-East Conference victory on Friday night.
Sophomore quarterback Tyler Foots completed 14 of 22 passes for 301 yards and 5 touchdowns to carry the Zebras past the Golden Hurricane 48-34 at Jordan Stadium.
"He didn't play his best football, and I was close to yanking him because he was making some really bad decisions," Pine Bluff Coach Bobby Bolding said of Foots, who also had an 8-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter to put the game away. "But for a sophomore to be playing against this type of competition and being able to execute, that says a lot. That takes somebody with some ability to be able to do the things he was able to do in this game.
"He's got a lot of things to fix, but he did a very good job."
Senior wide receiver Jyrimee Thompson caught 7 passes for 230 yards and 4 touchdowns for Pine Bluff (5-1, 3-0), which trailed 14-0 in the first quarter before scoring 35 unanswered points to pull away.
Senior quarterback A.J. Aycock finished 15-of-26 passing for 318 yards and 4 touchdowns while junior running back Daniel Johnson had 153 yards of total offense and scored twice for Jonesboro (4-2, 2-1).
Jonesboro took advantage of two Pine Bluff miscues to open up a two-touchdown cushion in the first quarter after its first two series but had 17 yards of offense over the final six drives of the first half. The Hurricane also struggled trying to slow down the Zebras' offense once they got untracked.
"Explosive plays killed us," Jonesboro Coach Randy Coleman said. "We gave up too many big plays, and we got behind the chains too much on first down. And any time you get predictable on offense where you have to pass against a good team like Pine Bluff, you're in trouble.
The Zebras failed on a fake punt attempt at midfield on the game's first possession, and the Hurricane needed five plays to score, getting a 36-yard touchdown run from Johnson to grab a 7-0 lead.
Jonesboro got the ball back three snaps later when senior defensive back Rasun Kazadi intercepted Foots' pass at the Zebras' 45 and scored on the next play when Aycock found senior wide receiver Daishon Fountain to make it 14-0.
Pine Bluff settled in from that point on and began to assert itself on both sides of the ball.
The Zebras scored touchdowns on four of their next six drives.
Thompson's 71-yard score cut the deficit in half, and his 52-yard touchdown catch tied the game at 14-14 with 5:13 left in the second quarter. He added a 5-yard touchdown less than a minute later to hand Pine Bluff its first lead of the game.
A blocked punt led to another Pine Bluff touchdown.
Foots' 19-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Diaundre Ellison with 1:46 remaining put the Zebras up 28-14 before halftime.
Pine Bluff scored its fifth consecutive touchdown on Braylon Moody's 2-yard third-quarter run before Aycock's 86-yard yard touchdown pass to Johnson with 8.1 seconds left pulled Jonesboro to within 35-21.
Foots erased any hopes Jonesboro had of a comeback when he hit Thompson for an 85-yard touchdown with 11:02 left in the game.
"Once we settled down, we did OK," Bolding said. "We found a few things we could do offensively, and we had to tweak our defense some. We've got to do a better job of tackling in space, but overall, I was pretty pleased with the way we battled back after getting down early."
Sports on 10/07/2017
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