HOT SPRINGS, Ar. — Neither Hot Springs Lakeside, or its head coach Jared McBride have been to Wynne, Ar. That changes next week when the Rams play Wynne (9-1) in the first round of the 5A playoffs.
Lakeside (5-4) earned its opportunity to play Wynne Friday night at Hot Springs by outscoring the Trojans, 48-29. Wynne lost its regular season finale to unbeaten Nettleton, 26-22.
“I’ve never played there (Wynne) before,” said McBride. “I don’t know anything about them, we’ll get into that this weekend. I did see Wynne play at Hope in the playoffs one year when they had DeAngelo Williams (former NFL star). I’m excited about getting to play.
“Hot Springs is good offensively, but our kids did a good job of keeping them out of the end zone. I’m proud of our coaches for a good plan, and the kids for executing it. We had some big plays tonight, and must continue to make big plays to be successful.”
Four lead changes in first half
There were four lead changes in the first half Friday night at Hot Springs.
The Rams scored first on a 10-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Jordan Mills with 8:10 left in the first quarter.
Lakeside was threatening again seconds later after an interception by junior Christian Bell. There was a dramatic change of momentum when a high snap sailed over Mills’ head and rolled 27 yards through the end zone for a safety.
The Trojans took the ensuing free kick and scored in five plays on a 6-yard run by senior Pierce Smalley. Sophomore Anthony Lewis kicked the PAT and Hot Springs led, 9-7.
It took Lakeside only 53 seconds to answer on a spectacular 71-yard pass play from Mills to senior Chase Cross. The Rams scored again on their next possession, a 4-yard pass to Skylar Purifoy. Andrew Degrasse’s kick made it 22-9 with 10:30 left in the first half.
Wynne next for pass-happy Rams
Once again the momentum turned in the Trojans’ favor. Senior Robert Linnear replaced Smalley, who was cramping. Linnear scored on a 25-yard run with 6:12 left in the half, and again with 4:04 remaining on a 15-yard sweep by Linnear, who finished with 61 yards on eight carries. The latter score put Hot Springs back on top, 23-22.
Thirty-six seconds later senior Victor Lopez hauled in a pass from Mills, turning it into a 72-yard scoring play. Mills’ fifth touchdown pass of the night was to Wolf with five seconds remaining to give the Rams a 34-23 lead at intermission.
Mills completed 10 of 20 passes in the first half for 281 yards and five TDs. The Rams had more than 300 total yards with sophomore Braylen Russell finishing the game with 105 yards on 23 carries. Mills was 16 of 31 for the game for 389 yards. Russell also caught four passes for 79 yards. Wolf had four catches for 60 yards, and Chase Cross contributed two receptions for 116 yards.
Both defenses stepped up in the second half. Senior Brock Garner caught a short TD pass, and Chance Cross ran 13 yards for six points with 11:52 left in the game to make it 48-23. Twenty seconds later Linnear caught a short pass, broke several tackles near the sideline, and danced 53 yards for a touchdown.
Hot Springs quarterback Isaac Shelor completed 9 of 23 passes for 124 yards. He had a few dropped, and nine penalties cost the Trojans at least one score. Smalley led the Trojans’ ground game with 87 yards on 14 carries. Lakeside outgained the Trojans 510 to 294.