By Tony Burns
El Dorado's defense was dominant and the Wildcats did enough offensively to pull away from Texarkana 28-0 Friday night in the regular-season finale at Memorial Stadium. The Wildcats improved to 9-1 overall and secured the No. 2 seed from the 6A-West into next week's state playoffs.
El Dorado earned a first round bye. The Razorbacks fell to 5-5, 3-4.
The victory, Coach Scott Reed's 101st at El Dorado, tied him with Garland Gregory for the most coaching victories ever at the school. In his 11th season, Reed has posted a 101-38 record. Gregory posted a 101-42-6 record in 13 years (1953-1965) at El Dorado.
"It means I'm at a good place with a lot of good people and I've got a good staff," said Reed after the game. "Nick (Vaughn) and Jimmy (Johnson) have been here with me all 11 years. It takes every one of us. But, we've got good kids. Our kids work at it. They love it. We've got good support here. I'm blessed to be here at this time and be apart of it. Not a lot of coaches get to stay somewhere 11 years. I'm thankful for all 11 of the years. And, 101 is good. I'm proud of it. I'm proud of all the kids who have come through here and been apart of it."
Gregory passed away on April 28, 2011 at the age of 92.
"I met him one time. I didn't really get to know him," said Reed. "But, every one I've ever talked to just had so much respect for him. Obviously, he was quite a coach and mentor. It's awesome to be apart of that."
Reed's 101st win was about as "old school" as they come.
The Wildcats shut down Texarkana's big-play offense, holding the Razorbacks to 128 yards passing on 11-of-27 attempts with one interception. Peyton Perry had an interception and linebacker Tyrek Rucks returned a fumble for a touchdown.
"Defensively, we were awesome. Every time they moved it, we'd bend a little bit. Even when they got something going, we'd shut 'em down," said Reed. "Run defense was tremendous. They have really good weapons on the outside. I am so proud of our improvement defensively from where we were early in the year.
"We had a big challenge tonight defensively. To shut them out, my hat's off to our defense. Offensively, it wasn't always real clean but they're good defensively. They're physical and they move real well. Sometimes we didn't handle their movement but Darius Holly took care of the ball and Jarius Curry had the best game of his career. He ran downhill. He was physical. All of our backs were physical and finished runs north-south and that was the key."
Offensively for El Dorado, Holly completed 11-of-14 passes for 186 yards and a touchdown. The senior also rushed for 45 yards and a score. Jarius Curry bulled his way for 76 yards on 15 attempts and caught a touchdown pass.
The Wildcats were moving the ball early but their first drive derailed after a fumble on a jet sweep lost 34 yards and forced a 58-yard punt by Derek Jobe to the Texarkana 7. El Dorado kept the ball on the Razorbacks' end of the field and, on their third possession, found the end zone after a 78-yard drive. Taliq Ellis had a 37-yard reception before Holly hit Curry out the backfield for an 11-yard touchdown on third-and-goal. Greysen Hubbard added the PAT with 11:07 left in the second.
El Dorado's next possession produced a 10-play drive. But, Hubbard's 41-yard field goal attempt bounced off the crossbar.
The half expired with the Wildcats leading 7-0. El Dorado allowed just three first downs in the first half, including one on a pass interference penalty on third-and-10.
It was more of the same in the third quarter. On the Razorbacks' second possession, Gavin Heustis led a bull rush up the middle. Texarkana quarterback Sean Forback lost the ball and Rucks scooped it up at the 2-yard line and ran it into the end zone for the touchdown. Hubbard's kick pushed the lead to 14-0 with 7:15 left in the third.
The Wildcats' next drive moved the chains in chunks. Curry had a 17-yard run. Holly hit Shun Levingston for 18 and then kept himself for 15. On third-and-goal from the 3, Holly lofted a fade pass to Ellis. The senior came back and made a diving catch on the underthrown ball for the touchdown. Hubbard's boot pushed the lead to 21-0 with 3:19 left in the third.
El Dorado's final score came with 7:18 left in the fourth. Holly hit Jobe across the middle for 58 yards. Keontae Larry ran for six and then 10 to the 17. On the next play, Holly bobbled the shotgun snap and, on a busted play, sprinted into the end zone from 17 yards out.
Larry rushed for 56 yards on three carries. Jobe had three receptions for 78 yards.