JONESBORO - Jonesboro rallied from a 13-point second-half deficit and beat El Dorado 31-20 Friday in the conference opener. Both teams walked away with 2-2 overall records.
The Wildcats managed two first downs in the fourth quarter.
“Offensively, we couldn’t get anything going in the fourth quarter,” said El Dorado coach Steven Jones. “We made some mistakes we really didn’t make throughout the course of the game, a couple holding calls, a snap issue in the fourth quarter, little things that set us back.
“In the end, Jonesboro just made more plays than we did.”
After a high shotgun snap foiled an offensive possession for the Wildcats, the Golden Hurricane marched 69 yards for the go-ahead score. Ryker Acebo connected with Kavon Pointer for a 22-yard touchdown with 10:33 left in the fourth quarter. Tenison Roscoe’s PAT gave Jonesboro a 21-20 lead.
The Wildcats went three-and-out and the Golden Hurricane mounted another drive from the 44 to the El Dorado 2. Roscoe booted a 20-yard field goal with 5:31 remaining to push the lead to 24-20.
Offensively, the Wildcats continued to struggle. Sharmon Rester hit RJ Thomas for 20 but, after a 1-yard run by Shadarious Plummer, the next plays were two incomplete passes and a sack on fourth down.
Jonesboro put the game away with a short 22-yard drive, helped by a pass interference flag on third-and-8. Acebo scored on a 1-yard run with just over a minute remaining to put the final nail.
El Dorado struggled to connect on big plays in the passing game thanks to pressure from the Golden Hurricane defense, which sacked Rester on numerous occasions.
“We just missed a couple times in pass pro or didn’t get the ball out hot,” Jones said. “It was some things that are easily fixed and we’ll get ‘em fixed up headed into Pine Bluff.”
Jonesboro scored on its opening drive to take a 7-0 lead. The Wildcats answered in the second quarter. Rester hit Jackie Washington for 47 yards to the 1-yard line. Plummer scored on the next play. Rojemi Aydogdu tied the game with the PAT with 9:20 left in the second quarter.
Aydogdu pooched the ensuing kickoff and El Dorado recovered when Jonesboro couldn’t handle it at the 43. Rester scrambled for 16 for a first down and, two plays later, scored on a 25-yard run. The PAT gave the Wildcats a 14-7 advantage with 7:07 left in the half.
That was the score at the half and then El Dorado took the ball in the third and drove 77 yards in 11 plays. Washington had a 23-yard reception and then hauled in a 22-yard touchdown pass from Rester on fourth-and-2.
The PAT was blocked, leaving the margin at 20-7 with 6:32 left in the third.
El Dorado’s defense had locked up Jonesboro throughout much of the opening half. But a pair of roughing the passer penalties aided the Golden Hurricane, which scored on Acebo’s 15-yard TD pass to Jesse Washington late in the third.
Jonesboro would score on its final four possessions of the game.
“Our defense played with a lot of effort. We just have to finish. They came out on the opening drive and scored and we played really good defensively throughout the rest of the game until right there at the end. Jonesboro just made a couple of plays toward the end of the fourth quarter to put us away,” said Jones.
“I told our kids I’m proud of their effort. I thought they played really hard for four quarters. They never gave up and kept fighting. I’m proud of that. We can build on that. We’ll be ready to go next week.”