After the horn sounded for the end of the first quarter, Friday night, fortunes changed for the worse for the Mineral Springs Hornets.
At that point, the Class 3A Fouke Panthers held a slim one-point lead over their Class 2A visitors, but in the second and third quarters, Fouke’s speedy backs and receivers rolled up 34 points while their defense was holding MS scoreless. Final score: Fouke 41, Mineral Springs 14.
With 22 seconds remaining in the third stanza, following a 62 yard drive which was aided by two major penalties against the Hornets, the Panthers scored and the ‘mercy rule’ was in effect.
In the first quarter, Mineral Springs answered Fouke’s first touchdown when Hornet QB Octavian Ceaser darted nine yards on a busted play. A try for two points failed, but MS trailed just 7-6.
Fouke scored again early in the second stanza and gained the ball again on a strange event. Mineral Springs thought it was third down, but the officials thought it was fourth. Instead of being able to punt following the next play – an incomplete pass – the ball went over to the Panthers over MS Coach Jason Burns’ objections.
The MS defense held the Panthers out of the end zone, but the Miller County crew would score again just before the half. That score came despite several holding calls which nullified long Panther scoring runs. One flag was thrown when the Panther coach apparently objected too much to the holding calls.
Trailing 20-6 at the start of the third quarter, the Hornets opened a drive to the Fouke 36 where a fumble ended the threat. In the next four minutes the Panthers would score three TDs.
Mineral Springs got the final score against a mixture of Fouke regulars and subs. The score came on a three yard burst by Ricky Walker. The two-point try was a successful run.
Tempers were short in the game’s final minutes and the Hornets were on the wrong end of unsportsmanlike penalties. One Hornet was ejected. The Hornets were penalized nine times for 90 yards.
Mineral Springs will have its home opener this week, hosting the Strong Bulldogs.
Ceaser completed 6 of his 13 pass tries and had 67 yards with one interception. Leading receivers were Kevonte Esters and Raheem Brown, each with two.
Ricky Walker also led Hornet tacklers with nine. Other Hornets with more than one tackle included Fred Robinson, Atonnio Alexander, Tahji Beal, Peyton Haddan and DeShaun Compton.