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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Ramblers ravage Bulldogs

  • Rose Bud scored on its first six possessions on Thursday night at Rambler Stadium, slicing rival Quitman's defense to shreds despite a driving rainstorm and relentless wind created by the remnants of Hurricane Isaac.
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  • Rose Bud scored on its first six possessions on Thursday night at Rambler Stadium, slicing rival Quitman's defense to shreds despite a driving rainstorm and relentless wind created by the remnants of Hurricane Isaac.The Ramblers, who recorded their first shutout in school history, jumped out to a 40-0 halftime lead and rolled to a 47-0 victory as the clock ran continuously throughout the second half due to the mercy rule.
    Junior quarterback Christian Reynolds ran nine times for 133 yards and three touchdowns while completing 1-of-3 passes for 55 yards and another score. Junior running back Cole Robertson added 78 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries.
    "We thought our offensive line played well, the backs ran hard and we did a good job of running the offense," said Rose Bud Coach Steve Rose. "We knew with the wind the way it was we would have limited chances throwing the ball. We took a shot with Spencer [Starkey] and hit a big play early with the wind. Our goal late was for the young guys to make plays to get the first shut out in school history. We are proud of that."
    Quitman Coach Fritz Heidenreich was impressed with the Ramblers. "Rose Bud has an excellent team. We knew they were going to have a good team. We made a few mistakes but it was mostly just them being good. They whooped us up and down the field physically at the line of scrimmage, they ran hard and I give all of the credit to them."
    Quitman received the game's opening kickoff and ran into trouble on third and 2 when quarterback Walker Johnson lofted a pass deep down the left side, where Rose Bud outside linebacker Tyler Weatherly came down with a leaping interception in front of Bulldog receiver Hunter Martin.
    Weatherly returned the interception 56 yards to the Quitman 4 and the Ramblers scored three plays later when Reynolds faked an inside handoff and kept around left end for a 1-yard touchdown with 9:23 remaining in the first quarter. Trey McCann's extra-point attempt sailed wide left, leaving Rose Bud's lead at 6-0.
    Quitman marched into Rose Bud territory on its second possession before the Ramblers' defense stiffened. On fourth and 2 from the Rambler 32, Robertson and company stuffed running back Allen Mannon at the line of scrimmage, forcing a turnover on downs.
    Three plays later, facing a third and short, Reynolds faked a handoff and dashed around left end for a 59-yard touchdown with 5:00 left in the first quarter. Quitman stopped the two-point conversion, leaving Rose Bud's lead at 12-0.
    "He (Reynolds) is as good and athletic as any kid I've coached at that position and he is only going to get better," said Rose. "He has another year left so we are going to enjoy the recruiting process with him."
    Page 2 of 3 - With the rain starting to pick up, Rose Bud forced a three and out as linebacker Daniel Strain blew up a third and four by throwing Quitman for a 6-yard loss and forcing a punt, which sailed out-of-bounds at the Rambler 45.
    On the Ramblers' first snap of their third possession, Reynolds dropped back and hit Starkey streaking down the right hash for a 55-yard touchdown with 3:03 left in the first quarter. The Bulldogs stuffed Robertson on the two-point conversion, leaving Rose Bud's lead at 18-0.
    A clipping penalty on the ensuing kickoff backed the Bulldogs up to their own 7. Quitman never got out of the hole as Weatherly stayed home on a reverse to receiver Jamen Ellis, who met resistance in the end zone, where he spun out of a tackle before Weatherly finished him off for a safety and 20-0 lead with 2:08 left in the first quarter.
    "Tyler did a great job staying in coverage and being where he was supposed to be and we got a big turnover early with them throwing into the wind," said Rose. "He came back with the safety and at that point we were off an running."
    Rose Bud flipped Weatherly's safety into another touchdown, this time covering 39 yards in 10 plays for a score. Facing a fourth and short on the first snap of the second quarter, Robertson powered over right side for 11 yards, setting up first and goal from the Bulldog 7.
    On third and goal, Robertson spun out of a tackle in the backfield and stretched across the goal-line for a 2-yard touchdown with 9:49 remaining in the second quarter. Reynolds kept around right side for two more points on the conversion, extending Rose Bud's lead to 28-0.
    Quitman managed to move the chains for the second time in the contest when Johnson found Hunter Martin for eight yards on third and seven but the Bulldogs never recovered from a false start as the Ramblers took over on downs when Johnson's deep pass on fourth and 11 fell incomplete as Rose Bud cornerback Bodhi Perry provided tight coverage.
    The Ramblers covered 51 yards in four plays for another score. Following a false start penalty, sophomore running back Caleb Ferren contributed an 8-yard tackle-breaking run then Reynolds took off for 27 yards on a keeper around right end.
    On second and 6, Reynolds kept again, this time bursting over right tackle and through the secondary untouched for a 17-yard touchdown with 5:53 left in the second quarter. Quitman stacked up Robertson short of the goal-line on the two-point conversion, keeping the Ramblers' lead at 34-0.
    Derek Robinson returned Rose Bud's kickoff 18 yards into Rose Bud territory at the 47, but the Ramblers' defense forced four straight incomplete passes and another turnover on downs.
    Rose Bud marched 53 yards in eight plays for a score as Robertson churned out gains of 12, 9 and 5, while Reynolds added nine more on the ground. On second and goal, Robertson capped the drive, ramming an inside handoff behind center for a 1-yard touchdown with 1:47 left until halftime. Quitman stopped Reynolds inches short on the two-point attempt, leaving the Ramblers with a 40-0 lead.
    Page 3 of 3 - Quitman continued to plug away, moving deep into Rose Bud territory behind a 12-yard run from Mannon and a 19-yard gain off a Martin reverse, which set up a first and goal from the Rambler 10.
    After backup quarterback Hadley Martin kept for five yards on second down, the Ramblers held tight. A botched exchange cost the Bulldogs five yards then Hunter Martin's fourth-down pass into the end zone fell incomplete.
    Rose Bud picked up where it left off in the second half as Osiris Jauregui recovered Quitman's onside kick attempt at the Rambler 45, where the home team began a 6-play, 55-yard scoring drive.
    Ferren, who rushed for 32 yards on four carries, broke two tackles for an 18-yard gain and Robertson took over from there, plowing up the middle for four yards and again for five yards and a touchdown. McCann added the PAT, giving Rose Bud a 47-0 lead with 7:30 left in the third quarter.
    Using primarily reserves for the remainder of the game, Rose Bud ran out the clock with its running game and continued to play stifling defense to protect the school's first shutout.
    Heidenreich said he felt the wind hindered both teams' passing attack. "The weather played a part but they like to pass too. We just couldn't execute. We went to our two-back set and tried to run and they shut us down. They did a real good job. I think they are going to do real well this year," added Heidenreich.
    Rose Bud generated 345 yards of total offense (55 passing/290 rushing), while limiting the Bulldogs to only 124 yards. Mannon led Quitman with 14 carries for 72 yards, while Hunter Martin added 38 yards on seven attempts.
    Quitman (0-1) hosts Magazine on Friday for its home opener, while Rose Bud (1-0) has an open week because Marshall cancelled its season only two days into fall camp.
    "We've got to finagle our schedule around a little bit to make sure we keep ourselves in tune and hot,' said Rose of the upcoming layoff. "We are going to get out and do some scouting tomorrow night (Friday) and next week and maybe get a look at some of our opponents. We've just got to keep getting better every week because our conference is tough," stressed Rose.
    Rose Bud now holds a 3-2 series edge in its annual rivalry game with Quitman.

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