Looks can be deceiving. Rose Bud proved that by battering the burly, sleek looking Junior Bears of Barton 42-14 on Thursday night in 2-3A conference action at Rambler Stadium.

Looks can be deceiving. Rose Bud proved that by battering the burly, sleek looking Junior Bears of Barton 42-14 on Thursday night in 2-3A conference action at Rambler Stadium.

On the game's first snap, Rose Bud quarterback Jake Cantey hit slot back Devin Reed, who split two defenders and raced 59 yards for a touchdown. As it turns out, the Junior Ramblers were just getting revved up.

Leading 6-0 after Reed's catch and run, Rose Bud (4-0, 2-0) scored again just over three minutes later when Cantey kept around right side, where he broke a tackle and dove over the pylon from three yards out to complete a spectacular 13-yard touchdown run. Cantey's two-point conversion pass fell incomplete, leaving the Jr. Ramblers' lead at 12-0 with 4:45 left in the first quarter.

Rose Bud Jr. High Coach Matt Porter said his team looked sharp heading into a big week of preparation for Harding Academy. "It's assignment football when you play Barton. They definitely have athletes. We talked all week about not letting them get outside because we are not going to catch them. Our defensive line shut down everything up the middle and we told our linebackers nothing gets outside.

"We feel pretty good that we can score with people," Porter continued. "We've got a big offensive line with three or four guys that can run the football. Jake [Cantey] can throw the ball and we have a couple of big-time receivers to throw it to. They came through big tonight."

Barton moved deep into Rose Bud territory when tailback Mason Hunter broke free for 42 yards down the left sideline but linebacker Payton Jones dropped Hunter for a 5-yard loss on the next play. Jones, dominant defensive linemen Ryan Schaumleffel, Sam Strain and the rest of the Jr. Ramblers' defense stiffened, holding the Jr. Bears on downs while pushing them back to the 42-yard line.

Barton pinned Rose Bud at its 11 with a good punt but the Jr. Ramblers would cover 89 yards in seven snaps for a score. After Reed broke two tackles for 17 yards while powering through the teeth of Barton's defense, Jones rumbled for nine yards over right side.

On second and 10, Reed shed a defender and burst up the gut for 26 yards as Rose Bud entered enemy territory. Jones added two more runs for a total of 11 yards while dragging tacklers along the way and setting up a first down as the first quarter came to a close.

On the first play of the second quarter, Cantey faked a handoff and kept around left end, used a stiff-arm to elude a defender at the 11 and sped into the end zone for a 26-yard touchdown. With 7:36 left in the second quarter, Barton held on the two-point attempt, leaving the Jr. Ramblers' lead at 18-0.

With Barton backed up on a third and long, Trent Reed intercepted a pass over the right side, setting up Rose Bud's next score. On third and 17, Cantey threaded a needle to receiver Palmer Spurlock, who used great concentration to make the catch just over the defender's shoulder while running full speed down the right seam for a gain of 32 yards.

Two plays later Cantey rolled right and hit Spurlock for a 6-yard touchdown with 2:42 remaining in the second quarter. On the two-point conversion, Cantey threw a quick pass to Devin Reed, who turned up field and eased into the end zone for a 26-0 lead.

Rose Bud tacked on another score late in the first half when Cantey hit Devin Reed on an out route for a 10-yard touchdown, which was set up by a 28-yard swing pass from Cantey to Jones. Cantey, who completed 9-of-10 passes for 179 yards and four touchdowns, connected with receiver Brody Frizzell on a slant route for two more points on the conversion, extending the Jr. Ramblers' lead to 34-0 with 35.9 seconds left until halftime.

Barton (0-4, 0-2) scored on its opening possession of the second half on a 1-yard sneak by quarterback Malcolm Vincent, who capped an 8-play, 57-yard drive that included a 33-yard run from running back Keelan Graves. Jones stuffed the two-point attempt, keeping Rose Bud's lead at 34-6 with 4:07 left in the third quarter.

The Jr. Ramblers put the mercy-rule into effect by responding with a 6-play, 51-yard drive.
Following a 16-yard completion from Cantey to Jones off a swing pass,

Cantey found Frizzell open down the right seam for an 18-yard touchdown. Cantey then rolled right and hit Spurlock for two more points on the conversion, giving Rose Bud a 42-6 lead, which placed the mercy-rule into effect, meaning the clock would run without stopping with few exceptions for the remainder of the contest.

Early in the fourth quarter with Rose Bud substituting freely and playing reserves, Barton added one more score when running back Deterius Swain took a sweep around right end for a 38-yard touchdown. Vincent kept for two more on the conversion, setting the final at 42-14.

The Jr. Ramblers are now focused on Harding Academy. Rose Bud has fared well against Harding of late, winning two of the past three games in the series. This week's clash between the Jr. Ramblers and Jr. Wildcats at Harding University's First Security Bank Stadium in Searcy will likely carry conference championship implications.

"Next week (Thursday) will be huge against Harding Academy on the turf," said Porter. "I know we are on their radar now because we have beat them two out of the last three so they will be prepared for us. They have a great group so it will be tough. I know Bald Knob and Riverview are going to be [contenders] too. But, Harding is first and foremost right now."

Opening kickoff is set for 7 p.m.