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WEST MEMPHIS -- West Memphis rallied from a 17-7 halftime deficit with a solid ground game for a 34-31 victory over Blytheville.

The Blue Devils (1-1) were held to minus-1 yard rushing in the first half, but a 64-yard return on the second-half kickoff by Cedric Loving jump-started the host's rally.

Loving scored two second-half touchdowns as the Blue Devils rushed for 135 yards on the ground in the third and fourth quarters.

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"We came out and played harder in the second half, but that's about it," West Memphis Coach Billy Elmore said. "It was not the level of play that we expect from our guys, but Cedric's kickoff return seemed to pump a little life into us."

The Chicks (0-3) used two scoop-and-scores from 65 yards or longer to put a jolt into West Memphis. The first came from Kylen Wells, who scooped a West Memphis fumble on its second play from scrimmage and ran 85 yards for a touchdown and 6-0 Blytheville lead.

Jermel Woods -- who rushed for 101 yards in the first half -- scored on a 6-yard touchdown run with 4:59 left in the first quarter for a 14-0 Chicks lead after a two-point conversion pass from quarterback Jeremiah Northern to Tyquin Love. Blytheville's Maki Rainer booted a 29-yard field goal for a 17-0 lead.

West Memphis got on the scoreboard with 4:27 left in the second quarter when quarterback Owens McConnell connected with Nathan Watson for a 17-yard touchdown pass.

Loving, who rushed for 112 of the Blue Devils' 135 yards on the ground in the second half, set up his team's offense at the Blytheville 17 after his second-half kickoff return. Three plays later, he trimmed the Blytheville lead to 17-14 with an 11-yard touchdown run.

McConnell, who was 8-of-13 passing for 103 yards, threw his second touchdown of the game to Jaylin Shephard for a 19-yard score to give the Blue Devils the lead for good at 21-17.

Loving gave the Blue Devils the cushion they needed when he scored on a 9-yard touchdown run with 1:33 left in the third quarter for a 27-17 lead.

Sports on 09/14/2019

Print Headline: Loving gives Blue Devils a jolt

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