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Wisdom's 5 TDs lift Saints into semifinals

by Henry Apple | November 27, 2021 at 2:43 a.m.

Eli Wisdom accounted for five touchdowns, four of them in the second half and one coming on a defensive play, as Shiloh Christian advanced in the Class 4A playoffs with a 41-7 quarterfinal victory over Rivercrest on Friday in Wilson.

The win allows the Saints (12-1) to reach the semifinal round for the fourth straight year as they return home for next week's game against Arkadelphia, a 49-21 winner over Crossett. The two teams met in the 2018 semifinals at Champions Stadium and Arkadelphia, under current Farmington coach J.R. Eldridge, claimed a 30-17 win.

"We're excited to be back at Champions Stadium," Shiloh Coach Jeff Conaway said. "We know that Arkadelphia is going to be a very, very good football team in all three phases. I've been keeping up with them, and they will be very difficult for us to stop. We'll have to prepare well and play well."

Shiloh, which defeated Rivercrest 58-20 in last year's state championship game, led 14-0 at halftime as Wisdom hit Cooper Hutchinson with a 24-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, then Bo Williams scored on a 13-yard run in the second quarter. Ben Baker preserved the Saints' lead when he intercepted a pass in the end zone with 22 seconds left.

Wisdom then took control as he capped Shiloh's opening drive of the second half with a 13-yard touchdown run. He later added a 7-yard touchdown run, then scored from 5 yards out after Caleb Widger recovered a sky kick and made it a 34-0 game with 19 seconds left in the third quarter.

"It was one of those slugfests early in the game," Conaway said. "Both teams were taking their shots and being extremely aggressive. I was very proud of how our guys attacked that third quarter. We had that huge drive to open the second half, then a few stops and continued to score. It was nice to see the tempo we wanted to establish pay off for us.

"We love touchdowns, and we don't care how we get them. Eli's explosive, and our offensive line and our H-back did a great job of giving him a run lane. Once he sees a little space, he's hard to catch."

Wisdom closed out Shiloh's scoring on defense when he intercepted a pass and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown with 11:08 remaining to put the running clock into play.

Rivercrest (8-3), the top seed from the 4A-3 Conference, avoided a shutout when Mike Sharp hit Michael Rainer with a 40-yard touchdown pass with 46 seconds left.

Print Headline: Wisdom's 5 TDs catalyst for Saints


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