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West Memphis ends 6-game skid, nips Sheridan

by BILLY WOODS SPECIAL TO THE DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE | October 23, 2021 at 2:46 a.m.

WEST MEMPHIS -- It took a final play in the end zone, but the West Memphis Blue Devils withstood a late charge for a 21-20 victory over Sheridan in 6A-East action Friday.

Facing fourth and 5 from the West Memphis 11, the Yellowjackets tried a reverse pass from Levi Flora to David Myers, but it was broken up with 42 seconds to play to end the Blue Devils' six-game losing streak.

In a game marred by turnovers, the Blue Devils (2-6, 1-4) shook off four of their own in the first half and cashed in on costliest miscue of the night.

The Blue Devils' Daniel Kelly pounced on a fumble by Sheridan quarterback C.J. Dollarhide at the Sheridan 12 with 8:26 to play in the fourth quarter.

Mardarius Warren, who scored two touchdowns, scored on the next play, running 12 yards for the go-ahead score and erase a 20-14 Sheridan advantage.

"We needed something to lift our spirits and that fumble gave our sideline some energy," said Warren, a senior who scored on a 73-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

Warren was inserted into the game after starting running back A.J. Motley suffered a knee injury in the first quarter.

"When A.J. went down I decided to step up," Warren added. "I've been playing running back since my 10th-grade year, so I knew what to do."

It could have been a disastrous first half for West Memphis, but after turning it over four times, three of which came on interceptions, it trailed only 12-7 at halftime.

But Warren burst through the Sheridan line and then past the secondary on his way for the 73-yard score to give West Memphis only its second lead in any game since the Blue Devils' opening game.

The lead didn't last long, though.

Dollarhide's 14-yard touchdown with 11:15 remaining and a two-point conversion gave the visitors a 20-14 lead.

Sheridan (2-6, 0-5) was looking to drain some time off the clock when the Jackets took possession at their own 13 midway through the final quarter. But on second down, Dollarhide fumbled the snap and Kelly was right there for the recovery.

After Warren's go-ahead TD, the Yellowjackets had one more opportunity to take the lead. They gained possession on their 37 with just over four minutes to play.

Two key third-down conversions and a fourth-down conversion put Sheridan at the West Memphis 16, but a false start on second and 5 from the 11 proved costly for the visitors.

Flora's pass into the end zone was knocked down by Brandon Peters to preserve the West Memphis win.

"Proud of our defense for holding on there," West Memphis Coach Robert Hooks said. "We made this game closer than it should have been, but we overcame our mistakes."

Print Headline: West Memphis stops six-game losing streak

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