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Walnut Ridge’s Mason Ashlock tackles a Salem ball carrier as teammate Hunter Covey #70 looks on during Friday night football action. The Bobcats came up short, falling to Salem 40-22.

Two late touchdowns by Salem thwarted Walnut Ridge’s comeback attempt as the Greyhounds handed the Bobcats a 40-22 defeat Friday night at Sexton Field.

Salem led 20-0 early in the second quarter, but Walnut Ridge fought its way back into the contest. Quarterback Kai Watson scored on a one-yard run, then passed to Jaden Blaylock for the two-point conversion to bring the Bobcats to within 26-22 with 10:48 to play in the game.

The Greyhounds responded with a touchdown to stretch their advantage to 32-22 with 5:19 remaining. Salem added a final touchdown and conversion with 4:31 to play to seal the victory.

Watson scored Walnut Ridge’s first points on a 10-yard run with 5:05 to play in the second quarter. He then ran for the conversion to cut Salem’s lead to 20-8.

The Bobcat quarterback found the end zone again, this time on a three-yard run, midway through the third period. Watson passed to Walker Ward for the conversion as Walnut Ridge closed the gap to 20-16. A Greyhound touchdown in the final minute of the third quarter increased Salem’s lead to 26-16.

Watson was the Bobcats’ leading rusher, with 76 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries. He was also 10-of-17 passing, for 98 yards.

Ward finished with 32 yards on 12 carries, and Korwin Johnson had one carry for nine yards.

Ward led the Bobcat receivers, with seven receptions for 80 yards. Blaylock finished with two receptions for 16 yards, and Mason Andrews caught one pass for two yards.

Walnut Ridge is now 0-2 on the season. The Bobcats host East Poinsett County this week. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Sexton Field.

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