Bobcat center Wyatt Davis prepares to snap the ball as he is flanked by right guard Mason Ashlock and left guard Sebastian Hoffman during Friday night’s action. Walnut Ridge opened the season with a 30-20 loss to Highland.

The Highland Rebels jumped out to a 22-0 first-half lead and went on to defeat the Walnut Ridge Bobcats 30-20 in senior high football action Friday night at Highland.

The Rebels scored two touchdowns in the first quarter and followed each with a two-point conversion to take a 16-0 lead. Highland added a touchdown at the 8:21 mark of the second period, but failed on the conversion, leaving the score at 22-0.

Walnut Ridge closed the gap heading into intermission when Walker Ward scored on a three-yard run with 45 seconds to play in the first half. Kai Watson passed to Mason Andrews for the conversion to cut the Rebels’ lead to 22-8.

Highland scored on a running play late in the third quarter and added the two-point conversion to push the lead to 30-8 after three periods.

Walnut Ridge wouldn’t go away, though. Xavier Dettman scored on a 14-yard run early in the fourth to bring the Bobcats to within 30-14 with 11:07 to play.

Watson found Ward with a 28-yard touchdown pass with 1:20 remaining in the contest to make the score 30-20, which would prove to be the final score.

Watson finished the game with nine pass completions on 16 attempts, for 133 yards and one touchdown. He also carried the ball 14 times for 35 yards.

Ward led Walnut Ridge in rushing, with 49 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. Dettman finished with 33 yards and a touchdown on five carries.

Ward also led the Bobcat receivers, with four receptions for 84 yards and a touchdown. Andrews had three catches for 36 yards. Dettman caught one pass for nine yards, and Logan Dickson had one reception for four yards.

Walnut Ridge plays its first home game of the season on Friday night when they host the Salem Greyhounds at 7 p.m. at Sexton Field.

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