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story.lead_photo.caption Joe T. Robinson running back Mekel Kentle (right) catches a touchdown pass over Gosnell defender Cadarius Young in the Senators’ 38-14 victory Friday night in the Class 4A quarterfinals at Charlie George Stadium.


With the game's biggest stop and biggest play, all the momentum swung in favor of the Joe T. Robinson Senators in their 38-14 quarterfinal victory over the Gosnell Pirates in the Class 4A state playoffs Friday night at Charlie George Stadium in Little Rock.

Robinson (12-0) led 21-14 at halftime, but Gosnell had possession to start the second half with a chance to tie or take a one-point lead. It drove in six plays from its 33 to Robinson's 40, where it faced 4th-and-1. Gosnell had converted all of its fourth-down opportunities in the first half, so when senior linebacker Lekamerin Tolbert stopped junior running back Devin Burks for a 1-yard loss on Gosnell's first fourth-down opportunity of the second half, Robinson's defense turned a corner.

"We needed that," Robinson Coach Todd Eskola said. "That put us in a position where we could take a two-score lead, which was important in a game like this."

"That was a big stop for them," Gosnell Coach Brandon Barbaree said. "Their defense really picked it up in the second half, but that didn't surprise us. We knew they were going to be a great challenge."

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Gosnell (9-4) had 154 yards of total offense in the first half. It had 15 in the second.

"That's about how it felt," Barbaree said.

Whereas Robinson scored on its first 3 possessions of the first half and Gosnell on its first 2, the teams combined for 4 consecutive scoreless drives to start the second half.

It seemed likely the streak would extend to five when Robinson faced 3rd and 21 from its 29 early in the fourth quarter, but junior quarterback Greyson Tackett's 71-yard touchdown pass to junior receiver Mekel Kentle broke the points drought and gave Robinson a 28-14 lead with 9:50 left in the game.

A holding penalty against Robinson prior to the touchdown would have put it at 2nd and 40 from the 10, but Gosnell declined the penalty to leave Robinson with one play to pick up a first down.

"When we were backed that far up, there really wasn't a lot we could do," Eskola said. "But at 3rd and 15, or whatever it was, we could run a play that we practice every day."

"They got over the top on us on that one, but they're a great team," Barbaree said. "We were glad to have a chance."

Tackett completed 9 of 11 passes for 189 yards and 2 touchdowns. Robinson senior running back Ceasar Warren carried 20 times for 79 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Gosnell senior quarterback Brandon Partee completed 5 of 5 first-half passes for 101 yards and 2 touchdowns. He was 0 for 8 in the second half.

"Obviously Robinson played a great second half on defense," Barbaree said. "But we felt good about the way we played tonight. I thought we played like a quarterfinal team. We gave ourselves a chance."

After Tackett's fourth-quarter touchdown pass, a turnover on downs by Gosnell led to a 20-yard field goal by junior Trent Eskola with 4:52 left. A Gosnell fumble on its next possession set up junior Zaytron Waits' 1-yard touchdown run that completed the scoring with just under three minutes to play.

Gallery: Gosnell at Joe T Robinson 11.24.17

Sports on 11/25/2017

Print Headline: Everything goes in favor of Robinson over Gosnell

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