By PAUL GLOVER
Special to The Log Cabin
BATESVILLE — The Batesville Pioneers shut out the Greenbrier Panthers in the second half here Friday night on the way to a 16-6 victory in the quarterfinals of the Class 5A state playoffs.
The defeat ended Greenbrier’s season at 9-3. The Panthers, the runner-ups in 5A-West, were in the Class 5A playoffs for the third straight year.
In their first meeting ever, the teams battled to a 6-6 first-half tie, but the Pioneer defense limited the Panthers to 65 yards of offense in the second half, and the 5A-East champions’ running game continued to grind away.
The Pioneers sacked Greenbrier senior quarterback Chase Roberts eight times, including five times in the second half. Roberts completed 17 of 26 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown. The score came on a 23-yard completion to senior wide receiver Reid Cone with 9:03 remaining in the first half. The score remained tied when Sam Burchfield missed the point-after kick low and to the left.
The Pioneers scored on their first possession of the night when junior tailback Emprea Childress burst up the middle for 56 yards and a TD. The snap on the PAT was errant and the football was never placed on the tee.
Batesville scored with the opening possession of the second half, driving 74 yards in 12 plays. Junior tailback Jordan Childress, Emprea’s cousin and the Pioneers’ leading rusher, scored on an 8-yard sweep around the left corner. Garcia’s PAT kick was good.
Garcia added a 21-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter, capping a 13-play, 93-yard drive. That possession was kept alive by a roughing-the-punter pentalty that gave the Pioneers a first down at the Batesville 37.
The Panthers’ only other scoring opportunity came early in the fourth quarter, when Roberts and junior receiver Seth Peters hooked up for a 51-yard pass play to the Batesville 13. The Pioneers turned that away as senior linebacker Hunter Vinson sacked Roberts on consecutive plays and Roberts, under heavy pressure, threw two incompletions.
The Panthers reached the Batesville 25 with their last possession, but it ended when senior end Ryan Coles blindsided Roberts, forcing a fumble that Batesville junior tackle Drew Moore recovered with 2:11 to play.
The Pioneers made one first down and were able to run out the clock.
Jordan Childress set the school career rushing record while chalking up 155 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries. Emprea Childress added 86 yards and a touchdown on seven carries.
Peters led Greenbrier in receiving with 85 yards on six catches. Cone added 53 and a touchdown on four catches.
The Pioneers improved to 10-2 and will face the White Hall Bulldogs in a semifinal in Batesville next Friday night. White Hall defeated Hot Springs Lakeside 38-21.
The other semifinal will pit Camden Fairview against Greenwood. Fairview, last year’s state runner-up, defeated Beebe 56-17. Greenwood, the two-time defending state champ, walloped Wynne, 42-7.