Welch’s Performance Tells Story
November 23, 2009
WILDCAT RECEIVES WEEKLY HONOR
Springdale Har-Ber’s Gordon Welch didn’t have much to say following his team’s second-round playoff victory over Russellville Friday night.
But his performance on the fi eld spoke volumes.
Welch, who statistically was the 7A-West Conference’s third-best running back this season, led the Wildcats to a 30-7 victory by rushing for 146 yards and two touchdowns, giving Har-Ber its third straight berth to the state semifi nals.
The effort against Russellville was good enough to earn the junior running back the Northwest Arkansas Newspapers Player of the Week honors.
“I thought Gordon had one of his best games,” Har-Ber coach Chris Wood said. “He ran downfield, he had a groove going and there were times he really couldn’t be stopped.”
That’s been the norm this season for Welch, who passed the 1,000-yard mark against the Cyclones, totaling 1,054 yards and 11 touchdowns in 11 games.
And it hasn’t always been easy, either.
For most of the season, Welch was the Wildcats’ only option in the backfield after senior running back Tre Tyler broke his right leg in Har-Ber’s season-opening game.
Welch was healthy until he broke a finger on his left hand against Rogers Heritage on Oct. 16. He played a week later against Fort Smith Southside with a cast on his hand, but during the game, he severely strained his right shoulder, causing him to miss more game time.
“He’s been through a lot this season,” said Gary Wear, Har-Ber’s running backs coach. “He’s had ups, downs and everything between. The biggest thing is he’s fought hard every play and has done a terrifi c job.”
Welch’s performance against Russellville took the pressure off Har-Ber’s offense, which also had an effective night in its passing game.
Regardless, Welch has been a dominant player for the Wildcats (10-1) all season, and will continue to be in the playoff s, Wood said.
“I’m just going out there and doing my job,” Welch said. “Our offensive line was awesome, they really opened up a ton of holes for me to run through. Getting this win is huge because it keeps our goal alive of making it to Little Rock. That’s all we care about right now.”
Mitchell Roberts, Shiloh Christian — Much like he’s done all season, the senior linebacker had a huge game against De Queen, totaling 15 tackles for the Saints. Shiloh won the secondround playoff game 56-35.
Har-Ber defense — The defensive unit handcuffed Russellville on Friday night, giving up only 163 yards of total offense, including 40 rushing yards. In the fi rst half alone, the Cyclones only totaled fi ve fi rst downs.
Pearson Gean, Bentonville — Despite throwing two interceptions in Bentonville’s secondround loss to Fort Smith Southside, Gean threw for 245 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 95 yards and another score.
Kiehl Frazier, Shiloh Christian — The junior quarterback was 10-of-16 for 242 yards and one touchdown passing and ran for 99 yards and three touchdowns on the ground in the Saints’ win.
Reed Brown, Rogers Heritage — Brown had an impressive game against North Little Rock, torching the Charging Wildcats for 345 passing yards and five touchdowns. Despite the big night, Heritage still lost the shootout 49-45.