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Cats grind out win over Willow

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Sports Editor

Finally.

As the legendary Bum Phillips was known to say during the days he coached the Houston Oilers, "If you keep knocking at the door long enough, you'll finally break the thing down."

And that's exactly what the Thayer Bobcats did in their tilt with the Willow Springs Bears Oct. 8.

They broke the door down, rebounding from a tough loss to the Ava Bears one week earlier to defeat Willow Springs for the first time in awhile, by the count of 14-7.

The Cats beat Willow Springs the old-fashioned way, going toe-to-toe with the Bears in a game that didn't see much scoring.

Getting their running game on track, Thayer gained 129 yards rushing on the game, the biggest part of their 200 yards of total offense.

Thayer suffered only one turnover on the night, but it was a costly one that allowed Willow Springs to get on the board first.

At the 7:42 mark of a scoreless first quarter, Willow Springs' Allen Eggert picked up a Thayer fumble from his linebacker spot and rambled 30 yards for the only Bear TD of the contest. Chad Woodard booted the PAT to give Willow Springs a 7-0 lead.

Keeping pace, the Bobcats scored just before the end of the first to answer the Bears' touchdown.

Quarterback Andrew Eckman (two-of-four, 24 yards passing) scored on a keeper from a yard out at the 1:41 mark to get the Cats going. Bradley Harper tied the game at 7-all when he connected on the extra-point.

Brett Ward (six-of-10 passing for 47 yards) posted the game-winning touchdown when he dove into the end zone for a 1-yard TD with 47 seconds left in the first half. Harper added the PAT to round out the scoring on the game.

Ward also racked up 60 yards rushing on the night on 15 carries.

Dustin Gaines carried the ball eight times for 37 yards, and Michael Lowther added 27 yards rushing on nine totes.



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