Defending state champs jump on Bobcats early
Politics and sports may not share many similarities, but the one thing they do have in common regards incumbents.
Whether in office or on the playing field, if you want to unseat an incumbent, you better strike quickly and hope to deliver a knockout blow early, swaying as much momentum to your side as possible.
An early KO was just what the Thayer Bobcats were in the market for Oct. 29 as they welcomed the Marionville Comets to Louis Bozman Stadium for round two of Class 1, District 5 play. Even though the game was on their home turf, the Cats had to know the voters were not on their side.
After all, the Comets entered the game ranked number five in the Missouri Class 1 polls, and were coming off last year's undefeated season that left them defending a state championship this year. And the Comets opened the 2004 season by reeling off five straight wins before suffering a setback to Fair Grove a week before district play began.
Although that loss ensures they won't go unscathed this year, the Comets did prove they are a lock to repeat as District 5 champs with a 48-12 defeat of Thayer.
The powerful Comets scored on seven of their first eight possessions on the night to leave the Bobcats in a hole that they just could not climb out of.
Taking the ball to start the game, Marionville moved 63 yards in six plays to log the first points of the night on a 38-yard TD run by Larson Metcalf that came at the 9:53 mark of the first. The PAT was no good, but the Comets had a quick 6-0 advantage.
The Cats managed only three plays from scrimmage before punting the ball the first of six times on the game.
On Marionville's next series, they covered 60 yards in four plays, using a 26-yard touchdown run from quarterback Payton Grubbs, one of two sure All-Staters, along with Josh Holder, in the Comets' backfield, to boost their lead to 12-0.
Grubbs made it back-to-back scores on Marionville's next possession, as he sprinted 62 yards into the end zone on a bootleg at the 5:09 mark of the first to make it Marionville 20, Thayer 0.
As it turned out, Grubbs wasn't done with the end zone.
He hit pay for the third time on the evening with an 8-yard keeper that wrapped up a 43-yard scoring drive in four plays at the 8:43 mark of the second quarter. The 2-point conversion ran the Comets' margin to 28-0.
Holder managed to log points of his own when he ran the ball in from 27 yards out with 5:55 remaining until the half as Marionville's offense looked every bit like the machine that led them to a perfect campaign last year. With the extra point, the Comets held a 35-0 lead over a stunned group of Bobcats who certainly did not want to see senior night get off to this kind of start.
The Cats did redeem themselves a bit by getting on the board before intermission to break open the shutout Marionville was pitching.
Thayer found the end zone for the first time on the night with a 60-yard, 14-play drive that survived thanks to a couple of key fourth down conversions.
The first came on a fourth-and-13 from midfield when the Cats faked a punt and quarterback Andrew Eckman launched a pass to Brett Ward. The Comets were whistled for a pass interference call on the play, giving Thayer an automatic first down.
Ward and Eckman figured in Thayer's next successful fourth down on the drive, as the quarterback hit Ward on fourth-and-11 from Marionville's 39, racking up another first down.
Four plays later, Ward took a toss from Eckman and ran into the end zone from a yard out with 1:26 left until intermission to get Thayer going with some points.
Bradley Harper's PAT was blocked, leaving the Bobcats down 35-6.
It didn't take Marionville long to respond. In fact, it took only three plays as the Comets went into the second half of play up by a score of 41-6 thanks to a 54-yard TD run that came with 40 ticks left in the first half.
Marionville got another touchdown on its first possession of the third quarter, ending the frame up 48-6.
The Bobcats had a little more gas left in their tank as they proved with another touchdown in the fourth quarter.
On first-and-10 from their own 42, Aaron Henry caught a 38-yard pass from Eckman that was boosted 15 on a roughing the quarterback penalty, placing the ball at the Comet 18.
On the next snap, Eckman ran the ball in with 5:04 on the game clock to round out the scoring at Marionville 48, Thayer 12.