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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The big bounce-back

Friday, October 3, 2008

You could call it a bounce-back game.

One that you just knew each team badly wanted to win.

Heading into their week five matchup, the Thayer Bobcats and Houston Tigers had both been dealt their first losses of the 2008 season the week before. Thayer fell at Liberty, while Houston was soundly beaten by the Mountain Grove Panthers.

So as the two old rivals lined up at Louis Bozman Stadium in Thayer Sept. 26, the question was: Which team could shake off the previous week's game and bounce back the quickest?

The resounding answer?

The Thayer Bobcats. By a landslide.

The Cats took out their frustrations on the Tigers, pounding Houston into the turf to the tune of a 42-7 Thayer victory.

This one was over before it even started.

Lance Schneider took the opening kickoff for Thayer, and after running from one side of the field to the other, headed downfield, didn't stop until he had sprinted for an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Ethan Leisenring kicked the PAT, and boom, just like that, the Bobcats (4-1) were in control at 7-0.

Thayer's defense kept Houston's no-huddle, Spread offense out of a comfort zone all night and the Tigers (3-2) went three-and-out on their first series of the night.

With a week to heal some nagging injuries, including a bad ankle on Josh Huckabee and banged-up shoulder on Cameron Carey, the Cats' offense looked much sharper against Houston than it did in the loss at the hands of the Liberty Eagles.

And on Thayer's first series from scrimmage, Huckabee ripped off a nice 18-yard run, while Luke Martin hauled in a 12-yard pass from Jacob Eckman, who was back in action under center after missing the second half at Liberty due to a concussion.

Then on second-and-10, Eckman hit Schneider with a 29-yard TD pass. Leisenring booted the extra-point to give Thayer a 14-0 lead, barely three minutes into the game.

And things would only get worse for Houston.

On the Bobcats' next possession, Eckman broke off a big 30-yard run for Thayer's third TD of the first quarter. The 2-point attempt was no good, but Thayer had managed to push ahead of a stunned group of Tigers 20-zip, with 6:28 still left in the first quarter.

After a punt by the Tigers, Thayer took control of the ball at its own 5-yard line.

Fifteen plays later, on the first snap of the second quarter, the Bobcats padded their margin on a 1-yard touchdown run from Huckabee on third-and-goal. Leisenring made it 27-0 with the PAT.

The next time Thayer got the football, it was Carey's turn to shine.

And shine he did, first with a 47-yard run on an option pitch, then on an 18-yard blast up the middle, finally capping an 81-yard scoring drive with a 6-yard TD on first-and-goal with 8:04 left until the half. The extra-point made it 34-0, Thayer.

Ryan Veatch stopped Houston's next drive with an interception of Tiger quarterback David Weybright, setting up yet another touchdown for Thayer in the first half of play.

This time it was on a big 83-yard run down the left sideline from Eckman. The PAT was no good, but at the half, the Bobcats enjoyed a commanding 40-zip lead over a disheartened bunch of Houston Tigers.

Thayer racked up almost 400 yards of total offense in the first half of play, 318 coming on the ground.

Eckman was largely responsible for this total, as he rushed for 174 yards on nine carries. He added 75 yards through the air for Thayer.

Carey logged 85 yards rushing on seven carries in the first half, with Huckabee posting 53 yards on eight totes.

For the most part, Thayer's starters saw their evening end with the break at intermission, as the junior varsity Bobcats finished up play in the second half.

The Bobcats added a safety in the third quarter, as the snap went over Houston punter Travis Barker's head and into the end zone. Barker picked the ball up off the turf in the end zone, but Dylan Harrelston knocked Barker out of the end zone for a safety, and a 42-0 advantage for Thayer.

Houston finally broke the ice in the fourth quarter with a 14-yard TD run by Jacob Case with 8:14 left in the game. Weybright kicked the extra-point to set the final score at 42-7, Thayer.

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