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Friday, May 6, 2016

Bobcats run, run, run past bulldogs

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

With a shade over 10-and-a-half minutes remaining until halftime, the bank of lights near the west end zone at Louis Bozman Stadium went dark.

But that was about the only glitch on an otherwise perfect 2009 season-opener for the defending Class 1 District 3 champion Thayer Bobcats on Aug. 28.

After a slight delay, the lights came back on and the Cats finished dismantling the Class 5 Springfield Central Bulldogs.

Dominant on both sides of the football, the Bobcats (1-0) had their way all night long and sent the Bulldogs back to Springfield with a 56-21 thumping.

Led by a monster night from running back Josh Huckabee, Thayer chewed up huge chunks of yardage on the ground, rushing for an eye-popping 402 yards against Central (0-1).

Huckabee paved the way with 251 yards and four TDs on 32 carries, with Cameron Carey adding 95 more, while rushing for two touchdowns.

As impressive as that was, the Bobcat defense looked razor sharp in its inaugural game of '09, holding the always-deadly Bulldogs to less than 180 yards of total offense in the game.

By the end of the first quarter, the Cats were owners of a 20-zip lead.

Huckabee started things off with a 10-yard touchdown carry at the 9:14 point of the first quarter, giving Thayer a lead it would not relinquish. Ethan Leisenring kicked the first of his six extra-points in the game and the Bobcats were up 7-0.

Carey wrapped up an eight-play, 64-yard drive with a 1-yard TD run on first-and-goal with 4:06 left in the first, pushing Thayer in front 14-0.

Bobcat quarterback Jared Foley (30 yards rushing) got in on the scoring act with a 5-yard TD plunge at the 1:40 mark of the first, extending Thayer's lead to 20-0.

Central didn't pick up its intial first down of the game until just before the end of the first period and that was aided by a Bobcat penalty.

The Bulldogs broke through early in the second quarter as quarterback Scott Hutchenson scored from nine yards out on a keeper at the 9:42 point.

Central had a bit of momentum on its side, thanks to a recovered fumble on the Bobcats' next series from scrimmage. However, the Cats snuffed that "mo" out as Carey sacked Hutchenson for an 11-yard loss and then, three plays later, Leisenring returned a punt 23 yards, all the way to the Central 37-yard line.

Ten plays later, Huckabee crashed across the goal line on fourth-and-goal to give Thayer a big 28-7 advantage with 1:44 left until intermission.

But if the Bulldogs are capable of anything, they are capable of scoring in a flash.

And Hutchenson did just that, as he returned the ensuing kickoff down the right sideline for a TD just seconds after Thayer had scored.

Turns out the Cats are lightning quick, too.

With 15 ticks left on the first-half clock, Huckabee notched his third rushing touchdown of the half, this one from two yards away on fourth-and-goal, sending the squads to the break with Thayer up 35-13.

Midway into the third period, Carey struck again, bursting in from two yards out to build Thayer's lead to 42-13 with 7:20 left in the stanza.

Central tried to keep things close and Hutchenson hit wideout Earnest Greenwood with a 28-yard touchdown pass on the Bulldogs' next series. The 2-point conversion made the score Thayer 42, Central 21, with 4:38 left in the third.

Getting a 12-yard touchdown run from Huckabee on their next series, the Bobcats stood tall with a 49-21 lead heading into the final quarter.

And Foley and the Bobcat defense slammed the door on Central in a big way to start the fourth.

On the Bulldogs' first series of the final frame, Foley picked off a Hutchenson pass and ran it back 62 yards for the last touchdown of the evening. Leisenring booted his last PAT of the game to cap Thayer's impressive 35-point victory over the Springfield Central Bulldogs.

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