"Friday Night Lights" returned to Thayer with the Bobcats hosting the Class 3A Ava Bears on Sept. 24.
After the lights were turned off at Louis Bozman Stadium following the conclusion of this South Central Association match up, it was the Bears who took a 30-16 victory with them back to the county seat of Douglas County.
After receiving the opening kickoff, the Bobcats used their running game to advance close to mid field, before coming up short on a third down and long.
The Bears used a mixture of mostly run and a few short quick pass plays, to go deep into the Bobcat end of the field. Thayer's defense called a halt to the Bear attack with a stop on fourth-and-2, taking over possession of the ball on downs.
Outstanding play on both sides of the ball from the Bobcats and from the Bears, moved the ball back-and-forth and from end-to-end.
With 55.7 ticks remaining in the first quarter, the Bears executed a pass and reception in the flat behind a Bobcat defender for a 25-yard dash across the end stripe. The point after attempt spun through the uprights to put Ava on top 7-0.
The ensuing squib kick by the Bears was picked up on the return by Thayer's Derek Krieg, starting the offense with good field position.
After being previously sidelined with a knee injury the past couple of games, senior quarterback Jared Foley took charge of the Bobcat offense, handing off to Cameron Carey. Following blocks of the Bobcat front line, Carey veered outside and sprinted 60 yards for a Bobcat touchdown. The swinging gate lineup for the point after attempt worked successfully, as Carey followed the line-surge into the end zone for the 2-point conversion, giving the Bobcats an 8-7 lead as the horn sounded to end the first stanza.
As defenses and offenses for the two teams battled for advantage in the second quarter, Ava chewed up yardage and the clock to advance ahead of the Bobcats with a score and 2-point conversion at the 15.4 mark, ending the first half with Ava on top 15-8.
Foley lined up the Bobcats on a fourth-and-11 play, deep in Ava territory.
The Bear defense played close coverage in the secondary, forcing Foley to scramble. And that he did, tucking the ball and diving into the end zone for a TD. The hold for Cabrales' point after attempt kick was slightly mis-placed by holder Lucas Risner. Risner picked up the ball, followed the Cat blocking,and with a second effort, he sliced into the end zone for two points, putting the Bobcats on top 16-15.
Inside the two-minute mark in the third, an Ava receiver collected a pass and was tackled immediately by a Bobcat defender. The Bear receiver lost consciousness due to the collision. The on-site ambulance and EMT crew had been called away from the field on an emergency call earlier in the game, resulting in a lengthy response period. Players, coaches and fans all held their breath, as trainers used every precaution to maintain the health and safety of the injured Bear, before he was transported to the hospital.
As play resumed, the Bears gashed into the Bobcat end zone and followed that with a 2-point conversion, giving Ava a 23-16 advantage.
The Bobcats gained positive yards over the Bears, but committed some costly errors, leading to loss of possession on two critical fourth-down plays.
After the Bears held out the Bobcats on a fourth-and-goal, Ava took advantage of the opportunity and busted open a huge ground gainer. Carey chased down the Bear runner after a 40-plus yard gain for the Bears. Ava was able to slash through the Bobcat defense and score from the 20, wrapping up the Bears' 30-16 victory over Thayer.