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Cats too much for Cavemen

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cave City's Tyler Poulette runs for some tough yards as Thayer's Kendall Pittman tries to drag him down in Thayer on Sept. 16.
Louis Bozman field at Thayer High School was a sea of Red and Green as the Cave City Cavemen crossed the Arkansas state line to clash with the Thayer Bobcats in a non-conference football battle Sept. 16.

Thayer and Cave City saw their seasons start at opposite ends of the spectrum, as the Cats came into the game with a 2-1 mark, while the Cavemen were still in search of their first victory of 2011.

And when this one was over, it was the Bobcats in control, scoring a 42-14 win over Cave City.

You could not have dialed up any better weather conditions for a high school football game as the Bobcats started the opening drive against the huge defensive line of the Cavemen.

Coach Billy Webber and his coaching staff scripted a series of plays to take advantage of the outside speed of Thayer running back Connor Blair.

Thayer's young offensive line was able to hold their blocks long enough for Blair to follow the lead block from fullback Jeremy Cabrales to pick up 13 yards on a student-body right.

Quarterback Brandon Childers scrambled to his right under pressure from Cave City's line surge to zip a strike to Blair for a 22-yard catch and run.

A holding penalty negated a 9-yard pickup by Cabrales, pushing the Bobcats back into a first-and-22. Fourth-and-4 inside the Cave City 20, Childers completed a rollout pass to Dylan Dennis at the 9 for a first down.

At the 5:47 mark of the first quarter, Childers rolled out, tucked the ball and dove into the end zone to put the Bobcats on the scoreboard first. From the swinging gate formation, Childers started in motion, the center fliped the ball up and Childers glided across the end stripe for the 2-point conversion and 8-0 lead.

Pulling an old "trick out of the hat" on the first play for the Cavemen, coach Jon Bradley had the hook-and-ladder pass play set up effectively, but the pass went incomplete to halt the play, or it could have been 6 points for Cave City.

The Cavemen lined up behind an offensive line that averages about 240 pounds, running misdirection plays with JacobMartin and Tyler Poulette from the wing back positions. Quarterback Jeremy Runyan turned and handed off to Jordan Bunch up the middle of the Cave City line, for a quick 11-yard pick up.

From the double-wing set, the Cavemen used Poulette and Martin with a double-hand off to ram the football right up the middle of the Bobcat defense.

Playing power football behind Nick Presser, Nick Norris, T.J. Clay and company of the Cave City line, the Cavemen pressed down inside the Bobcat 30.

From the shotgun formation on fourth down, the Bobcat defense forced Runyan out of bounds, where the Bobcats took over on downs.

Blair coughed up the pigskin and the Cavemen recovered the fumble to give Cave City good field position and a new set of downs on the Thayer 29.

Poulette gashed into the Cat defense for a pick-up of 13.

Runyan attempted a rollout pass in the end zone, but Jacob Alford tiped the ball away incomplete at the goal line.

On the first play of the second quarter, Martin dove over the left side from the 2-yard line, to put six points on the board for Cave City.

Cabrales stopped Poulette short of the goal line on the 2-point conversion to hold the score at 8-6 in favor of the Cats.

Although it appeared Cave City recovered the ball, an onside kick by the Cavemen resulted in officials calling an illegal touch before the ball went the required 10 yards.

Thayer moved the ball deep into Cavemen territory and hit Blair with a swing pass in the flat for a Bobcat TD. Cabrales punched the ball through the uprights on the PAT, edging the Bobcat lead to 15-6 lead at the 5:59 in the second.

Bobcat quarterback Mitch Webber scrambled out of Cave City's defensive pressure from Kody White to find Blair wide open down the seam for a 32-yard TD pass reception. The PAT failed, leaving Thayer with a 21-6 lead near the end of the half.

Cave City had a drive going, moving the ball deep into the Bobcat side of the field, before Ridge Burke stepped in front and intercepted a Runyan pass to end the half.

At the 8:26 mark of the third quarter, the Cavemen got a very good kick and favorable roll, which pinned the Bobcats back at their own 9-yard line.

Following straight-up blocking from the Pittmans (Kendall and Keyshawn), along with Caleb Campbell and Grant Denbow on the Bobcat line, Blair took a pitch-out, turned on the jets and zipped 91 yards for a Bobcat touch down. The PAT hike came in low to Childers, but he picked up the ball, pitched out to Blair, who swung around the right side before throwing a pass to Levi Hargrove in the end zone for the 2-point conversion, putting the Bobcats up 29-6.

The Cavemen defense forced the Cats into a punting situation and loaded all of their defenders in the box, with no defenders back to cover or receive a punt.

Cabrales picked up a low snap, ran forward and to the right, before spotting Hargrove wide-open down the field. Hargrove collected the pass from Cabrales and ran the ball into the end zone for another Bobcat TD. The PAT kick added another point, raising the Bobcat lead to 36-6.

Late in the forth quarter, Thayer's younger players put another score on the board, with Aaron Honeycutt slicing in from the 2-yard line.

Six-foot, six-inch Kody White hauled in a pass for the Cavemen, to advance the ball to near mid-field. Poulette found a big hole in the Bobcat defense and weaved his way into the end zone to put six more on the board.

But that was not enough and the Bobcats held home court advantage, knocking off the Cave City Cavemen 42-14.

More photos from the game are available online @ www.areawidenews.com.

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