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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Cats run over, through and around Portageville

Monday, October 31, 2011

(Photo)
Thayer running back Connor Blair blasts through a hole in the Hayti defense and launches airborne to gain extra yardage. Blair had a monster night against Portageville, rushing for 390 yards in the Bobcats' 50-8 rout of the Bulldogs.
It was a long and exhausting trip for Thayer and its legion of fans to make -- traveling from Oregon County to near the state's eastern border to take on Portageville Oct. 21 in week two of district play. But, the journey was well worth it.

Clicking on all cylinders and racking up an astonishing 564 yards of offense, the Cats clobbered the homestanding Bulldogs 50-8, virtually earning their fifth straight district title in the process.

Thayer's defense was on spot as usual, holding Portageville to under 200 yards of total offense for the night.

After a good kick-off return by the Bobcats to start the game, it only took three plays for Thayer to move down to the Portageville 13.

With a pitch-out to the right, Bobcat running back Connor Blair followed fullback Jeremy Cabrales to scamper 13 yards into the end zone for a Thayer touchdown. Thayer's 2-point conversion attempt failed, but the Cats were on the board early with a 6-0 lead.

Blair had a headline-grabbing night, finishing the contest with an amazing 390 yards running the football -- not counting a 90-yard TD run that was called back because of a penalty.

The Cats' defense hampered the Bulldogs all night.

The Bulldogs' sophomore QB frequently had to rush his pass attempts for incompletion because of defensive pressure from Derek Krieg and Austin Henry.

Dylan Dennis maintained his lane from his defensive end position and snuffed out a QB naked bootleg run for a 5-yard loss.

The amped-up aggressiveness of the Bobcats stopped the Bulldogs, but that aggressiveness also caused problems at the line of scrimmage.

The Bobcats were flagged for jumping into the neutral zone to give Portageville first downs and ball advancement down to the Bobcat side of the field.

Portageville hit a brick wall of Bobcat defenders on fourth down, short of the yardage needed for a first down.

Senior Bobcat quarterback Brandon Childers effectively executed the pitch option around the corner, pitching the ball to a trailing Blair.

After the pitch, Childers threw a block and Blair blasted past the Bulldogs defense for a 32-yard gain, before being edged out of bounds.

With a fake run/pitch, Childers set his feet and launched a perfect touch pass right over the shoulder and into the hands of Henry for a 32-yard touchdown. The PAT failed, but Thayer led 12-zip.

The Bobcats tried to sneak in an onside kick, but the ball did not travel the required 10 yards. The Bulldogs started in good field position but were unable to move on the Bobcat defense.

With 2:48 still remaining in the first quarter, Blair glided around Thayer's right end, turned on the jets and flew 60 yards to the end zone. Mitch Webber found an open field and walked in for the 2-point conversion to move the Cats in front 20-0.

Levi Hargrove stopped a Bulldog drive with an interception, but on offense, Thayer's pass attempt fell incomplete on fourth down and the Bobcats turned the ball over near mid-field.

With a couple of completed passes and three first downs on Bobcat off-side penalties, Portageville moved down to the Cat 25.

A Wallace pass attempt in the end zone was broken up by linebacker Isaiah Martin.

The Bulldogs got on the board with a Wallace-to-Dejos pass reception in the end zone and ran in the extra points, to change the numbers on the board to 20-8.

Aaron Honeycutt got a good kick return for the Bobcats offense to start their next possession.

Daylight opened up around the left side of the Bobcat line and Blair jetted 60 yards for a Bobcats' touchdown. Cabrales blasted across the stripe for the 2-point conversion and a 28-8 Bobcat lead.

The Bulldogs did complete short screen passes, but the Bobcat defense was there to make stops behind or at the line of scrimmage.

Henry chased Wallace out of bounds for a loss and Dennis caught and stopped the QB five yards deep on a fourth-down play to return possession to the Bobcats at the 10-yard line.

With the jet engine already warmed up, the taxi-way was cleared by the Bobcat line and Blair went full throttle for 90 yards and a touchdown, but it was for naught. A holding call on the Bobcats negated the long TD run.

Not to be denied, Blair ripped the Dogs for 16 on the next play.

Jacob Alford twisted out of the defender's grasp for nine more before the Bobcats stalled.

A Bulldog off-sides call moved the sticks for Thayer. One dash for 53 yards and a second dash for seven more into the end zone by Blair added six more points to the Bobcat total. Cabrales tacked on the 2-point conversion run for a 36-8 Bobcat advantage at the halftime horn.

Although the Bulldogs mounted an early third-quarter drive, the Bobcat defense stopped the drive and took the ball back on a fourth down attempt.

Childers faked the option pitch and ripped the Dogs for 13 rushing yards.

Cabrales blasted over tackle for 15 more yards. Blair drove hard in the middle for eight and Childers dashed around the end for 14 more.

Cabrales drove the remaining 14 yards for the TD and then kicked the PAT for a 43-8 Bobcat lead.

Portageville did get a positive catch and run for 55 yards, but the jets of Blair ran the receiver out of bounds before reaching the end zone.

Alford intercepted a Bulldog pass at the 4:25 mark. Blair picked up 35 more yards, and two more running plays got the Bobcats in the end zone for their final TD. Cabrales' PAT kick was straight down the middle of the uprights.

As the clock ran out the final quarter, the Thayer Bobcats rode back to south central Missouri with the comfort of a 50-8 win over the Portageville Bulldogs, giving them a 7-2 record overall, 2-0 in district play.

Next up for the Bobcats, an Oct. 27 meeting with their South Central Association rivals from Cabool at Louis Bozman Stadium.



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