Thayer shuts out Houston 47-0

Wednesday, October 2, 2019
Kelly Steed

On a warm Friday evening in late September, the Houston Tigers came to face the Thayer Bobcats. The Tigers entered the game with a 2-2 overall record and 0-2 in district. The Bobcats entered the game 3-0 overall and 2-0 in conference play. This was Thayer’s Homecoming game.

When this report was begun on Saturday, Bobcat fans were celebrating the win and continuing a season that has been successful to this point, the mood changed drastically to sadness as word spread throughout the community that Assistant Coach Bryan Tate had died on the way to a football game in Quincy, Ill.

Tate was a THS and Central Methodist University alum. He student taught at THS in 2011 and later returned to Thayer as an assistant football coach—a job he held when he died. He had started a Fellowship of Christian Athletes Chapter at Thayer High School. Thayer Bobcats Sports, in the announcement of Coach Tate’s death stated, “Bryan and all his brothers are THS Alums and some of the best football players to ever play at THS. Bryan’s family have poured their heart and soul into the Thayer Bobcat Football program!” His presence on the Bobcats sideline will be greatly missed.

Kelly Steed

At the start of the homecoming game, Bobcat fans were handed green towels by students and the Tiger fans had their cowbells. Both sets of fans were ready for some football.

Thayer received the opening kickoff. Junior running back Jordan Madden took the ball deep in Bobcat territory, and, when he stopped, he was in the Tigers’ end zone with a 78-yard run thus silencing the clappers in the cowbells for a while. After the 65-yard or so run, the score stood at 7-0 (after the point after by Kale Willison) and only 11 seconds had elapsed in the game.

Then, the game moved at a bit of slower pace for a couple of series of downs. The Tigers returned the Bobcat kickoff to their own 30-yard line. On the Tigers first possession, which included a runner tackled in the backfield and an incomplete pass, the Tigers faced a 4th and 17 and punted.

After the punt, the Bobcats took possession at their own 25-yard line. The Bobcats failed to move the football, and, with 9:25 remaining in the first quarter, facing a 4th and 13, the Bobcats punted. Thayer punted to the Tigers 17-yard line. After no gain on a run, Houston completed a pass, but Jesse White was right there to jar the football loose, and the Bobcats recovered. It didn’t take them long to strike again. On a 19-yard pass from Jayce Haven to Arthur Tate, Thayer was on the scoreboard again. Kale Willison again kicked the extra point. With 8:15 remaining in the first quarter, the Bobcats led 14-0.

Houston returned the ensuing kickoff to its own 39-yard line. The Tigers made a first down on a pass completion with White on the tackle to prevent further yardage being gained. Any chance for an extended drive ended as Logan Doss broke up a pass.

Thayer fans got to see Jayce Haven turn on the speed on the punt return and take the football to the end zone, however, as it turned out, it only provided excitement for the fans and not points as the electrifying run was called back due to an illegal block. So, rather than putting points on the board on the drive, the Bobcats ended up punting to the Tigers’ 36-yard line with 4:43 remaining in the first quarter.

On a fumble by Houston with Haven and Doss involved on the defense, the Bobcats gained possession on the Tigers 37-yard line. It took a while to get the football into the end zone. The Bobcats had the football at 1st and goal on the 3-yard line. On 2nd and 1, the runner was tackled in the backfield. Haven appeared to score on a quarterback keeper, but the touchdown was negated by an offsides penalty with 2:07 remaining in the quarter. Tate reached the end zone after receiving a 6-yard pass from Haven. The extra point attempt was unsuccessful.

Thayer’s kickoff went out of bounds, and the Tigers took the football at their own 35-yard line. Houston then mounted what appeared to be a sustained drive. With 1:55 remaining in the first quarter, Houston made a first down on a pass reception and a lateral with Jordan Madden and Bobby Dale on the tackle to stop forward progress. Running back Chance Mitchell provided some spark for the Tigers offense which brought the cowbells into action. Mitchell made a first down at the Bobcats 45-yard line with 21 seconds remaining in the first quarter. The quarter ended with Thayer leading 20-0.

Any likelihood of Houston reaching the end zone on this drive was dashed with Jace Haven timing his position well and intercepting the football for Thayer at its own 23-yard line. With 10:27 remaining in the second quarter, Madden broke loose on a run from the Thayer 34-yard line to the Houston 22-yard line. Play was stopped for several minutes due to an injury to a Houston player. The player was taken from the field by ambulance. According to a Houston fan, the team has suffered a rash of injuries this season with eight players sustaining some type of injury.

After play resumed, Jackson Willison picked up five yards deep in Houston territory. Madden took the football to the five-yard-line. It was first and goal when Jackson Willison took the football into the end zone on a 4-yard run. Kale Willison added the point after touchdown to increase Thayer’s lead to 27-0.

Thayer’s kickoff was returned to the Houston 40-yard line. Connor Wilson caught a pass for six yards for the Tigers. Houston’s next pass was almost intercepted at the 50-yard line. With Houston facing 4th down and 2 yards to go, a timeout was called. Quarterback Dakota Burchett appeared to be contained but made a dash down the right side for a first down.

Then, as he had done earlier, Jace Haven made another interception at the Thayer 15-yard line. It was not a good thing for Houston to have the ball back in Haven’s hands. He took the football toward the right-sideline, cut up the field, left the defenders behind and took the football 85-yards into the end zone for another Thayer score. With flags flying on the play, fans had to wait for confirmation that the penalty was on Houston. When this was affirmed and the point after was good, Thayer led 34-0. This put the game within one point of invoking the rule that the clock continues to run in the second half. The Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSA) rule states, “After the first half, any time the score differential reaches 35 points or more for 11-man or 45 points or more for 8-man, the following changes (and only these changes) will be made regarding rules determining when the clock will be stopped:...” (There is a list of situations when the clock will stop even after the rule is invoked.)

With 6:42 remaining in the second quarter, Houston returned the kickoff to its 40-yard line. On the possession, which included a couple of incomplete passes, the Tigers punted to the Bobcats 37-yard line. At this point, Logan Doss took over the running duties for a while. He gained five yards; then, he went across the 50-yard line for a Thayer first down. Doss then carried the football for another first down with 5:39 remaining in the third quarter. Quarterback Haven then carried the football on a misdirection keeper play to the Houston 21-yard line. A bit later, a five-yard delay of game penalty set Thayer back to a 1st and 15. After a quarterback keeper for a yard, Doss, who had brought the football downfield, burst through for a 24-yard touchdown run with 2:57 remaining in the third quarter. Kale Willison kicked the extra point to make it 41-0 in favor of the Bobcats and invoking the “clock” rule. After a first down by Houston and several incomplete passes, the half ended. Due to injury time outs, the first half was rather lengthy.

After the half, hurrying downfield, Houston made a few first downs and got to Thayer’s 15-yard line. The Thayer defense stiffened with Griffin Willison tackling Mitchell. Madden dashed any hopes for a touchdown on the drive by batting down a pass on 4th down.

Later, Jackson Willison had a good run negated by a Thayer penalty. The score was 41-0 at the end of the third quarter. Zack Fuwell took over the rushing duties for the Tigers.

The final score in the game came when Chris Cray scored on a 23-yard run and made the score 47-0 in favor of the Bobcats as the two-point conversion attempt was no good.

Thayer attempted 6 passes and completed 4 for 64 yards. Houston attempted 21 passes and completed 8 for 61 yards. The Bobcats rushed 29 times and amassed 314 yards on the ground. Thayer out gained Houston 378 yards to 164. The Bobcats made 19 first downs to 17 for Houston. Thayer had no turnovers in the game, and the Tigers had 4.

Thayer Quarterback was very efficient with his 7 rushes as he gained 109 yards rushing. Madden rushed 5 time for 65 yards, Jackson Willison rushed 8 times for 56 yards, Doss had 4 carries for 43 yards. Chris Cray had 3 carries for 30 yards and Grimes carried the football twice for 14 yards.

Jackson Willison caught 1 pass for 27 yards, Tate caught 4 for 25 yards and Makail Cray caught 1 pass for 12 yards.

The defense which played a strong game and kept the Tigers out of the end zone for the game, Tate had 6 solo tackles and 2 assists, Jesse White had 5 solo tackles, Cody Brosh had 5 solo and 1 assist and Austin Green had 4 solo tackles and 1 assisted tackle. Several Bobcats had 3 tackles as the Bobcats were around the football on defense all evening. Haven had 2 key interceptions when the Tigers were threatening to score. White caused 2 fumbles and Tate recovered one. The Bobcats broke up five attempted passes.

Assistant Coach Bryan Tate’s last game was a Thayer 47-0 win over Houston.

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