Tharptown holds off Phil Campbell in season opener
By Bart Moss
For the FCT
Tharptown held on Thursday night for a 29-24 season opening win over their county rival Phil Campbell.
The Tharptown Wildcats captured a season-opening victory Thursday night over county rival Phil Campbell by capitalizing on some early Bobcat turnovers.
Three first quarter turnovers by the Bobcats and some stellar play by senior quarterback Kelby Hallmark and sophomore wide receiver Trent Miller allowed the Wildcats to build a 21-6 lead. It was a lead Phil Campbell would not be able to overcome.
The Bobcats were able to stuff the Wildcats first drive of the game. That’s when the mistakes started to pile up quickly. Phil Campbell fumbled the Wildcats punt. Trent Miller recovered the ball at the Bobcat 35 yard line. On the next play Hallmark hit Miller for a 36-yard touchdown pass. Shawn Hines PAT gave the Wildcats an early 7-0 lead.
Phil Campbell then fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Miller scooped up the football and ran the ball 45 yards to pay dirt to give Tharptown a quick 13-0 lead.
The Bobcats finally got a drive going only to turn the ball over again at the Wildcat 30 yard line. Tharptown’s Matthew Brasuell recovered the ball.
This time Tharptown gave the ball right back to the Bobcats when Tristen Godsey recovered the Wildcat fumble on the Tharptown 35 yard line.
Three plays later the Bobcats got on the board on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Tristan Godsey to Casey Galloway to cut lead to 13-6.
On the next drive Hallmark and Miller connected again. This time is was a 46-yard touchdown strike to extend Tharptown’s lead to 21-6 after Hines PAT.
Phil Campbell scored again in the second quarter on a 7-yard touchdown run by Colton Baker. The play was aided by a 15-yard pass from Godsey to Austin Tidwell. The Bobcats had cut the Wildcats lead to 21-12.
Tharptown answered late in the second quarter. Hallmark again connected with Miller for a 48-yard pass to the one yard line. Hallmark then kept it himself and scampered into the end zone to give the Wildcats a 29-12 halftime lead.
A quick turn of events at the start of the second half put the Bobcats right back in the game. Phil Campbell opened the second half with a 81-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Ryan Scott to close the gap to 29-12.
The Bobcats were finally the beneficiary of a gift when the Wildcats fumbled the ensuing kickoff at the 18-yard line. The fumble was recovered Malik Nalls. A few play later the Bobcats were in the end zone again on a 7 yard run by Colton Baker to put the Bobcats in striking distance 29-24.
The Bobcats, however, were unable to generate any offense in the final quarter and their final drive ended when Tharptown’s Kelby Hallmark intercepted a Bobcat pass to seal the win.
Miller ended the game with four catches for 160 yards, three touchdowns, and two fumble recoveries.
Tharptown will travel to county and region rival Vina next week.
Phil Campbell will host Hatton.