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Bittersweet victory for Phil Campbell

By Jonathan Grimes

For the FCT


Friday night the Phil Campbell Bobcats won the football game versus the Phillips Bears and crowned a new homecoming queen in Xena Alfaro, but not all was happy for the Bobcats. Bobcat Joe Hardy, for the second season, suffered what seems to be a season-ending injury.

The Bobcats had more players get banged up over the course of the game, but a bye week this week should give them team time to get healed up and ready.

The Bobcats started the game with the ball at their own 49. Seven plays later, the Bobcats found the end zone for the first time. Quarteback Peyton Thomas ran the ball in from two yards out, and Daniel Smith added the PAT to make the score 7-0 Bobcats with 10:08 remaining in the first quarter. The Bears took their first possession down to the Bobcat 18, but on fourth down the Bears would turn the ball over on downs after an incomplete pass near the goal line. After a dead ball foul on the Bobcats, PC was ready to go from their own nine-yard line.

Running back Joe Hardy is carted off the field following a season-ending knee injury.
Running back Joe Hardy is carted off the field following a season-ending knee injury.

Once again, the Bobcats drove down the field, and in six plays, Thomas scrambled 11 yards for a touchdown; however, the play was called back because of a block in the back. The next play, Joe Hardy would go down with an injury.

However, the Bobcats had to continue play, and they did so by Thomas hitting Hutcheson in the end zone for an 18-yard TD pass. Smith’s PAT was blocked, and the Bobcats found themselves in the lead 13-0 with 1:26 left in the first quarter.

The Bobcats took this lead into the start of the second quarter, but the Bears were driving down the field. Phillips found the end zone on a one-yard run by Flores, but the two-point conversion was no good, and the score became 13-6 with 8:24 left in the first half. The Bobcats took their next possession from their own 41 yard line down to the Bears 25 yard line. This time Thomas connected with Riner for the touchdown pass. Riner found himself up and over the top of a defender for the catch. The Bobcats attempted a two-point conversion, but it was no good, leaving the score 19-6 with 3:21 remaining in the first half.

On the next Bear possession Phillips took the ball past midfield in five plays, but their last possession of the half was derailed by a sack by Brody Nicks on fourth down, which gave the Bobcats an opportunity for another score before half time. Thomas found himself in the end zone on a 35-yard scramble and run, but the Bobcats got penalized for a block in the back. This set the Bobcats up at the Bears 12 yard line with 0:32 left in the first half. Thomas took the ball again and jumped in the end zone, hitting the pylon with the ball in-bounds, but he got called short. The Bobcats wanted to get in the end zone, so once again they called on Thomas to take the ball again, and with 0:12 left in the first half, Thomas found the end zone. However, this TD got called back again, this time for a hold.

The Bobcats tried again, but this time the Bears came up with a big interception on the 1 yard line to end the half with the Bobcats leading 19-6.

The Bears started the second half in a major fashion by taking their first possession down for a touchdown. The touchdown play started on the Bobcat 32 with Flores running the ball, but after nearly getting stopped at the line of scrimmage, he turned back to midfield before turning in the right direction to run the ball in for a touchdown. Phillips failed on the two-point conversion and made the score 19-12 Bobcats with 8:18 left in the third quarter. The Bears’ onside kick recovered the ball, but their drive got stopped on the Bobcat six yard line.

The Bobcats dodged a drive that could have given the Bears the lead for the first time of the night. However, the Bobcat drive was now starting from their own six yard line. The Bobcats made it out to the 32 yard line, but a bad snap led to a turnover with the Bears recovering the ball on the 18 yard line, leaving only 18 yards between the Bears and their first lead.

The Bears ended the third quarter with the ball and driving to the end zone. They found the end zone just two plays into the 4th quarter on an 11-yard pass to Flores. The Bears converted their first two-point conversion of the night on a run by Flores and brought the score to 20-19 Bears with 11:11 to go in the game.

The Bears’ lead was short-lived as the Bobcats took the next drive down the field for another score to take the lead. The Bobcats started on the Bears’ 46, but after a false start by the Bobcats, they had to start from their own 49. Thomas found Trey Nalls for a 51-yard catch and run to the end zone. The Bobcats converted the two-point conversion to make the score 27-20 with 10:09 left in the game.

The Bears continued to fight and drove the ball down the field to the Bobcat 10 yard line, but the drive stalled there as Gage Cook nearly came up with an interception on fourth down, which caused the Bears to turn the ball over on downs.

Thomas came up big again for the Bobcats by taking the ball himself 50 yards down to the Bears two yard line. Two plays later Thomas called his own number on a one yard TD run. The Bobcats converted the two-point conversion to make the score 35-20 with 2:42 remaining in the game. This would be the final score for the night, making the final score Phil Campbell Bobcats 35 and Phillips Bears 20.

The Bobcats will have the week off in preparation for their next region game against Mars Hill Oct. 7. The Bobcats are now (2-4, 0-3).

All prayers go out to Hardy and his family from the Phil Campbell community in hopes for a speedy recovery.