|Cats overcome first half deficit|
|The Press - Sports|
|Written by Bob Gerard|
|Wednesday, 05 October 2011 09:48|
The first half of Friday’s match-up with the Palatka Panthers at Memorial Stadium seemed like Déjà vu all over again as the visitors jumped out to a two touchdown lead and forced BCHS into playing catch up.
But the opposition wasn’t quite the caliber of the Clay County Blue Devils, and once the Cats woke up from the initial shock, they were able to march to a 27-14 win.
There were striking similarities in the September 30 game and the Clay contest four days earlier as the Panthers ran to the right side of the BCHS line for good yardage.It was the continued turnovers, however, that were most frustrating. Against Clay, the Cats turned the ball over seven times. In the early going against Palatka, BCHS committed a pair of fumbles, one of which set up the first Palatka score.
Neither team threatened throughout much of the first period. The Cats looked a little sluggish after just four days rest. Things got rolling for Palatka when the Panthers recovered a fumble in Wildcat territory in the waning seconds of the quarter. Three plays later, fullback Jeremy Faulk rambled in for the score from 25 yards out.
The PAT was good and Palatka was up by a touchdown.
Falon Lee, who had his best effort of the season with over 200 yards rushing for the game, moved the ball for BCHS, but penalties and incompletions doomed most of the early drives.
“We issued a challenge to [Lee],” said Coach Ryan Sulkowski. “If he wants to be an every down back he had to step up. And he did.”
Penalties pinned Palatka back on their own 6 yard line on their next possession, but quarterback DeKarr Smith found Chris LeDuc and the receiver dodged and weaved his way 94 yards for the score. The run was like a bucket of cold water in the faces of the Wildcats and they finally woke up.
Thomas Sirk, who ran the ball so well against Trinity was able to move the ball to the 38 yard line. He found Malone Hadley to midfield and Lee ran it to the 37. From there, Sirk showed his speed, scrambling out of the pocket and running to the end zone. Roland Gaskins’ kick narrowed the gap to one score.
Turnovers almost bit the Cats for a third time in the half when the Panthers recovered a fumble and drove down field. But with time running out they missed a 37-yard field goal attempt and the teams went into intermission with the Wildcats trailing 7-14.
The old cliché says that some games are a tale of two halves, and Friday night’s game certainly fell into that category. It took a first half of miscues for the Wildcats to get on track, but they were certainly ready to play football when they came out of the locker room after halftime.
“You can’t just roll your helmet out on the field and say it’s Baker County football,” said Sulkowski. “You have to come out ready to play.”
The Cats scored on their first possession of the half with Lee looking unstoppable as he ran the ball in from 35 yards out. With first string kicker Jeremy Wannamaker on the sidelines in a wheel chair from an ankle injury, replacement kicker Roland Gaskins hammered home the extra point to tie the score.
The teams sparred throughout the rest of the third period, but the Cats got going near the start of the fourth quarter. Lee took the ball from the Wildcat 44 to the Palatka 25 yard line in three runs. Sirk hit Richard Kienath at the 15 yard line and two plays later Sirk scrambled and ran the ball in from 10 yards out for a 21-14 lead.
The Wildcat defense stymied the Panthers throughout the second half, and the final BCHS score came after a big fourth down stop gave the Cats the ball near midfield. Lee ran into Palatka territory to the 45 yard line. Sirk showed his shiftiness, sliding around the right side and outrunning the opposition for a 45 yard score.
Lee finished with 22 carries for 236 yards and a touchdown. Sirk had 20 carries for 201 yards and three scores.
Jared Lee posted 13 tackles, Hunter Sullivan nine tackles, Roland Gaskins six tackles and Falon Lee one interception for the defense.
Palatka had 95 yards rushing and 127 passing for 222 total yards.
BCHS will travel to Paxon on Friday, October 7 for a key district game. The Cats are 3-1 on the season while the Eagles are 1-3. The game will kickoff at 7 pm.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 06 October 2011 12:07|