HOPE – A Hope Bobcat Football program in transition put up 20 points against regional rival Ashdown here Sept. 11, but were overtaken by a Panther squad that has returned 20 lettermen this year.
Bobcat Head Coach Phillip Turner characterized the game as a “battle to the end.”
“The kids played well Friday night,” Turner said. “The effort was there the entire game.”
Turner said the Cats missed some opportunities.
“We gave up three touchdowns on blown coverages, but that was due to fatigue,” he said. “I’m proud of the way they are battling every week.”
Ashdown put together a 41-21 victory against a Hope team that is hungry, as the Panthers scored first with 10 minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Hope Quarterback Ammorrion Dempsey led the charge for the Cats with a busy night that saw Hope take command of the game in the first quarter, as Junior Safety Javaris Solomon scooped up an Ashdown fumble for a 27-yard TD with five minutes left in the frame.
Hope’s defense stood tall after the Cats failed to convert on downs, giving Solomon the opportunity to even the game at 7-all.
The Bobcat defense captured another Ashdown miscue late in the first quarter as the Panthers worked from their own 28-yard line.
Working with less than three minutes remaining in the first quarter, Dempsey began to move the Cats as he faked the handoff, then cut up the middle for 15 yards. He stayed slippery with another 10 yards on the left, putting Hope within striking distance of the goal line.
But, a penalty pushed the Cats back after Dempsey darted to the one-yard line.
With under a minute in the first quarter, Dempsey took the snap from 15 yards out, then darted through the Panther defense to put up another seven for the Bobcats.
But, with Hope leading 14-7 going into the second quarter, the Panther defense started reading Hope’s mail, holding the Bobcats scoreless through the intermission and putting up 18 unanswered points to widen the Ashdown margin.
Then, with eight minutes left in the final stanza, Senior Wide Receiver Chelerome McFadden scored for the Bobcats, but the PAT failed.
Hope’s defense went back to work with under eight minutes left in the game to force another Ashdown fumble on the Hope 23-yard line, but the Bobcats were not able to convert before time expired.
The Bobcats take on area rival Prescott this week in non-conference play.
“We are preparing for the Prescott Curley Wolves this week,” Turner said. “They are a championship-caliber team, and we will have to play our best to beat them.”