Bobcats use big first half to down Kelly
By Ronnie Hughes / Leader Correspondent ———
BEAUMONT — A stout Orangefield Bobcat defense would stifle the unbeaten Kelly Bulldogs Friday night as the Bobcats rolled to a 21-0 non-district victory at Bulldog Stadium.
The Bobcats (2-1) held the Bulldogs (2-1) to just 166 yards of offense on the night and forced a turnover. The Bobcat defense shined after coming off a loss last week to Kirbyville in which they allowed 24 points.
“It was a good win tonight bouncing back after a loss,” Bobcat head coach Josh Smalley said. “There are some things we need to tighten up, because we can’t have penalties like this against district opponents.”
Despite the shutout win the Bobcats had 11 penalties for 90 yards including a 32-yard touchdown run by Matthew Watkins in the third quarter that was negated because of a holding penalty opposite of the play side.
The Bobcats made quick work of the opening possession.
They took the ball 68 yards down the field in two minutes with Austin Moore capping the drive with a five-yard off tackle run for an early 6-0 lead after the extra point was blocked.
Kelly went for a quick three-and-out on their first two possessions and ended the first quarter with negative yardage.
The Bobcats, however, notched another score quickly with 5:26 remaining in the quarter. Watkins took a keeper around the right corner for a 21-yard touchdown run. Triston McGee pushed the scored to 14-0 after diving forward for the two-point conversion. Watkins had 9 carries for 111 yards on the night with one rushing touchdown.
The Bobcat defense continued to push back the Bulldogs into the second quarter as they stacked up each run play and forced quarterback Conner Quinn into an early 0for–5 passing slump. The Bulldogs didn’t pick up a first down until the nine-minute mark in the second quarter.
Orangefield would continue to work the field with another impressive drive of 64 yards. Watkins tossed his first passing touchdown of the season when he found Christopher McGee in the end zone for an eight-yard grab. The Bobcats led 21-0 at the half and compiled 180 yards in the first half of play.
“I know how important it is to step up as a senior on this team,” said Watkins “Each game I go out and sacrifice my body for the team and execute the plays coach calls in.”
Both teams struggled in the second half. Orangefield had 55 penalty yards in the half and left a lot of big drives unfinished as they were held scoreless the duration.
The Bulldogs however found some life in their passing game. Quinn finished the game 6-for-18 for 96 yards and despite the pressure from the Bobcat defense remained poised to keep some drives alive. Freshman wide receiver Logan Hillin hauled in five of those passes for 88 yards.
Orangefield will continue non-district action next week when they return home to face the Lumberton Raiders, who defeated the Bridge City Cardinals 19-14 Friday.
Orangefield 14 7 10 0 — 21
Kelly 0 0 0 0— 0
Orangefield: Austin Moore 5 run. Matthew Rainey kick
Orangefield: Matthew Watkins 21 run. Matthew Rainey kick.
Orangefield: Christopher McGee 8 pass from Watkins. Matthew Rainey kick.
First downs 9 15
Rushes-yards 15-70 34-254
Passing 96 11
Comp-Att-Int 6-18-0 2-4-11-1
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-1
Penalties-yards 6-50 11-90
Rushing: Orangefield, Watkins 9-111 ; Kelly, Earl Robertson, 5-28
Passing: Orangefield, Player Watkins 2-4-11yds-1td; Kelly, Gore, 6-18-0-0 96yds
Receiving: Orangefield, Christopher McGee 1-8 1td; Kelly, Logan Hillin, 5-88