Bobcats nab playoff berth with gritty win over H-J

Published 11:49 pm Friday, November 3, 2017

ORANGEFIELD – They’ve battled the injury bug and they battled back strong from Hurricane Harvey and they battled amazingly Friday night as the Orangefield Bobcats sealed their fifth straight playoff berth with a 13-12 nailbiting win over the Hardin-Jefferson Hawks in District 12-4A Division II action.

The Bobcats (3-3, 2-1) utilized the legs of tailback Dylan Williams, the superb leg of kicker Jacob Rainey and a stout defensive effort to thwart the Hawks (1-5, 0-3).
Williams chewed up 163 yards on 15 carries and Rainey booted two field goals while the Hawks missed a vital extra-point kick that could have tied things up.

“What a big, big win for our kids and coaching staff,” said Bobcat coach Josh Smalley. “We’ve battled through some adversity to get make the playoffs again, that’s for sure. It was a great game and tight, I’m glad I took my heart medicine (with a smile) before the game.”

The Bobcats finished with 289 total yards while the Hawks finished with 260.

Bobcat tailback Zach Dischler ran for 71 yards on 11 carries and fullback Blake Bradley had the lone Bobcat touchdown.

H-J quarterback Brayden Pelt completed 9-of-17 passes for 126 yards. H-J receiver Mason Murray caught four passes for 60 yards.

The Bobcats did struggle in the red zone but were able to hang on.

“We moved the ball from the 20 to the 20 but tended to bog down and that’s a credit to H-J,” said Smalley. “We had a nice first quarter but we should’ve put more points on the board when we had a chance and it almost came back to bite us. Defensively, what a game. H-J scored 38 points against Liberty last week, so to hold them to 12 was a super job.”
H-J pulled to within 13-12 with 6:34 remaining when fullback Brayden Pomirko scored from four yards out. However, kicker Garrett Hampton hit the left post on the goalpost to miss the extra-point.
The big play of the Hawk series came when Pelt teamed up with Murray on a 40-yard pass to the Bobcat 18 on a third-and-8 play.
The Orangefield defense thwarted H-J on the Hawks’ first series of the second half. H-J drove from its own 28 to the Bobcat 59 but Bobcat defensive back Cade Brown picked off a Pelt pass at the Bobcat 26 with 8:17 in the third quarter.
The Bobcats put together a nine-play, 76-yard drive but were held on third-and-2 from the Hawk 5. Standout kicker Jacob Rainey was able to nail a 22-yard field goal to put the Bobcats up 13-6 with 0:10 left in the third. Williams helped set it up when he cut through the Hawk defense for a 46-yard scamper to the H-J 35 and he had a 10-yard run to the H-J 5.
The Bobcats scored on their first possession of the night when Rainey drilled a 32-yard field goal to make it 3-0 with 8:27 in the first quarter.
Orangefield gobbled up 56 yards on a seven-play drive before H-J held firm on defense at the Hawk 15.
Dischler helped set it up with the big gain, as he scooted on a 31-yard run down the left sideline that got to the H-J 40. He had another gain of 10 later that got to the H-J 19.
The Bobcats put together nearly a five-minute drive at the end of the first quarter, zipping 80 yards in nine plays, showcasing Williams on the scoring march.
Williams broke loose on a 32-yard burst all the way to the H-J 31 and six plays later he found a big hole and darted 13 yards up the middle to the H-J 5. On the next play fullback Blake Bradley bruised his way up the middle for a five-yard touchdown. Rainey made the point-after as the Bobcats led 10-0 at with 0:41 in the first quarter.
The Hawks were able to trim it late in the first half.
The Hawks executed a perfect fake punt while facing a fourth-and-11 from their own 22 when punter Blake Cruse zipped around the left side all the way to the H-J 45 for a 23-yard gain.
Pelt hit receiver Murray eventually on a 11-yard strike to the Bobcat 39 and H-J back Izaak Whitman broke a couple Bobcat tackles along the right side and cut it back across the middle for a 39-yard touchdown gallop. Kicker Garrett Hampton missed the point-after as the Hawks trailed 10-6 with 1:20 in the half.
The Bobcats outgained H-J 176-108 in the first half and ran nine more plays. All of the Bobcat yardage came via the ground. Williams zipped for 81 yards on nine totes in the half while Dischler had 69 yards on eight carries.
Pelt was 3-for-6 for 32 yards with Murray catching two for 23 yards.

The Bobcats will visit West Orange-Stark next week and a win would allow them to have at least a share of the 12-4A title.

Orangefield 13
Hardin-Jefferson 12

OF              10      0       3       0— 13
H-J             0       6       0       6 —12

Scoring summary
OF: Jacob Rainey 32 field goal.
OF: Blake Bradley 5 run. Rainey kick.
H-J: Izaak Whitman 39 run. Kick failed.
OF: Jacob Rainey 22 field goal.
H-J: Brayden Pomirko 4 run. Kick failed.

OF              H-J
First downs             16              14
Rushes-yards    51-289 30-134
Passing         0             126
Total yards             289             260
Comp-Att-Int    0-0-0           9-17-1
Fumbles-Lost    0-0             2-0
Penalties-yards         2-25 7-50
Rushing:  Orangefield, Dylan Williams 15-163, Zach Dischler 11-71, Blake Bradley 13-34, Christian Louvier 9-15. Clayson Choate 1-5, Heston Puckett 1-1, Chase Broussard 1-0; Hardin-Jefferson, Blake Cruse 5-35, Izaak Whitman 1-39, Brayden Pomirko 10-36, Brayden Pelt 11-18, Christian Bowie 2-6, Mason Murray 1-0
Receiving: Orangefield, None; Hardin-Jefferson, Brayden Pelt 9-17-1 126
Receiving: Orangefield, None; Hardin-Jefferson, Mason Murray 4-60, Dylan Duhon-Walker 1-28, Trystain Conner 1-11, Blake Cruse 1-9, Dillon Bryant 1-4, Brayden Pomirko 1-14.