Wildcats down Bears late, 38-34

Published 12:15 am Saturday, October 20, 2018

LITTLE CYPRESS — After shooting themselves in the foot all night, the Splendora Wildcats wound up escaping Battlin’ Bear Stadium with a 38-34 District 11-4A Division I victory over the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Bears Friday night.

Wildcat quarterback Cody Thorndyke hit receiver Tyler Gamble with a 41-yard touchdown strike over the middle with 0:36 remaining to help Splendora seal the win.

Splendora (6-1, 2-0) had 15 penalties for 148 yards and saw three TDs get wiped off the board but still managed a way to push by the Bears (2-5, 1-1), who fought hard all night.

The Wildcat win offset a brilliant performance by LC-M senior quarterback Adam Pope. Pope completed 27-of-37 passes for 302 yards and three TDs. He has thrown nine TD passes in his last three games.

Thorndyke was 11-of-23 for 202 yards with Gamble catching six for 143 yards and two scores. Wildcat back Jessie Paris had 113 yards on 21 carries. Splendora finished with 444 total yards while the Bears had 387.

Splendora quickly erased a 14-10 halftime deficit when return man Dylan Matthews took the second-half kickoff and bolted 71 yards down the right sideline to make it 17-14 with 11:49 in the third.

The Bears would grab the edge again with a six-play, 87-yard drive as Pope completed three passes for 79 yards, one of them going 41 yards down the right sideline to Brendon Pollock (9-98) and another going 31 yards to Darien Williams (4-44). Back Kristian Ickes capped it with a seven-yard TD dart up the middle, putting the Bears up 21-17 with 6:28 in the third.

The Wildcats misfired on a fake punt attempt from their own 36 with 4:03 and the Bears quickly took advantage. Pope completed two passes for 21 yards and Ickes capped it again with another seven-yard TD blast up the middle to make it 27-17 with 1:37 left in the third.

The Wildcats answered when Thorndyke found Gamble on a 56-yard touchdown toss down the right sideline to trim it to 27-24 on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Splendora regained the lead after the Bears muffed the ensuing kickoff. Taking over at the Bear 30, the Wildcats scored three plays later. Paris had a run of 18 to the Bear 1 and he scored on the next play to give the Wildcats a 31-27 edge with 10:56 remaining.

The Bears retaliated nicely zipping 63 yards in five plays to go up again 34-31 with 8:46 left. Ickes had a hug3 18-yard run on the series and Pope capped it when he hit Pollock on a beautiful 18-yard TD strike.

The Wildcats went on a 12-play drive from their own 24 all the way down to the Bear 14 but the Bear defense held firm and Wildcat kicker Damian Casas was wide left on a 31-yard field goal attempt with 2:41 remaining.

The Bears scored 14 unanswered points in the first half to lead 14-10 at intermission. Pope was 15-of-21 in the half for 152 yards and a pair of TD tosses.

The Wildcats drove from their own 39 all the way to the Bear 3 on their first series of the night but the Bears stripped Kyle Weber of the ball and LC-M defensive back James Williams fell on the loose leather at the 3 with 6:03 left in the first quarter.

The Wildcat defense held firm though as they held the Bears down and got the ball back at the Bear 38 and marched six plays for the first score of the night.

Thorndyke had a big run of nine yards on fourth-and-8 that got to the Bear 27. Matthews had a run of 11 to the 16 then Thorndyke hit receiver Tyler Gamble, who was wide open over the middle, for a 16-yard touchdown toss. Kicker Damian Casas nailed the point-after as the Wildcats grabbed a 7-0 edge with 1:47 in the first quarter.

After a 33-yard Matthews punt return gave the Wildcats the ball at their own 45, the Wildcats moved the ball to the Bear 19. Thorndyke hauled in a 18-yard pass and Paris broke loose on a 15-yard run on the drive. However, the Bear defense buckled down and the Wildcats settled for a 36-yard Casas field goal to go up 10-0 with 10:33 in the half.

Pope engineered a nice LC-M drive as the Bear found the end zone on their next possession as the Bears navigated 71 yards in 11 plays to hit paydirt.

Pope completed two passes of 20 and 12 yards to receiver Seth Carpenter, who had seven catches for 97 yards, on the march and hit receiver Darien Williams for 10 more that got to the Wildcat 17. Then four plays the Bears gambled and it paid off when on fourth-and-7 from the 14, Pope soppted receiver James Williams over the middle at about the 2 and Williams fought his way into the end zone for a 14-yard TD strike. Kicker Kooper Abernathy booted the extra-point to trim the margin to 10-7 with 6:13 in the half.

The Bears ran the two-minute drill to perfection to take the lead right before the half, zipping 82 yards on seven plays on Pope’s arm.

Pope found James Williams three times that was good for 39 yards. He hit Carpenter two more times for 29 yards and he capped it when hit Pollock with a 14-yard touchdown dart on the right side of the end zone to make it 14-10 with 0:12 in the half.

Splendora had 182 yards in the half while the Bears had 175.

The Wildcats were hampered by penalties in the half that negated two touchdowns. One, a Williams 89-yard kickoff return due to a block in the back and the other to a facemask after a 31-yard Gamble TD reception. The Wildcats had 10 penalties for 88 yards in the half.

The Bears will make the long trek to Livingston next week to face the Lions while the Wildcats play host to Huffman.