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Livingston squeezes past Bobcats late

By Caleb Adams

Orange Leader

ORANGEFIELD – The Orangefield Bobcats loste a tough one to the Livingston Lions 31-27 in Orangefield on Friday night in a game that featured so many big plays and tough efforts from both teams.

This was a battle of a football game from start to finish. Going back and forth to the final minute. Big play after big play coming from both sides, and both offenses would show up to the challenge to make this one rollercoaster of a football game.

For the Bobcats (2-1), Cameron Dischler showed up to carry the team this game. He controlled the ground game for the Bobcats with 135 yards on 22 rushes, with a big catch for a 73-yard touchdown late into the game. Dischler was able to weave through the defense and break tackles to extend runs. He was the main workhorse for the Bobcats, along with Hunter Ashworth.

Ashworth took care of business between the tackles and racked up 50 yards on 12 carries. He would also have a big catch for 18 yards setting up another score for the Bobcats.

Jontavion Mcneal, starting quarterback for the Lions (2-1), put on an impressive performance of his own. He went go 10-for-16 with 235 passing yards on the night, and also racked up 90 yards on eight rushes for the night. Mcneal was the main reason the Lions were able to pull this win out late into the fourth, his big plays kept them alive and even won them the game when he scored on a keeper with just over a minute remaining. Lion receiver Julian Gardner had seven catches for 148 yards

The Lions got the first points of the game on an efficient first drive. Mcneal took control with two big rushes for 14 and 15 yards. The drive was topped off with a run from Lynn Johnson for 3 yards for the touchdown. After the PAT the Lions took a 7-0 lead with 7:02 left in the first quarter.

The Bobcats answered right back on the next drive, thanks to their effective run game. Dischler was the work horse this drive with four carries for 36 yards and the touchdown to finish the drive off, and chewed off five minutes on the clock. The PAT would go in and make the score 7-7 with 2:15 left in the first quarter.

The Lions kept the pace up with a quick drive for a long touchdown pass towards the end of the first quarter. Mcneal would find Willie Fagan towards the sideline, he broke a few tackles and was off to the races for a 63-yard touchdown reception. After the PAT the Lions led 14-7 with :53 left in the first quarter.

The Bobcats kept the trend going and scored on their next drive to tie the game back up just before halftime. Quarterback Brayden Parker and Dischler took the majority of the carries on the series, pounding the Lions defense up the middle and pitching it outside to mix it up. Parker would find a big pass to Tyler Shearin to extend the drive and setup a red zone attempt. Dischler would take an outside pitch and get the outside corner and take it in for the score. After the PAT the Bobcats tied the game at 14-14 with 1:04 left in the half.

For the first time a drive didn’t end in a touchdown, but the Lions still found points as the first half ended. Mcneal would find a big pass to Javean Gardner for 33 yards to put the Lions within striking distance. The Bobcat defense would stand tall and stop the Lions before they reached the end zone, but they would find a field goal. Eric Vasquez booted in a 37-yard field goal to take the lead back for the Lions as the clock ticked zero for the half as the Lions led 17-14 heading into the third quarter.

The Bobcats continued the trend with another scoring drive to open the second half. Dischler broke off a few good running plays to get the drive started. Parker would fake the run and dump it over to Ashworth for a big 18-yard pass to put them in the red zone. Ashworth would get the next two carries to punch it in from six yards out. The PAT was no good, but the Bobcats led 20-17 with 6:23 left in the third quarter.

Mcneal took it upon himself to take the lead back in the fourth quarter for the Lions. Mcneal would find a big pass to Julian Gardner for 13 yards to setup a red zone attempt. Mcneal then broke one off for a big 30-yard run for the touchdown. After the PAT went in the Lions took the lead 24-20 with 4:29 left in the game.

Parker found a huge pass to Dischler to take the lead back late into the fourth quarter. The Bobcats were put in a corner to begin the drive, but took a couple big shots that paid off. Parker dropped back and found Dischler over the middle for a 73-yard pass, just beating out the defense as Dischler made a tremendous catch as the Bobcats took a late 27-24 lead with 2:24 left in the game.

Mcneal continued to keep the Lions in the game with a big performance. Mcneal would find Gardner for a big 38 yards and a first and goal situation. Mcneal then ran it up the middle for the touchdown and took the lead back again for the Lions that sealed it with just over a minute left.

The Bobcats can take a lot of positives away from this game. Their running game had a lot of success and they started to find their passing game as the game went on. This loss stings but the season is looking up for the Orangefield Bobcats as they battled a tough Livingston team tooth-and-nail for the second straight year. The Lions were the District 10-4A Division I champions a season ago.

The Bobcats will hit the road next week to face old rival Buna.