This Friday night the Bobcats were back in action against the Sevier County Smoky Bears, but not before Central’s annual Homecoming celebration.
Over the past month Central clubs and teams have been fundraising in competition for the top spot who’s candidate will be crowned Homecoming king or queen. This year there were fourteen representative candidates from their respective clubs or teams which is the highest number Central has seen in years. Before the game candidates from all competing organizations, along with their escorts, lined up on the fifty-yard line to walk down the field. Central junior Seth Harper was this year’s announcer and introduced the crowd to each candidate as well as announce and congratulate the winner and runner ups. This year’s winner is Gabby Bratcher representing the cheer team, first runner up is Gabe Reeves representing the baseball team, and second runner up is Elena Kendrick representing the dance team.
The Bobcats kicked off to start the game and kept the Bears opening drive behind the twenty-five yard line. The drive ends with the Bears making a field goal putting them on the board first; Central down 0-3.
After receiving a punt from Sevier County, the Bobcats waste no time, quarterback Dakota Fawver, 2, connects a thirty yard pass to wide receiver Braden Gaston, 7, halfway
through the first half giving the Bobcats their first touchdown of the night. Instead of going for the extra point, Central fakes but comes up short making the score 6-3 with the Bobcats in the lead.
On their second drive Sevier County overcomes a tough Bobcat defense for a touchdown and good extra point putting the Bears ahead 6-10. Fawver keeps the ball multiple times during Centrals next drive into the end of the first quarter proving again that he is unmatched in Central’s surroundings when it comes to running the ball. The score remains the same at the end of the first, 6-10 Sevier County.
The Smoky Bears open the second quarter with another field goal, growing their lead to 6-13. But when they kick-off the ball back to the Bobcats, senior Isaiah Osborne, 18, catches at the twenty yard line and takes off all the way through Sevier County’s defence and into the Bobcat’s endzone for an amazing eighty-yard punt return and touchdown. The extra point is good, tying up the game 13-13.
During Sevier County’s next drive, Central Senior Eunique Valentine, 3, gets a huge sack through the Bears’ defense. This adds to his total as this season’s leader in sacks.
The Bobcat offense comes back hard and fast with Fawver handing the ball off to senior Jason Merritts, 11, who finds his way into the endzone for Central’s third touchdown of the night. After a false start five-yard penalty, junior kicker Jared Swislowski, 19, makes the extra point. Halfway through the second quarter and the Bobcats are up 20-13.
After a strong drive by Central, with only a couple minutes left in the first half Fawver hands off once again to Merritts who rushes right into the endzone. Another touchdown for the Bobcats and another good kick from Swislowski. Score at the end of the half: 27-13.
Both Central’s offense and defense come back strong and rested after halftime with yet another rushing touchdown from a handoff to Merritts and extra point from Swislowski putting the Bobcats up 34-13 about halfway through the third quarter.
The Bobcats’ offensive tempo throughout the second and third quarter has been unreal. With what some are already calling Fawver’s play of the year, with his offensive line broken he weaves in and out of and evades four Sevier County defenders in between the Bobcats’ forty-five yard line and the Bears’ forty-five yard line before making a forty yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Osborne for yet another Central touchdown followed by another extra point from Swislowski. The score now is 41-13 Bobcats.
Central has another touchdown towards the end of the third quarter with Fawver making a pop pass to Gaston who turns on the afterburners to blow past Sevier County defenders to rush about twenty yards for yet another Bobcat touchdown and extra point to make the score 47-13.
Early in the fourth quarter, sophomore Mark Adams Jr., 38, gets his third sack of the game. Central’s defense has been impenetrable tonight.
With such a huge lead, Coach Rosser puts in some younger and less seasoned players to get some experience. One of these is sophomore quarterback Ryan Bolton, 8, and sophomore running back Shannon Mills, 25, who receives a handoff from Bolton late in the fourth quarter and rushes up the middle for an astonishing eighth Bobcat touchdown. Swislowski makes the extra point punching up the score to 55-13.
The games ends with the score remaining 55-13 and Bobcat Nation is ecstatic. The students storm the field after a win that is reminiscent of the 2018 season where Central dominated every opponent after the second game.
This week of Friday night lights ends on the exciting note that a Homecoming win always brings. With whispers and hopes already of a second state championship trip the Bobcats hope to keep the same momentum running into next week. Central faces off in their second away game next week at Hardin Valley.
All pictures courtesy of John Valentine.
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