2009-09-30 / Sports

Cats battle back to best Berrien County 26-19

By Jay Palmer Sports Writer

The Cats fought hard against the Berrien County Rebels, coming back after the half to win another victory on their home turf Friday night. The Cats fought hard against the Berrien County Rebels, coming back after the half to win another victory on their home turf Friday night. The Early County Bobcats overcame a third quarter deficit to defeat a stubborn Berrien County football team 26-19 Friday night at Standifer Field. Both teams are now 3-1 overall. The Bobcats are 1-0 in region play while the Rebels fell to 0-1.

Neither team could dent the scoreboard in the opening quarter. Berrien appeared to have scored early in the quarter but the long touchdown pass was called back for holding. Early County then took over on downs and marched 54 yards on six plays to take the opening lead. T.J. Allen scored from 13 yards out on an option keeper and Ricardo Castro booted the extra point to give the Bobcats a 7-0 lead with 11:54 left to play in the half.

The Rebels struck right back though. After a good kick return gave them great field position at the Early 47 yard line, it took Berrien just three plays to tie the score. Kal Simmons hit Kirby Riley with a 34 yard scoring strike and Luis Gomez added the extra point to knot the score at seven apiece with 10:17 left to play in the second quarter.

Early County then mounted a 73 yard touchdown drive in 10 plays after the ensuing kickoff. Ladonis Bryant scored on 24 yard touchdown run at the 3:38 mark of the half and Castro converted the extra point to give the Bobcats a 14-7 lead.

But Berrien again started in good field position at their own 45 yard line, and when T.J. Miller ripped off a 49 yard run on first down it appeared the Rebels where poised to tie the score before intermission. But two offsides infractions spoiled the touchdown threat and Berrien had to settle for a Gomez 24 yard field goal as time expired in the first half making the score 14-10.

Berrien took their first lead of the night on the second play of the third quarter. Simmons found Tre Harris alone in the Bobcat secondary for a 65 yard score and Gomez added the extra point to make the score 17-14 Berrien with 10:58 left to play in the third quarter. Things then got worse for the Bobcats on their next possession. Starting in terrible field position at their own 14 yard line, Early was unable to move the football. The snap for the punt was poor and rolled into the end zone for a safety that gave the Rebels a 19-14 advantage with 8:10 left to play in the third quarter.

But the Bobcats battled back and took the lead for good on their next possession. Four plays into the drive Allen found Quayvan Levatte in the flat and the junior made a brilliant run through the Rebel defenders for a 50 yard touchdown at the 3:29 mark of the third quarter. Early opted to go for two points but the try came up short.

The Rebels put together a nice drive the next time they had the football, driving to the Bobcat 24 yard line. But Devonte Spencer picked off a Simmons pass in the end zone and returned it to the 21 yard line. From their the Bobcats put together a fine seven play, 79 yard drive to extend their lead. Bryant and Levatte where the workhorses on the march that ended with Bryant scoring from 12 yards out at the 3:35 mark of the final quarter. The Bobcats try for two points again failed to make the final 26-19.

Early travels to Thomasville this Friday in a key region match up against the Bulldogs.

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