Bobcats claw out win in thriller

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 14, 2003

"It was a great football game," is how both Opp Head Coach Jeff Rhodes and Beauregard Head Coach Roger McDonald started their postgame interviews.

The game was great, but Opp Bobcat fans liked the result a lot more as the Bobcats edged past Beauregard by a final score of 16-14.

The game had a little bit of everything.

"It was a great football game between two great football teams," McDonald said.

He said the difference in the game came down to making plays.

"When we blocked that punt and didn't punch it in we knew it would hurt us," McDonald said. "We made a couple more mistakes than they did and that was the difference."

Rhodes was at a loss for words when asked what the difference in the game was before finally speaking with a grin slowly turning the corners of his mouth heavenward.

"We scored more points than they did," Rhodes said. "Both teams played great games and it could have gone either way."

Beauregard had its chances late in the game, but a few miscues proved costly.

The Hornets were trailing Opp 9-8 when Cornelius Myhand blocked Ryan Cooke's punt. He bobbled the ball as he tried to run into the end zone and Lamar Blackmon pounced on it to give the Hornets a first down just two yards from the end zone.

Jonathan Wilson was turned away by the Opp defense for no gain on first down. Ken Dowell powered his way for one yard on second down to set up a third-and-goal at the one-yard line.

McDonald sent in the play with quarterback Lardarius Webb stressing the last two words, "on two."

Webb lined up behind center and when he barked "hut" offensive lineman Austin Smith fired off the line drawing a flag for an illegal procedure penalty. The penalty pushed the Hornets back to the six-yard line on third down.

Webb kept the ball running to his left and picked up two yards. Then, on fourth-and-goal from the three Opp applied heavy pressure to Webb as he got off a pass that fell incomplete.

The goal-line stand by Opp's defense secured a 9-8 lead with 7:25 left in regulation.

Opp added to its lead after taking over possession of the pigskin going 97-yards on nine plays with Jaquez Henderson scoring on a 47-yard run. The PAT by Brock Kelley split the uprights and the Bobcats were on top 16-8 with 2:09 left to play.

Beauregard scored with 45 seconds left on a touchdown pass from Webb to Myhand despite pass interference. The Hornets went for two and were turned away by the Bobcats when a pass fell incomplete.

The Hornets attempted an onside kick, but it bounded out of bounds to give Opp possession near midfield. Opp quarterback Daniel Coleman took two snaps, dropping to a knee both times, to run out the clock and secure a 16-14 win in the first round of the state playoffs.

The first half saw Opp take an early 3-0 lead when Kelley booted a 31-yard field goal with 5:03 left in the first quarter.

The Hornets went on top 8-3 by taking the ensuing kickoff and marching down the field. Webb capped off the drive with a three-yard touchdown run that ended with him diving into the end zone.

The Hornets lined up for an extra point attempt, but faked it and Webb threw a pass to Myhand for a two-point play that gave them an 8-3 lead.

The score was 8-3 at the halftime intermission.

Opp's win sends them into the second round where the Bobcats will play at Demopolis next Friday night at 7 p.m. Demopolis defeated Choctaw County 14-12 last night in first-round action.