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franklin county times

Bobcats triumph over Mars Hill

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By Brannon King for the FCT

 

The Phil Campbell Bobcats used a balanced team effort to claim a 33-19 win at Mars Hill over the Panthers for their second straight win of the season.

The Bobcats (2-1) got off to a fast start, scoring on each of their first three drives on the Panthers, who are winless so far in the early season. The game was the first region contest this year for Phil Campbell.

“It was important to get that first one,” Phil Campbell head coach Ryan Swinney said. “We knew that was going to be a tough game here on the road. They do a good job with what they do.”

The Phil Campbell rushing attack, led by running back Tristan Godsey’s 122 yards and two touchdowns, punished the Mars Hill defense on a humid night in Florence. Five different Bobcats carried the ball in the game, racking up a total of 271 yards on the ground.

Quarterback Peyton Thomas completed four of eight passes for 77 yards, including one for a TD to Noah Williams, who had 47 yards receiving on the night. Thomas also added 45 yards rushing in the victory. The offense also took good care of the ball, committing no turnovers.

Phil Campbell’s defense held Mars Hill scoreless in the first half until quarterback Brady Binion completed a TD pass with only three seconds left before halftime.

“We challenged them at halftime,” Swinney said about his squad. “We felt like we gave up a touchdown right before the half that we should have never given up. We had chances to stop that drive, and we let them score.”

Mars Hill put together a couple of long scoring drives in the second half, but the Bobcats got a boost from an interception by Justin Baker in the fourth quarter. “We finished the game out like we really wanted to,” Swinney added.

The Phil Campbell offense got on the board first when Trey Nalls scored on a tough two-yard run with 7:26 left in the first quarter. The extra point kick was no good, but the Bobcats had the early 6-0 lead.

After Phil Campbell forced a Mars Hill punt, the Bobcat offense went to work on a nine-play drive, resulting in a 23-yard Godsey TD run. Phil Campbell then lined up to kick the extra point but faked it; Thomas passed to Austin Riner for a two-point conversion, making the score 14-0.

Another quick Mars Hill drive resulting in a punt put the Bobcats offense back in business. This time, Thomas connected with Noah Williams on a 25-yard TD pass on third down. The PAT kick was again unsuccessful, but the Bobcats had a 20-0 lead.

The two teams traded punts before Mars Hill got things going with a long drive of their own. The Panthers mixed the run and pass nicely to ultimately find the end zone before the half, when Binion found Hayden Hibbett for a three-yard TD pass. Mars Hill then tried for two, but the Phil Campbell defense held strong and stuffed the run, and the Panthers were denied.

Mars Hill pulled within seven points by taking the second half kickoff and marching 83-yards on 13 plays and finding the end zone on a seven-yard pass by Binion to Bradley Thigpen on fourth down. It looked as though the Phil Campbell defense had turned the Panthers away on the previous play, but they were called for pass interference. The extra point kick by Thigpen was good to make the score 20-13 with 7:30 to go in the third quarter.

Phil Campbell put together a strong fourth quarter to finish off the victory. Godsey scored on a five-yard TD run, and Colby Baker added the extra point to increase the lead to 27-13. Then Justin Baker’s interception gave Phil Campbell the ball near mid-field. Seven plays later, Baker was the touchdown-maker on a five-yard run to make the score 33-13.

Binion found Thigpen again for a Mars Hill 21-yard TD pass, but the extra point kick was no good, making the final score 33-19.

The Bobcats will continue 2A, Region 8 play in the next game with Hatton visiting Phil Campbell.

 

 

 

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