The Hobbton Wildcats’ football team took down a talented but inexperienced Chatham Central team, hanging on for a 29-21 victory on Friday night for their first win since beating the Bears two years ago.
The Wildcats had the first chance to score but a series of penalties killed their drive and they were forced kick it away.
After the punt, the Bears took over at their 37-yard line. On first down they threw the ball right to DaCorris Morrison of the Wildcats, giving the ball right back to the ‘Cats at the 29-yard line.
Penalties, however, came into play again. With 6 minutes left in the first quarter, the Wildcats were forced to punt yet again.
The Bears turned the ball around at the Wildcat 44-yard line but wound up attempting a field goal with 1:10 left in the quarter. The kick was good, however, a penalty on the offense erased the points and moved the ball back. The next kick hit the right upright of the goal post and bounced back onto the field.
With 55 seconds left in the first quarter, the Wildcats took over at their own 20-yard line.
Then, on the second play of the second quarter, Hobbton quarterback Greyson Rogers found Jackson McLamb over the middle. McLamb complete the catch and scampered 69-yards to the end zone. Hobbton’s kicker, Jovanna Zapata, hit the first of her three extra point kicks of the night to put the Wildcats up 7-0 just 46 seconds into the second quarter.
On the ensuing possession, the Bears began their next drive at their own 42-yard line. They moved the ball well, however, on a fourth and short, they came up short when Morrison broke up a pass play to give the Wildcats the ball back on their own 27-yard line.
The Wildcats moved the ball out toward midfield where Rogers hooked up with Morrison on a 55-yard TD pass play to go up 13-0. The Bears jumped off side on the point after attempt, moving the ball to the 1.5 yard line. The Wildcats elected to go for the 2-point conversion with Morrison sneaking in through traffic. The score, with 5:35 left in the half was 15-0 in favor of Hobbton.
Chatham Central turned the ball around and completed a couple of passes, one of which being a 47-yard completion for a score. With the PAT kick, Hobbton held a 15-7 lead with 4:12 left in the half.
After getting a defensive stop, the Bears reclaimed possession and were threatening when they were assessed a penalty for an illegal receiver downfield. Within striking range, Chatham Central attempted a field goal that went wide with 1:53 left in the half.
On the next series, the Wildcats lost an interception that set up the Bears up in good field position that resulted in a touchdown run with 5 ticks left on the clock. With the PAT the Wildcats took a slim 15-14 margin into the break.
Chatham Central kicked off the action in the second half but didn’t get much.
A Hobbton fumble on the ensuing drive, however, put the Bears back in the thick of things. With 3:30 left it the third quarter, Chatham Central took the lead at 21-15, a lead that carried over to the fourth quarter.
Early in the fourth, Morrison tied the game at 22 with a 30-yard touchdown run. Zapata’s kick then gave the Wildcats back the lead at 22-21 lead. The Bears turned the ball around; however, the Wildcat defense proved too much and they gave up the ball on downs.
With 7:15 left, The Wildcats tallied another score on a 6-yard run by Rogers after Morrison got the ball down to the 6 on a long scamper. With Rogers’ touchdown and Zapata’s kick, the score was 29-21.
The rest of the game was defense. With 1:15 left, the Wildcats’ defensive unit stopped the Bears deep in Hobbton territory on the Wildcat 8-yard line, where they were able to run out the clock for Hobbton’s first victory in two years.
“I’m super proud of the defense,” commented Hobbton coach Joe Salas. “They kept us in it. We were minus-2 on turnovers. We got one and gave them three. That’s like a 90 percent chance of losing. But, the defense kept us in it. They kept battling. The offense came through. The O-line played 1000 percent better than last week. That was the first win in two years so our kids get to go to the first day of school on Monday 10 feet tall. So, they are going to be excited about the first day of school.”
With the win, the Wildcats are 1-1 on the season. They are set to return home for their first home game of the season where they will host the North Johnston Panthers on Thursday night at 7 p.m.