Bobcats shut out Hornets to open season
JACKSON – August 20, 2022 – Brendon D. Miller
United We Stand, Divided We Fall – not just the motto of the Commonwealth, but a truth that is exemplified on each and every play during a football game. The Bobcats were a testament to same on Friday Night as they were miraculously able to open the season on schedule at the Mike Holcomb Athletic Complex following the devastation of the football facilities from the record flooding on July 26th and the following days. Tough times make tough people and teams, and establish leaders and followers. Coach Kyle Moore, his staff, and the Bobcats are firmly established as leaders.
United the Bobcats have been from the date of the flooding, and took the field as such last night on the RiverBank, and united they remained to post the 43-0 win, giving the community a shot of inspiration as we all recover from this nightmare which has claimed the lives of eight Breathitt Countians, with two still missing, and compromised the lives of nearly all.
Few programs have ever had to face what the Bobcats have the last three weeks. Multiple players and coaches lost their homes, many lost personal items and their families were displaced. Some lost all, all, or their family, lost something. This is simply alot to deal with before you get to football, especially for kids 14 to 18 years old.
All equipment of the team and the facilities right down to the blocking sleds on the practice field were compromised. Many said the season was in jeopardy and others thought that the season would be played totally on the road. Thanks to help from our friends and football family across the Commonwealth, and the tireless efforts of many volunteers and Breathitt School staff, this game was possible and took place. Quite honestly, it could not have come at a better time for this community. The outcome on the field was as wanted, however, just a somewhat normal Friday Night Lights on the RiverBank was a great tonic.
Several players and units stood out on the night:
Friday night was the debut of new starting quarterback, Senior Tyler Bryant, and what a debut it was. Missing a week of reps in practice after the flooding was not ideal. The offense showed the signs of the missed work on the first two drives including a turnover on the second play, but then Bryant opened it up both through the air and on the ground. Tyler completed 10 of 14 attempts for 175 yards and two touchdowns, and ran six times for 22 yards and a touchdown and scored two conversions. Tyler has waited for his time for two years learning from the now graduated dynamic playmaker and athlete Jaylen Turner. To his credit, and as a great example to other young athletes, Tyler did not panic or pout, and try to transfer or quit the team due to the lack of playing time, and as a result, 2022 is his time. The sky is the limit for Tyler and it will be fun to watch him grow and progress this year!
Caden Bowling simply put on a show on the ground as he is now the feature back in the offense. For those of us who watched Caden dominate the field for both the NorthFork Lumberjacks and Breathitt Middle, this was the Caden we have all expected to see on display. An unfortunate shoulder injury last year derailed his season, but he is now healthy and ready to shine. Caden ran eight times for 155 yards and two long touchdowns of 45 and 78 yards, and then caught a spectacular 13 yard touchdown in the back corner of the endzone on a dime from Bryant to end the first half.
Senior wide receiver Blake Ritchie was also spectacular as he led the Bobcats in receiving catching four balls for 93 yards including the opening touchdown of the game when Bryant hit him on a crossing pattern and Blake sprinted untouched to pay dirt. Blake is also healthy after suffering a hand injury last year and is instrumental to the success of this team as he plays both ways as a starter at cornerback and is the holder on PAT’s.
The offensive line put in an excellent shift. This group is agressive and agile and gave Bryant plenty of time to throw and opened holes for Bowling all night. Junior Evan Miller is the only starter back in the same position from last year at center, with Senior Dylan Spencer moving over to right tackle from right guard. Newcomer, Junior Jacob Parker has taken over at left tackle, and freshmen Waylon Abner and Sawyer Hall have solidified the guard positions. This group will be key to the continued success of the Bobcat offense this season.
You don’t post a goose egg at any level of football with an excellent group of linebackers and the Bobcats have a fearsome unit of Juniors Brady Tincher and Ryan Robertson, and Sophomores Kory Combs, Jason Tolson, and Braxton Terry. This group was all over the field last night disrupting and harassing the Magoffin offense. Combs is a standout, and Tincher and Robertson are known quantities from extended time last year, but new starter Jason Tolson was particularly impressive in the middle. Tolson and Combs will be a force, period. It is my opinion that this group, and their contineued development, will determine the success of the Bobcats defense this year.
One thing about it, this group is really going to be fun to watch this year with playmakers all over the field on both sides of the ball. Heck I did not even mention the dynamic Isaac “Wheels” Turner who is a touchdown waiting to happen each time he touches the ball, and the deep and talented defensive line and seasoned secondary.
The game was streamed LIVE on BSN, rewatch and see if you agree with my take!
BHS – 6:08 – Blake Ritchie pass from Tyler Bryant – 44 yards (PAT – Braxton Terry)
BHS – 3:08 – Kory Combs 1 yard run (PAT – Terry)
BHS – 8:03 – Caden Bowling 45 yard run (PAT – failed)
BHS – 5:05 – Bryant 6 yard run (Conversion – Bryant run)
BHS – 0:30 – Bowling pass from Bryant – 13 yards (Conversion – Bryant run)
BHS – Bowling 78 yard run (PAT – Terry)
Team wise Breathitt accumulated 20 first downs while gaining 402 yards (227 rushing, 175 passing) of total offense on 39 plays, while holding Magoffin to 7 first downs and 137 yards of total offense. Breathitt lost one fumble, while Magoffin turned the ball over twice, and had a third fumble recovered by Breathitt wiped out by a whistle.
Rushing – Bowling 8/155, Jayden Gibson 5/23, Bryant 6/22, Brayden Barnett 3/16, Kory Combs 2/6, Isaac Turner 1/5
Passing – Bryant 10/14/175
Receiving – Ritchie 4/93, Turner 4/53, Dillon Stacy 1/16, Bowling 1/13
Rushing – Ben Lafferty 17/68, John Conley 1/17, Aden Barnett 10/7, Brock Montgomery 1/2
Passing – Barnett 2/7/46
Receiving – Ian McCarty 1/28, Montgomery 2/18
Breathitt travels to Powell County (0-1) on Friday, August 26th. Powell was defeated by Estill County 14-6 in their opener. The game will be streamed LIVE on BSN Facebook and YouTube, but will be an audio only stream (we can not show any live action) as Powell is a NFHS school and you must purchase an NFHS subscription to watch the video of the game.