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Haters Gunna Hate

Timothy Spencer - photo by Brendon D. Miller - Bluegrass Sports Nation

Breathitt rolls Middlesboro 57-7 for 1st District win.

MIDDLESBORO – September 27, 2019 – Casey Allen – Bluegrass Sports Nation

For those who don’t know, Breathitt County and Middlesboro have been a rivalry since the late 1990’s. During that time, state championship conversations couldn’t be had without mentioning either the Bobcats or the Yellowjackets. In 1999, Breathitt traveled to the Boro and lost 42-41. In 2005, Breathitt returned to Middlesboro in an absolute slug fest that ended in double overtime with the Yellowjackets yet again winning. In 2006, the Yellowjackets landed on the RiverBank and escaped with a 57-42 victory. These are just a few examples of the incredibly entertaining rivalry between these two storied programs.

Coming into last night’s game the two teams had combined for a 9-1 record. Middlesboro at 4-1 has accumulated several one score victories on their resume with the only blemish coming against a stout Williamsburg team.

Breathitt on the other hand, at 5-0 has cruised this season. Five wins….5 running clocks….5 weeks of people not believing in the Bobcats….5 weeks of “but who have they played?” That’s a fair argument. Breathitt’s opponents were a combined 10-14 coming into Friday night. Those who didn’t believe the hype also pointed to Middlesboro as the real test for the Bobcats. Even the RPI had Middlesboro ranked higher than the Bobcats.

The pregame story of the night was Breathitt’s dual-threat quarterback Braxton O’Hara wouldn’t play due to an injury, creating the perfect storm for Middlesboro to end the perfect season. Enter Jaylen Turner. Turner’s first career start at the quarterback position in not just a rivalry game, but a game that was expected to challenge the Bobcats in all facets of the game. Turner welcomed the pressure and the Bobcats rallied behind him.

Jaylen Turner in the Pocket – photo Brendon D. Miller

It was clear from the first play of scrimmage that Breathitt is, has, and will continue to be on a mission. Charles Collins took the hand off from Turner and broke loose for a huge gainer down the visiting sideline. It didn’t take long for the Bobcats to do what they have done all season and score on their first possession of the game. Lane Weddle converted the extra point and the Bobcats led 7-0.

Collins scores opening touchdown – photo Brendon D. Miller

Middlesboro’s first possession would begin on their own 20-yard line thanks to Lane Weddle’s right leg as he kicked the ball into the endzone for a touchback. From the booth it was obvious that Middlesboro’s offensive line had incredibly large splits between them. The Bobcat Coaching Staff quickly made an adjustment and began bringing Bobcat Linebackers Collins and Ladaniel Whitaker on inside blitzes. This adjustment shut down Middlesboro forcing them to punt.

Breathitt County’s next possession stalled out and Weddle would again put his right leg into action as he punted the ball deep into Yellowjacket territory. The ball took a favorable bounce for the Bobcats and looked to be heading into the endzone, but Breathitt’s Blake Ritchie made an outstanding play by swatting the ball and keeping it out of the endzone. Breathitt’s special teams yet again came up big and downed the ball on the 1-yard line. On the very next play, Breathitt’s defense said thank you to Lane Weddle by tackling the back in the endzone for a safety. Bobcats lead increased to 9-0.

Safety – photo by Brendon D. Miller

 Breathitt was off to a thunderous start. Speaking of thunder, Mother Nature decided the game needed a reset and placed us under a lightening delay. Bluegrass Sports Nation used the delay to work on some technical difficulties with the Webcast, and we want to thank Steven Neace from WJSN for helping us get that mess sorted out. During the delay, the Bobcats loaded the buses and traveled four miles down the road to Middlesboro High School. You would think a delay would help Middlesboro more, but it was quiet the opposite. The delay gave the Breathitt County Coaching staff time to make even more adjustments, this time on the offensive side of the ball.

Middlesboro seemed content making the Breathitt Bobcats bounce their runs outside. In the second drive that really worked well for them as their team speed was able to force short gains resulting in a punt. The adjustment Breathitt made to combat this, was stacking their running backs. Dalton Manns lined up as the upback and Charles Collins would be offset to Turner. On the very first play after the lightening delay, Manns lead blocked straight up the middle busting Collins loose for a 46-yard touchdown run. From that point on, Middlesboro got served.

Jaylen Turner would show the State that he could lead Breathitt’s offense as he threw the ball for 123 yards and 2 touchdowns on 6 of 10 passing. He also had an interception on defense for the Bobcats. Charles Collins took 10 carries for 182 yards and 4 touchdowns. Dalton Manns added 55 yards and a touchdown on 6 carries. Lane Weddle caught 1 pass for 46 yards and a touchdown. Jacob Noble mirrored that stat line with 1 catch of his own for 46 yards and a score.

Breathitt steamrolled Middlesboro in this one winning 57-7. Breathitt added yet another running clock to their resume. The Bobcats outgained the Yellowjackets 411-149. Breathitt also had 3 interceptions and added 2 sacks. Lane Weddle also added a touchdown on a kickoff return.

Lane Weddle Touchdown – photo Brendon D. Miller

Haters gonna hate, doubters gonna doubt. Breathitt has answered every question mark throughout the season. The fact is, you play who is on the schedule and you let your pads do the talking for you. Breathitt is doing exactly that. Rank ’em where you want, this group of Bobcats don’t care. The Bobcat faithful don’t care. You just need to recognize one thing……. WE ARE BAAAAAAAACCCCCCKKKKKK!!!!!

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