Bobcat defense tames Wildcats in 18-6 opening victory
The Berryville Bobcats took advantage of seven turnovers by the Cassville, Mo., Wildcats last Friday night at Bobcat Stadium as their defense controlled the game enroute to an 18-6 non-conference victory.
Two fumble recoveries by Michael Johnson, one each by Shawn Ramson and Derek Powell, and interceptions by Ramson, Powell, and Justin Summers were a big part of a solid defensive night for the Bobcats.
"It's always good to win your first one, but it's just a start," head coach Carl Owens said. "Our defense, for the first game, played a good game. Our front seven was in control, and our secondary played better than in a while. They kept Cassville underneath [the coverage].
"Corners Justin Summers (8 tackles) and Corey Roberts (8 tackles) played a fine game, didn't allow any deep completions, and picked off some passes."
The defensive front seven of linemen Shane Hooten, Elliott Ginn, Keeton Evans, and Chance Biggerstaff, and linebackers Johnson, Ramson, and Powell made it tough on the Wildcats after the visitors got an early score.
"Evans had an excellent game," Coach Owens said. "He kept contain, and stepped out in front."
Cassville stopped the first Bobcat offensive effort, took a punt, then marched 70 yards to score with just 2:30 left in the first quarter. The point after failed, and so did Cassville's ability to hold onto the ball.
Berryville had to punt on their second possession, but Cassville fumbled it back to the Bobcats on their 15, and with 10:25 to go in the second quarter, Corey Roberts carried five yards to paydirt to tie the game at 6-6.
"At times, Johnson, Harris and Roberts ran the ball hard," Owens said. "At quarterback, Steven Trulove was pretty solid, didn't make any major mistakes. It was his first game under center."
After Berryville's score, two minutes later Shawn Ramson stepped in front of a Cassville pass and Berryville had the ball again. But an odd defensive alignment by Cassville was giving the offensive line fits, and the offense stalled.
"We had practiced for Cassville's 40 defense, but they changed to a 50 for this game," Coach Owens said. "Our offense spluttered and stammered and didn't execute as well as we have to. It was adequate, but we made a lot of mistakes.
"There was confusion, a lot of first game mistakes, but we overcame it. The offensive line had their hands full. They had to read and pickup."
Cassville forced Berryville to punt, then graciously fumbled the ball right back at 5:54 of the second quarter. Berryville was held and punted again, but sacks by Biggerstaff and Ginn put Cassville in a hole, and this time after another punt, the Bobcat offense started at the Wildcat 41 and made it pay off.
With 1:53 to go until halftime, Joseph Harris carried the ball to the three, then scored around the left side the next play to make it 12-6.
The second half started with both teams marching up and down the field without scoring, and Derek Powell gobbling up another Cassville fumble and getting an interception.
Powell gave the Bobcats their best scoring chance of the second half when he intercepted the ball at midfield with 5:15 to go in the fourth quarter and ran it all the way to the Cassville 15-yard line.
Michael Johnson carried it to the four on a great power run, breaking tackles, with Corey Roberts carrying in for six with 4:14 to play, making it 18-6.
Cassville went to the shotgun to try and catch up, but Johnson fell on another Cassville fumble after a receiver was jarred loose after a pass completion.
Justin Summers killed Cassville's last gasp when he intercepted the ball with just 2:07 to play and returned it to the Wildcat 27-yard line. Joseph Harris carried to the one, but a penalty brought it back and the game ended with Berryville on top, 18-6.
Offense- 172 yards total
Rushing- Harris- 18-61 yds; Roberts- 12-48 yds.; Johnson- 7-40 yds.
Passing- Trulove- 1/5- to Roberts.