Carroll County Super Bowl: Bobcats' big plays turn rivalry game into blowout
By Scott Loftis
Before his team faced Green Forest in Friday’s Carroll County Super Bowl, Berryville coach Doug Shott predicted that if his team played to its potential everything would turn out just fine for the Bobcats.
He was right.
Sophomore quarterback J.D. Smith passed for two touchdowns and ran for two more as Berryville defeated Green Forest 43-6 at Bobcat Stadium.
“I felt like if we could take care of what we needed to do, that we’d be OK,” Shott said. “And that’s what happened.”
Smith completed six of 13 passes for 176 yards to lead a Berryville offense that racked up 413 yards of total offense while holding Green Forest to 181.
“I wouldn’t say they lined up and whipped us,” Green Forest interim coach Ryan Whetham said. “But they lined up and did what they do.”
Smith scored Berryville’s first touchdown on a 1-yard run, then threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to senior Kooper Logan as Berryville took a 14-0 lead. Green Forest answered with a 22-yard field goal from Franklin Morales to cut it to 14-3.
If there can be a momentum swing in a 43-6 game, it came near the end of the first half. Smith lofted a high pass for junior receiver Scotland Lucas, who made a leaping catch over a Green Forest defender and then raced into the end zone to complete a 71-yard touchdown. Junior Armando Mojica kicked the extra point to put Berryville (4-6, 2-5 4A-1) ahead 21-3 with less than a minute remaining in the first half.
With the Bobcats already set to receive the second-half kickoff, the long touchdown was especially demoralizing for the Tigers (1-9, 0-7).
“Any time that happens and you’ve know you’ve got to kick off to them for the second half, it hurts,” Whetham said.
“That’s kind of what we were thinking when we decided to do that,” Shott said of the long pass. “We felt like that took a lot of wind out of their sails.”
The Bobcats added to their momentum by driving 70 yards on their first possession of the second half, capped by a 1-yard touchdown run from Logan.
A special teams play set up Berryville’s next score. With the Tigers lined up to punt, a high snap got away from the punter. Berryville senior Isaac Brown scooped up the loose ball and returned it to the Green Forest 19.
On the next play, Smith faked a handoff to the fullback and ran around the end for a 19-yard TD. The Bobcats then turned to a bit of trickery on the extra-point attempt, as the holder flipped the ball to Logan, who then threw to senior Ethan Gregory for a two-point conversion and a 36-3 Berryville lead.
Morales kicked a 39-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter to cut the margin to 36-6. Berryville’s final touchdown came on a simple dive play when senior fullback Christian Lemus broke free and ran 37 yards for a score. Lemus was a stalwart on defense for the Bobcats all season, and was pressed into service as a fullback late in the season as junior starter Brett Parsons was plagued by injuries.
Lemus made his last carry count.
“He had it on his mind,” Shott said. “He was a heat-seeking missile for the end zone. I couldn’t really see him because he was running away from me, but I guarantee you he was smiling when he got there.”
Junior Tristan Updegraff ran for 82 yards on eight carries for Berryville, which rushed for 234 yards on 36 carries as a team. Logan had 43 yards rushing on 12 carries and added two receptions for 73 yards.
Sophomore quarterback Reiley Gordon completed nine of 20 passes for 97 yards for Green Forest, which also got 60 yards on 18 carries from running back Jordan Zepeda. Hayden Bailey was the Tigers’ leading receiver with three catches for 36 yards.
Berryville’s four victories are the Bobcats’ most since 2006. Whetham said he could see the improvement in Berryville, recalling that the Bobcats committed 19 penalties as Green Forest won the 2017 meeting 23-20.
“In all reality, they beat themselves last year,” he said. “They’re a lot more disciplined now. Coach Shott has done a good job with them.”
“We’re proud of our kids,” Shott said. “We talked after last football season about changes and goals. We didn’t reach all of our goals but we felt like we pushed in that direction. Our kids competed this year.”