Huntsville wears down Bobcats
By Scott Loftis
Playing an emotionally charged road game with a thin roster was too much to ask of the Berryville Bobcats on Friday.
With just 27 players in uniform, the Bobcats saw an early lead evaporate quickly as the Eagles rolled to a 40-6 victory on their home field.
“We played with a lot of effort most of the game, the first half especially,” Berryville coach Doug Shott said. “I kind of felt like we got worn down a little bit. It was a highly emotional game. It got chippy especially toward the end of the half and the start of the third quarter.”
A big hit by a Berryville player in the first half left a Huntsville player injured and raised emotions on both sides.
“You can watch the video and it’s not malicious,” Shott said. “It’s just a football play that unfortunately turned into an injury.”
Six Berryville players missed the game because of COVID-19 concerns, and seven Bobcats are out for the season because of injury.
“We had backups playing for backups,” Shott said. “But the effort was good for a while. I think we just kind of got worn out and emotionally it took on a toll on us, too. They came out fired up in the second half.”
Berryville took an early lead on a 28-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback J.D. Smith to senior running back Dominic Henry. But it was all Huntsville after that as the Eagles rushed for 316 yards and finished with 362 yards of total offense. Berryville had 168 total yards. Smith completed six of 19 passes for 73 yards and ran for 52 yards on 11 carries. The Bobcats had 95 rushing yards on 37 attempts.
“Hats off to Huntsville,” Shott said. “They did what they needed to do the second half and we didn’t. They got the better of us.”
Berryville faces another big challenge this week as the Bobcats travel to Prairie Grove. The Tigers are a longtime conference powerhouse under veteran coach Danny Abshier, who has won more than 200 games at Prairie Grove.
The Tigers won just nine games in 2018 and 2019 combined. But Prairie Grove is 7-1 this fall — including a 55-7 home win over Huntsville on Oct. 16.
“They’re actually better than they’ve been in a few years,” Shott said. “They’ve kind of been down themselves the last couple of years. But he’s got ’em rolling again. They’re playing pretty well right now.”