HOPE – The Hope Bobcats are building their gridiron equilibrium as they go deeper into the 2021 football season, coming off a tough non-conference start last week against Little Rock Mills to play a hungry Nashville Scrappers team Sept. 3 in Nashville.
Driving within 14 points of beating rival Nashville, the Bobcats looked better despite some mistakes, Head Coach Philip Turner said.
“We had a good game plan going into the game, but we couldn’t overcome some special teams mistakes as well as stalling out on some offensive drives,” Turner said.
But, there were moments, such as senior Amorrion Dempsey’s 79-yard touchdown dance down the field in the first quarter. Setting up what appeared to be a handoff to the left side from the Hope 20-yard line, Dempsey pulled the entire Nashville defense off-balance, dashing out of the backfield on the right side.
By the time the Scrapper backfield adjusted, Dempsey was at mid-field and flying. Eluding the pursuit, he cut back against the grain and hugged the sideline all the way into the end zone for the score.
Dempsey pulled off two rushing TDs on the night with 154 yards on 16 carries, while passing 3/7 for 54 yards.
“Our players’ effort was there all night,” Turner said. “They played hard and we were so happy with that. The final score wasn’t in our favor, but I was very proud of the fight in our players.”
By the third quarter, Turner paired sophomore quarterback Tyler Patterson with Dempsey in the backfield. With Hope knocking on the door at the Nashville 15-yard line, Patterson sent Dempsey and junior wide receiver Triston Young in a crossing pattern on the right side, hitting Young in the back of the end zone for the score.
Patterson passed 3/8 on the night.
Hope played Nashville even in the first quarter at 14-all, but lost ground in the second and third stanzas, ending the game with a scoreless fourth quarter for both teams. The Bobcats gained 307 total yards on the night, with 120 in the air and 187 on the ground, but converted only 2/12 on third down, while Nashville fared little better at 4/13 on third down.
Turner said the Cats will remain on the road this week, taking on Ashdown at Panther Field at 7:30 p.m., Sept. 10.
“They are 2-0 in the season, defeating Hamburg and DeQueen,” he said. “They are being led by an experienced quarterback in Alex Keibach and Arkansas Razorback commit, tight-end Shamar Easter.”