HOPE – Although the Hope Bobcats came alive in the fourth quarter against the Ashdown Panthers on Sept. 10 in Ashdown, miscues throughout the game prevented the Cats from overtaking Ashdown in a non-conference loss, 47-29.
Hope came away from the contest with two interceptions that hurt the Bobcat offense as senior Quarterback Amorrion Dempsey threw 4/10 for 94 yards in the game against a Panther defense that was quick to respond.
The Bobcats split their scoring between the second and fourth quarters with 6 points in the second and 21 points in the final stanza.
Dempsey set up the Cats in the first quarter with an interception at the Ashdown 40-yard line as the Panther’s quarterback was forced to scramble before the throw, which went straight into Dempsey’s hands and he returned to the Ashdown 20-yard line. But, the Cats were unable to capitalize on the turnover.
The Hope defense forced Ashdown into a fumble in the second quarter as the Panthers were at first and goal on the Hope 3-yard line. As the play collapsed into the left middle of the line senior Linebacker KeJuan Booker pulled the runner away from the line, turned him to the outside and dropped him, forcing the ball loose in the end zone, where junior JaQualin Watson pounced onto the ball.
But, the Cats could not put any points on the scoreboard until later in the second quarter when Dempsey hit senior Wide Receiver K.J. Love on a 28-yard loft that Love took 77 yards into the end zone.
The Panthers held Hope scoreless, again, in the third quarter, but the Bobcats began to discover weak spots in the Ashdown defense in the fourth quarter as Hope drove to the Panther 3-yard line.
On first and goal at the 3-yard line, Dempsey faked a hand-off, kept the ball and ran into traffic in the middle. Then, as a Panther defender grabbed Dempsey’s jersey, the Bobcat field general spun 180 degrees, shook the defender loose and dashed into the right side of the end zone for the first of three touchdowns in the final quarter.
Hope set up the second score on 2/7 from its own 44-yard line as Dempsey handed off to Booker up the middle for 39 yards. That put the Cats at 1/goal on the Ashdown 6-yard line, where Demspey went back to Booker up the middle for the TD.
Booker ran 13/97 with one TD for the game while Dempsey was 7/37 and one score.
The Cats set up their final score of the night on 2/3 from the Ashdown 45-yard line, where Dempsey handed-off to K.J. Love, who found a seam on the right side and rode it to the Ashdown 26-yard line. Love caught 3/91 with two TDs on the night.
Hope punched forward in the fourth until the Cats were second and goal from the Ashdown 8-yard line and Demspey arced the ball deep into the end zone for K.J. Love to score.
Hope takes on traditional rival Prescott in non-conference action Friday, Sept. 17, at Hammons Stadium starting. The Curley Wolves are coming off a 10-1 season last year that ended in the state quarter-finals, and have lost only two conference games in the past 10 years.
Offensively, Prescott brings back six offensive linemen and five starters in the backfield, two of whom have already been recruited by college teams. And, while the Curley Wolves have talent upcoming from the junior varsity ranks at quarterback, all three are new to varsity play.
Defensively, the Curley Wolves have seven veterans returning.
Game time Friday is 7 p.m. at Hammons Stadium and tickets will be on sale at the 18th Street entrance for $5 each. Hammons Stadium will be under a 75 percent of capacity rule due to COVID-19, and face masks are required on the grounds and in the stands.