HOPE – A 5A South conference tilt between the Hope Bobcats and the Hot Springs Trojans turned into a win for Hot Springs, but the Bobcats made certain it wasn’t a pretty win.
Now, at 1-1 in conference play, Hope got cranked up in the second half scoring 20 points in Hot Springs on Oct. 1 but could not overcome the Trojans’ 17-0 lead at halftime as Hot Springs matched the Cats’ scoring to win, 37-20.
But, the Bobcat defense made the game look better for Hope than the scoreboard, stopping Hot Springs for losses six times, forcing a punt after a loss on third and two, forcing one quarterback sack, and one interception.
Seniors Richard Ware and Kaleo Anderson lead the defensive charge along with sophomores Juan Ortiz and Richard Cunningham.
Ware had two tackles for lost Hot Springs yardage and one kickoff return tackle for loss of yardage against the Trojans on the night, while Anderson had one stop on a pass behind the Trojan line and stifled a second Hot Springs pass for no gain.
Ortiz blew through the Trojan line on 1/10 at the Hot Springs 44-yard line to force the Hot Springs quarterback to throw from a scramble and senior Javarous Solomon intercepted the ball on the Hope 47-yard line for the turnover.
Ortiz also smashed through the Trojan line with Hot Springs at 1/10 on the Hope 43-yard line to sack the quarterback for a two-yard loss; and, the Bobcat defensive lineman later stopped the Trojans at the line of scrimmage on 1/10 at the Hot Springs 27-yard line.
With Hot Springs at 1/10 on its own 49-yard line, Cunningham stared down the Trojan quarterback on a pass fake and dropped the Hot Springs runner for a two-yard loss. Still stalking the Trojans’ quarterback, on the next play Cunningham turned to pursuit and broke-up what would have been a Hot Springs pass for first-down yardage to put the Trojans at 3/11.
Senior defensive back Tyzhan Jones gave the Bobcats another shot in the third quarter when he snared a Hot Springs pass on the Trojan 20-yard line.
Offensively, the Bobcats found their way in the second half against a Hot Springs defense that was stingy in the first half.
Hope’s offensive game was fought largely on the ground with senior Quarterback Amorrion Dempsey running 19 times for 135 yards and one touchdown, while sophomore Running Back K.D. Gulley carried 10 times for 46 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore Running Back Tammorion Lindsey contributed 46 yards on 10 carries and a two-point conversion.
Hope had 208 yards on the ground for the night from 48 carries.
While the outing was not the glowing success of the Cats’ Sept. 27 Homecoming victory against DeQueen, Hope is even in conference play with an open date on Oct. 8.
Hope amassed 526 yards of total offense against DeQueen, with 145 yards in the air and one touchdown from sophomore Quarterback Tyler Patterson, and 381 yards on the ground spread between senior Quarterback/Running Back Amorrion Dempsey, and sophomores Tamorrion Lindsey and K.D. Gulley. The Cats were sparked at Homecoming by the return to action of starters who were sidelined by a COVID-19 quarantine scare.
Patterson completed 9/12 with one interception passing on the night and the Bobcats’ ground game was positive on 35 plays.
Hope dominated the first half, holding DeQueen to only 7 points while rolling up 39 on the Cats’ side of the scoreboard. The Cats outscored the Leopards in the second half 13-7, producing points in all four quarters for a 46-14 win.