HOPE – The Hope Bobcats will meet a Texarkana Arkansas High football team here Friday night that was ranked as the number three team in Class 5A statewide in the preseason. The Red River clash between the two teams brings home a scrappy Hope squad hungry for vindication.
The Bobcats stand at 1-6 on the season and 1-3 in conference play after a loss to Camden-Fairview in Camden that saw Hope Quarterback Ammorrion Dempsey sidelined for most of the game with an ankle injury. Dempsey is expected to return to action Friday night against Arkansas High.
Bobcat Coach Phillip Turner will need to have his entire varsity healthy to take on an Arkansas High team with 16 returning starters, eight each on both sides of the ball, and 23 returning lettermen total. The Razorbacks went 7-4 in 2019, tied for the conference 5A South championship and upset favorite Maumelle in the first round of the state playoffs.
But, COVID-19 hampered the start of Arkansas High’s season with three Texas schools scheduled thrown into chaos by Texas rules. That put Arkansas High at Sept. 11 to start its season, but the delay has not seemed to matter as the Razorbacks have put up an average of 26 points per game since, but barely got by Camden-Fairview, 28-21.
The Bobcats went down hard in Camden, 54-12, but Hope had to reorganize after losing Dempsey in the second quarter.
Dempsey and tag team partner Senior Chelerome McFadden put up the bulk of the 174 yards of total offense the Cats managed on the night, with McFadden scoring Hope’s only points on the ground in the third and fourth quarters.
The Cats were 1/8 on third down with one fumble and one interception on the night, besting their average of 130 yards rushing by 44 yards in the game; but without Dempsey’s arm the passing game was nil for the Bobcats.
The 7 p.m. game time at Hammons Stadium on Friday will be the final home game for the Bobcats, who will close conference and regular season play Nov. 6 against Magnolia in Magnolia.