Turning back the hands of time

Published 11:23 am Monday, November 27, 2017

It was a flash from the past on Log Mountain Saturday as players from days gone took the field. Alumni from Bell County and Middlesboro suited up one more time for the chance to battle each other. The Bobcats ended the game with a 36-0 victory over the Jackets.

While Bell walked away with the victory, it was a chance for fans to see and relive the past with a diverse set of rosters. The Bobcat roster had players graduating as early as 1972 to 2016. Middlesboro — who boasted a considerably younger roster — had players from 1991 to 2016.

The game started off with both teams coming up short of the end zone. The Bobcats found pay dirt first with 1:41 remaining in the opening quarter. An interception by Scotty Warren helped set up a 71-yard touchdown pass from Peyton Collett to Stephen Hunter. Collett scrambled into the end zone on the two-point attempt to give Bell an 8-0 lead.

The game remained silent for several possession after that with the Bobcats marching into Middlesboro territory near the end of the first quarter. Early in the second, TR Christopher kept the Bell drive alive with a 26-yard run on third down from the Middlesboro 42.

Three plays later, the Jackets sacked Keith Nelson to bring up a third-and-long. A 25-yard heave to the end zone by Nelson was intercepted by Dalin Farr at the goal line to end the drive. Middlesboro couldn’t capitalized and punted the ball away six plays into the ensuing drive.

It was another turnover that set up Bell County’s second touchdown of the half. An interception by Sean Davenport gave the Bobcats good field position inside Jacket territory. Two plays later, Christopher found pay dirt on a 20-yard touchdown run with 52.3 seconds remaining to give the Bobcats a 14-0 lead heading into halftime.

Bell County found its stride in the second half. On the opening drive, the Bobcats drove 69 yards in eight plays. Ryan Collett got things started with a 10- and 9-yard run to give Bell a first down. Reggie Robbins carried the load from there running the ball four times for a total of 42 yards.

Christopher capped the drive with a 1-yard plunge into the end zone with 7:50 remaining in the third. The failed two-point attempt increased the lead to 22-0.

Two plays into the ensuing drive, the Bobcats forced and recovered a fumble inside Middlesboro territory. Jason Bingham capped a nine-play, 49-yard drive with a 9-yard touchdown run with 1:29 remaining in the third to increase the Bell lead to 28-0.

The Jackets finally made their way into Bell County territory on their next drive behind the legs of CG Ford. The shifty back ran the ball three of Middlesboro’s first four plays of the drive tallying 25 yards to move the ball to the Bobcat 39.

Middlesboro did very little after that. On third-and-6 from the Bell 35, Sean Frost connected with Daniel Crawford to convert the first down. On the next play, the Jackets fumbled and Bell recovered.

The Bobcats took advantage and scored in four plays. Bell capped the drive with a 46-yard touchdown pass from Peyton Collett to Hunter with 7:33 remaining in the fourth. Freddie Mays — who graduated in 1972 and was the oldest player participating in the game — converted the two-point attempt in what may have been the most memorable play of the game. The conversion gave the Bobcats a 36-point lead.

Determined not to get shutout, Middlesboro gave one last-ditch effort to find the end zone with time running off the clock. Taking over at their own 15-yard line, the Jackets marched down the field behind the arm of Frost.

A pass from Frost to Josh Lewis took Middlesboro into Bobcat territory. Back-to-back passes to Ryker Gent and Lewis moved the ball down to the Bell 31. A 20-yard pass to Lewis moved the Jackets inside the red zone to the Bobcat 11.

A spike and an incomplete pass brought up third-and-10. A 9-yard run by Cullen Medley moved the ball to the Bobcat 2. Ford took the hand off as time expired, but he was stopped short of the end zone to secure the 36-point victory for Bell.

Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN