Bell Co. routs Middlesboro, 54-0

Published 10:31 am Monday, August 20, 2018

It didn’t take long for Bell County to set the tone on Friday. Before the Bobcats could make it halfway through the first quarter, they held a 16-0 lead. Bell County rode that momentum to a 54-0 rout over rival Middlesboro to open the season.

“We prepared hard for them, and (Middlesboro) has too,” said Bell coach Dudley Hilton. “They stumped their toes early. That ole’ power football. We see it every day, so we know how to run it. We do a pretty good job with it.”

Holding true to form, it was the running attack that led the Bobcats to victory. In just two quarters of work, Colby Frazier surpassed the century mark ending the game with 119 yards and three touchdowns on eight carries. Tanner Asher was close to a 100-yard game ending the night with 94 yards and a touchdown on four carries.

London Stephney got in on the action as well scoring a 42-yard touchdown on his only carry of the game. The quarterback also went 1-for-2 through the air with his solo completion going for a 78-yard touchdown to Jason Jones.

“It was a hostile atmosphere. He stepped in here and handled that atmosphere. He done a great job,” said Hilton about Stephney. “I thought he handled himself well. It looked like he had some experience, but I believe that was the first time he ever started at quarterback. Issac (Collett) did a good job for us, but we felt like we needed a little bit more speed back there. I thought he did a good job.”

Brandon Baker received some valuable playing time in the second half. The freshman tallied 38 yards and a touchdown on three carries. Noah Caldwell added seven points to the scoreboard while rushing for 12 yards on two carries.

While the offense gets all the notoriety, it was the defense the held Middlesboro scoreless. The Bobcats held the Jackets below 100 yards rushing as well.

“We’ve got a little experience this year,” said Hilton regarding the defense. “I don’t know how good we’ll be, but we have a lot of those kids coming back from defense last year. We had to be a little bit more aggressive, and I think just having one more year on their belt helps. Now we get two years under our belt, some of these sophomores should be even better.

“You’ve got to have a good defense. I thought Middlesboro was going to move the ball, and then they turned it over, but that’s part of the game.”

Seth Huff led the Jackets on the ground tallying 45 yards on eight carries. Rhyan Rogers added 16 yards on four carries. No other runner reached double-digits with Caleb Bogonko registering seven yards on 11 carries.

“Holding onto the football is going to have to be key for us,” said Middlesboro coach Zach Massengill. “We’re not a good enough football team to be giving it away three or four times a game. We just got to clean things up. We got through the night healthy, and that was key. We really have to go back to work, we’ve got to secure the football and we have to sustain blocks. (Bell) was just more physical than us tonight.”

Rogers tallied seven yards on his only completion. Sebastian Wagoner was the target.

“(Bell) is a good football team, but we’ve got to get better defensively in a hurry,” said Massengill. “We knew we had some weak spots and of course they exposed them, but we’re going to have to shake some people up and figure out who’s going to step in there and play a little tougher because we didn’t put up much resistance on defense.”

While the game was a rout, neither team left the field unscathed. Bell County’s Keagan Lefevers left early in the first quarter with an apparent arm injury. Wagoner left the game late with what also looked like an arm injury.

On the opening drive of the game, Bell county went 58 yards in five plays. A 39-yard run by Frazier on the first play from scrimmage set up a 1-yard touchdown scamper by the junior running back. Stephney converted the two-point attempt to give Bell an 8-0 lead.

After recovering a fumble on the ensuing possession, the Bobcats used a quick three-play drive to increase their lead to 16-0 with 7:57 remaining in the quarter. Frazier capped the drive with a three-yard touchdown run. He also converted the two-point attempt.

A big kickoff return by Alex Mason gave the Jackets a little life. Taking over possession inside the Bell County 37, Middlesboro marched inside the red zone behind the legs of Huff, Trey Watkins and Bogonko. On third-and-3 from the Bobcat 13, a fumbled hand-off killed the momentum with Will Dean recovering the ball.

“We knew going into it you can’t make mistakes against coach Hilton’s team,” said Massengill. “We coughed the ball up a couple of times early.”

On the next play from scrimmage, Stephney hit Jones on a 78-yard bomb for a touchdown with 5:17 remaining in the first. The failed conversion increased the Bobcat lead to 22-0.

After forcing Middlesboro to turn the ball over on downs, Bell County took two plays to find the end zone again. A 24-yard run by Frazier set up a 38-yard touchdown run by Asher to balloon the margin to 30-0 with 2:02 remaining in the opening quarter.

Things continued to go south for the Jackets in the second quarter. A 42-yard touchdown run by Stephney and a 37-yard touchdown run by Frazier gave Bell County a 42-0 lead heading into halftime.

During the second half, the Bobcat reserves hit the field. With 3:07 remaining in the third, Brandon Baker scored on a one-yard run to increase the lead to 48-0.

A nine-yard touchdown run by Noah Caldwell capped the game off with 6:58 remaining in the game to give the Bobcats a 54-point victory.

Up Next

Bell County (1-0) will travel to Letcher County Central (0-1) on Friday.

Middlesboro (0-1) will host Claiborne, Tennessee (0-1) on Friday.