Thomas rumbles for 223 yards, 3 TDs in Bobcats’ opener

Published 6:19 pm Monday, August 21, 2023


Contributing Writer

LONDON — The Bell County Bobcats went to a tried and true method to win their season opener Friday night at North Laurel with solid blocking, hard-nosed running and stingy defense to win 19-7 over the Jaguars.

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Daniel Thomas led the Bell County offense with three touchdowns and 223 yards on 29 carries. The Mr. Football candidate was quick to credit his linemen for paving the way.

“I believe that my O-line played hard and made the game simple for me. The holes were there and that makes it easy on me,” Thomas said.

The Bell defense was solid on the night, holding North Laurel to only six first downs on 132 yards rushing and 36 yards passing. North’s only score came in the third quarter with 3:27 remaining when Ethan Gregory ran it in from 2 yards out, capping off an impressive drive by the Jaguars.

“I thought that we played well, but we still have a lot of work to do,” Bell County coach Dudley Hilton said. “We had a lot of sophomores get their first varsity look. They did a good job on the whole. I thought it was a good win for the Bobcats.”

Bell County’s first score came in the second quarter after both offenses were kept off the scoreboard in the opening period. Thomas scored from 11 yards out to give the Bobcats a 6-0 lead.  After one penalty on each side, Luke Widner kicked the extra point to extend the lead to 7-0.

With 7:44 remaining in the third quarter, Thomas found the end zone again from 2 yards out.

Thomas closed the scoring early in the fourth quarter and iced the game with his third touchdown.

Widner led the Bell defense with eight tackles. Blake Evans added six. Blake Burnett, Kaleb Miller and Hayden Dameron added four each.

Burnett completed four of four passes for 48 yards. Joseph Brigmon had two catches, while Thomas and Dameron added one each.

The Bobcats will travel to Boyd County on Friday. North Laurel will travel to Whitley County.