Bell escapes Perry with win

Published 4:30 pm Monday, September 11, 2023

By Hayden Canady

Contributing Writer

In a game many thought would end in a blowout victory for Bell County, the Bobcats found themselves in a dogfight at Perry Central on Friday night.

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With the way the game began, it looked as though most of the pregame predictions were going to be correct as Bell received the opening kickoff and marched it down for a score. Daniel Thomas ran in from 13 yards out to make the score 6-0 early. Blake Evans added the two-point conversion.

Perry Central and Bell exchanged punts on the next couple of possessions. Perry Central then found the end zone on a pass from Kizer Slone to freshman Tyler Robinson that covered 20 yards right down the middle of the field. The extra point was wide right.

Bell answered on its next drive as Thomas scored his second rushing TD of the night with 2:33 left in the half on an 8-yard run. A two-point conversion pass from Blake Burnett to Hayden Damron made the score 16-6.

It seemed Bell County had all the momentum and would go into halftime with a double-digit lead, but that was not the case. Seth Jackson had a 16-yard rushing touchdown. The extra point made it 16-13 and that was the halftime score.

Bell County got a stop on Perry’s first possession of the second half. At the 6:52 mark in the third period, Thomas scored his third rushing touchdown of the night. The conversion failed after Thomas’ 4-yard run. The third period ended with Bell County leading 22-13.

Early in the third period, the Commodores pulled close once again on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Slone to Noah Kilburn on a slant. The conversion failed and the score at that point was 22-19.

Perry followed the score with an onside kick and took the lead on a 10-yard run by Slone.

Bell County got the ball back with its back to the wall but drove the length of the field to score and take the lead for the final time on a 21-yard run by Burnett on a bootleg. Blake Evans ran the two-point conversion in for the finals score of the night.

Perry started its final possession deep in its own territory after the Hayden Lawson kickoff was mishandled. The final drive didn’t last long. Damron recorded two sacks on the drive and it was ended when Evans intercepted a pass and slid down, allowing Bell to kneel down and run out the remainder of the time. It was fitting that those two would have a big series to end the game as they were the leading tacklers on the evening for the Bobcats with 10 each.

Both teams had running backs who had big nights. Thomas led the Bobcat rushing attack with 124 yards on 23 carries while Perry Central’s Seth Jackson had 117 on just 19 attempts.

Burnett was Bell’s second leading rusher with 94 yards on eight attempts. He was also four for six with 55 yards passing. Hunter Everage pitched in with three carries for 13 yards. Evans ran twice for five yards. Kaleb Miller was able to add one yard on his only attempt.

For Perry Central, Slone was the only Commodore besides Jackson to carry the ball. He gained 25 yards on 13 rushes to go along with his 142 yards passing. He completed 15 out of his 21 attempts. Kilburn led Perry in receiving yards with 65. Derrick Fields contributed 40 yards while Robinson had 38.

Bell will travel to Whitley County on Friday. Perry Central will travel to Shelby Valley. Both games are scheduled to kick off at 7:30.