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Bobcats lose starting QB, pull out 24-0 victory at home

The BCMS Bobcats got off to a great start on Tuesday, September 4 with a 24-0 home win over Bradford County.

Head coach Rock Rhoden’s Bobcats controlled the game on both sides of the ball and stymied Bradford every time they tried to engineer a drive. Bradford couldn’t do anything against the Bobcat defense. They got but one first down that evening, the result of an offside penalty.

The Bobcats were rocked back on their heels when quarterback Joe Green broke his leg on the third play of the game, however.

“We were devastated,” said Rhoden. “He had worked so hard all summer and is such a great kid. But I am proud of the team for keeping it together and winning the game.”

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Wildcats take 50-0 drubbing from highly-ranked Lake City

Falon Lee attempts the interception.When you watch a game like Friday’s match-up between the Wildcats and 6A power Columbia High it’s easy to wonder “what if?” What if the Cats had scored on their opening drive? What if some of the dropped passes had been caught? What if they could have stopped Tiger quarterback Jayce Barber from completing his passes? Would the outcome have been different?

Questions like that are a fool’s errand, because they didn’t happen. What did happen was the Tigers completely dominated the Wildcats on the way to a 50-0 victory and one of the worst defeats in the history of Wildcat football.

The Wildcats will likely bounce back from the first loss this season that counted, and a comprehensive defeat may entice players to come back and go at it harder. That’s what Coach Ryan Sulkowski and his staff and team expect, and what followers of Wildcat football expect.

As a player, Friday’s game was one to put in a back pocket and remember when adversity strikes in other games. You pull it out and remember the feeling of walking off the field at the end of the game shell-shocked. You tell yourself this is not going to happen again. That’s what good teams do.

And the Wildcats are a good team.

There are positives to take from Friday’s game, though not a lot of them. The Wildcats hit hard, they chased, they fought for yardage and kept their heads up. Those are qualities that will serve them the rest of the season.

The Cats started strong. Falon Lee took the opening kickoff and cut and slashed 28 yards to the 35. On three successive plays he drove into Tiger territory to the CHS 43.

But at that point the drive broke down. The Wildcats punted and pinned the Tigers at the 3-yard line.

But a Top 5 team doesn’t stay pinned for long. The Tigers embarked on a 10-play, 97-yard drive for a touchdown and it defined the game.

The Wildcats knew they would be up against one of the best running games in the state. So they designed their game plan around stopping the run.

“If they were going to beat us, their quarterback was going to have to throw the ball and complete some passes,” said Coach Ryan Sulkowski.

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Baldwin hands Wildcats first loss in 2012

Wildcat Jared Crews breaks up a pass.Going into last Friday’s Kickoff Classic at home against Baldwin, Baker High coach Ryan Sulkowski and his staff had a lot of evaluating to do. There were starters to decide, substitutes to pencil in. But after the loss at the hands of the Indians there were more questions than answers.

The Wildcats were surprised in a lot of ways on Friday. For the first half the running game sputtered, with penalties galore. Receivers dropped sure catches. The kicking game still needs a lot of work. The vaunted defense had trouble stopping the elusive Indian quarterback. In short, it looked like the pre-season game it was. There will be a lot of work this week before the Cats travel to Columbia High on Friday to take on the Tigers.

If there was a positive to take from the loss, it’s that Baldwin, a 1A team, came to play against an opponent a couple of classifications higher. The Cats go into Friday against a team a couple of classifications higher, too.

Both teams will be telling their players this simple truth – this was not a “real” game. It was a pre-season game meant to point out glaring holes, positive play and things that can be changed before the season officially starts. It will make one team more confidant going into their season opener and the other more determined.   

Baldwin fans had “traveled” and the atmosphere was electric. The field looked pristine and the new Wildcat tunnel added an exciting start to the player introductions.

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Wildcat faces Baldwin in season opener

You’ve got to hand it to the Baldwin Indians, the team that the Wildcats will face off against on Friday night in the Kickoff Classic at Memorial Stadium in Macclenny.

The Indians are a team on the upswing.

Last season Coach Steve Shields took a team that was 4-8 in the previous year and turned it into a playoff team. The Indians went 9-3 last year and though they lost to the Village Charter school in the first round of the playoffs, it was a huge achievement.

Shields and his squad hope to continue with his rebuilding model as they take on the Wildcats in the Kickoff Classic. The game gives both teams an opportunity to evaluate talent and their off-season moves before they both open up for real next weekend.

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