Cats drop first game of year in BeauregardPublished 12:59am Saturday, September 24, 2011
Hope for an undefeated season came to an end Friday night for the Benjamin Russell Wildcats as they fell 24-15 to the Beauregard Hornets at Hornet Stadium. Plagued by a sluggish offense that couldn’t get on track and several disastrous mistakes in the second half that led to Hornet points, the Wildcats (3-0, 4-1) failed to reach 5-0 this season, which the team hasn’t accomplished since 1996.
“Our offense struggled tonight because Beauregard was more physical than us for most of the game, said BRHS head coach Danny Horn. “The real key to this game was both our lines just got whipped.”
The Wildcats managed only 146 total yards on offense, with 132 of those yards coming on the ground. Senior running back Mete Buckner led all Wildcat rushers with 70 yards while senior Braxton Betts, who replaced star quarterback Bryant Horn after he suffered a season ending injury last week, managed to produce only 14 yards though the air on four completions.
The game started on a positive note for the Wildcats when their defensive unit forced the Hornets to punt after three plays. On fourth down at the 50-yard line, the Hornet’s long snapper sailed the ball over the punter’s head and was recovered by the Wildcats on their own 20-yard line. The offense went to work and capped a six-play drive with a two-yard burst into the end zone by Quez Alvies with 8:31 to go in the first quarter for a 6-0 lead.
This quick start soon fizzled as both teams struggled to move the ball throughout the first half. The biggest play of the entire game occurred toward the end of the first quarter when Betts raced down the field for nearly 80-yards on first down. Unfortunately, this spectacular play, which potentially could have changed the outcome of the game, was called back due to a holding penalty near the line of scrimmage. Instead of setting up shop inside the Hornet’s five-yard line, the Wildcats were forced to punt from their own 18-yard line. To make matters even worse, the punt went for only 20 yards.
The Hornets took advantage of the miscue and moved the ball down the field on a five-play, 38-yard drive that ended with a 17-yard touchdown run by Eddie Washington for a 7-6 lead.
After trading several more punts, the Wildcats’ defensive unit started to make some noise when senior defensive back Cody Brooks intercepted a Hornet pass at the 50-yard line. This led to a 29-yard field goal by kicker Anthony Ross with 2:19 left in the half and a 9-7 lead.
The second half brought disaster to the Wildcats as poor special teams play, interceptions and a lack of offensive production sealed their fate.
After starting the third quarter with a three and out, the ensuing Wildcat punt went 19-yards, giving the Hornet offense another short field. Five plays and 38-yards later the Hornets Shaquille Williams pushed his way into the end zone on a two-yard run with 8:11 to go in the third quarter and extending the lead to 14-9.
The Hornets would never look back.
On the next possession, Hornet defender LaDarius Manuel intercepted a Betts pass and raced to the end zone, giving the Hornets a 21-9 lead with 6:24 left in the third quarter.
The next Wildcat miscue occurred when their next possession stalled at the 50-yard line and the punt was blocked by a swarming Hornet defense. This mistake led to a seven-play, 19-yard drive that ended with a 43-yard field goal, giving the Hornets a 24-9 lead with 9:38 to go in the game.
After both teams began to substitute heavily, the Wildcats did manage to score a final touchdown as time expired, as Junior Devante Stamps crossed the goal line on a 5-yard run, ending the game 24-15.
“Poor special teams play and constantly giving Beauregard a short field did not help us at all,” Horn said. “I just wish we could have had the full force of our team on the field tonight, but that’s just life.”
Benjamin Russell will celebrate homecoming next week by stepping back into region play when they face Robert E. Lee.