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Bobcats capitalize on quick start, win youth title

The Bobcats capitalized on early mistakes by the Rams and then held on for a 16-12 victory Friday night in the 11 and 12-year-old youth football championship at Memorial Stadium.

The Bobcats recovered an opening onside kick to grab early momentum and led 16-6 early in the fourth quarter before the Rams closed the gap on a long run by Santrez White.

“With the adversity we have been facing all year, we stuck in and fought a good fight,” Bobcats coach Lee Curtis Minor said.

Thursday’s game couldn’t have started any better.

The Bobcats recovered the opening onside kick, leading to a quick 4-yard touchdown run and two-point conversion by Tevin Taylor to make it 8-0. The Rams fumbled the next kickoff to give the Bobcats the ball right back, although they couldn’t add to their lead.

“We knew we had to keep the ball from them as much as possible,” Minor said. “So, we put in a little onside kick. They weren’t ready for it all.”

It did catch the Rams by surprise.

“It put us in a hole,” Rams coach Jeffery Tubbs said.

“We had a young guy that we had to stick in the game because one of my guys wasn’t here and he didn’t know what to do. He didn’t realize the ball was live and then [we had] that fumble.”

JaQuarious Rutledge’s 4-yard touchdown run pulled the Rams within 8-6 with 3:42 left in the second quarter.

The Bobcats seized the momentum back quickly on a 5-yard rush by Tevin Taylor to make it 14-6.

Kevin Taylor added the two-point conversion on a rush around right end to make it 16-6.

A 39-yard rush by White pulled the Rams within 16-12 with 9:01 remaining in the game, but the Rams’ defense could not get the Bobcats off the field.

Tubbs said his team didn’t excute on their two-point conversion attempts, which ended up being the four point difference in the final score. The Bobcats were called for enchroachment before each attempt, giving the Rams a shorter try for two points, but they still couldn’t punch it in.

“If we had executed a little bit better on our two-point conversions, this game would be tied,” Tubbs said. “I put it more on that than I do the fumble and the mess up on the kickoff, but we have a good bunch of guys and we will be back again.”