BETHEL–The Kerens Bobcats’ hopes of securing the fourth and final playoff spot from District 8-2A were dashed Nov. 5 by one of the teams they hoped to overtake in the standings, the Cayuga Wildcats, who pulled away from the Bobcats in the second half.
Kerens and Cayuga entered the contest with identical overall records of 2-7, but Cayuga had one more district win at 2-2, as did the Dawson Bulldogs, who lost that night 38-0 to the undefeated district champions, the Italy Gladiators. Kerens, which lost Oct. 8 to Dawson, needed to defeat Cayuga by 13 points to move to the postseason.
Against Cayuga, Jaylon Harris of Kerens stopped an opening-game Wildcat drive with an interception at his team’s 20-yard line, but the Bobcat offense was soon stymied. A botched punt attempt was saved from a safety by Kerens punter Mykel Lattimore, who got out to the eight-yard line.
Two plays later, Cayuga scored on a two-yard quarterback sneak, but a misplayed extra-point attempt was swarmed by Kerens, leaving the score at 6-0 Cayuga with 6:10 left in the first quarter. Cayuga struck again in the second quarter with a 19-yard touchdown run and a successful two-point conversion run, increasing the Wildcat lead to 14-0 with 8:24 left before halftime.
A Lattimore run picked up a first down by inches on a third-and-18 play midway through the second quarter. Later facing a fourth-and-six, a Kerens pass reception was stopped short of the marker. Cayuga took over and drove inside Kerens’ 10-yard line, but the Kerens defense stopped a fourth-and-five play with 1:01 left before halftime.
Leading 14-0 in the second half, Cayuga converted a fourth-and-four play near midfield with 5:38 left in the third quarter. Two plays later, the Wildcats scored on a 42-yard quarterback keeper. The two-point conversion run put Cayuga ahead 22-0.
Kerens got on the scoreboard with 3:27 left in the third quarter, when Harris ran for a touchdown. Cayuga soon padded its 22-7 lead with a two-yard touchdown run with 1:03 left in the third quarter, adding more points with a two-point conversion run.
Leading 30-7, Cayuga put their final touchdown on the board with 3:51 left in the game. Another two-point conversion run put the Wildcat lead at 38-7. Kerens added a touchdown 36 seconds later with a double-pass trick play, when Kerens running back Nehemiah Massey found Musiq Gunnell for a 70-yard score.
The Wildcats were knocking on the door at the Kerens 10-yard line with one minute left in the game, but a fumble recovered by Doreon Jordan kept the final score at 38-14, Cayuga.