In what was mainly a defensive battle, Bell County was able to hold off Wayne County for a 14-10 victory on Friday. Bell head coach Wayne Mills was suspended by KHSAA from the game, but assistant coach Fred Hoskins told the players he would be proud of them.
“It’s really been tough on him,” said Hoskins about Mills. “He loves these kids like they were his own kids. It means a lot for him for those kids to play hard and overcome some things this week. I’m sure he’s very proud of them.”
While both teams were able to drive down the field, strong defensive play prevented either team from scoring often.
“We still have a little ways to go defensively, but we’re getting better,” said Hoskins. “We didn’t do the exact right things assignment wise, but we always played with effort. I still think we’re going to get better.”
The rushing game was the primary weapon for the Bobcat offense. Treyton Humfleet ran the ball over 20 times for 139 yards and one touchdown. Chase Woolum finished the game with 8 yards rushing while Nathan Collett finished with 11 yards.
The running attack paved the way for Bell, but the passing attack helped make the difference. Peyton Collett threw for 71 yards and one touchdown. Woolum completed a 53 yard pass on a halfback pass which helped set up a touchdown in the second quarter.
Woolum and Austin Asher were the only two players who caught passes for the Bobcats. Asher had two receptions for 69 yards and a touchdown. Woolum finished the game with 55 yards receiving.
The Bell County defense was able to contain a potent Cardinal rushing attack for most of the game. Wayne County was still able to rush for 269 yards.
The leading rusher for the Cardinals was Dalton Garner. He ran for 172 yards on 20 carries. He also scored Wayne’s lone touchdown in the game. German Ruiz was the second leading rusher with 54 yards on 10 carries.
Lorenzo Linsey was held to 69 yards on four completions by the Bobcat defense.
Wayne County was able to get points on the board on the opening drive of the game. After starting the drive on their own 31, the team methodically made their way down the field.
The Cardinals got into Bobcat territory with a 20-yard pass from Linsey to Jake Wright. Four plays later, Linsey connected with Nathan Garner on a 12-yard pass to take Wayne to the Bell 14.
Michael Lawson helped drive the Cardinals down to the 2-yard line, but the Bell defense came up with a stop on third and goal to force a field goal attempt. Riley Woods made the 19-yard field goal to put Wayne up 3-0 with 5:50 remaining in the first quarter.
“I was afraid we would hang our heads, but we didn’t,” said Hoskins regarding the team after the field goal. “We played hard, kept playing and took advantage of the opportunities we had.”
Bell County scored their first points with seconds remaining in the half. The Bobcats started the drive at their own 4-yard line following a punt from the Cardinals. Runs of 6 and 8 yards from Humfleet got Bell off their own goal line.
A trick play put the Bobcats in scoring position. Peyton Collett tossed the ball Woolum. The running back ran to the edge before throwing the ball to Asher for a 53-yard gain. The play took the Bobcats down to the Cardinal 29.
Behind the legs of Humfleet, Bell moved the ball down to the 16-yard line. With 35.4 seconds remaining in the half, Peyton Collett completed the touchdown pass to Asher. Woolum caught the ball in the end zone for the 2-point conversion to give the Bobcats an 8-3 lead heading into halftime.
Neither team could get anything going in the third quarter. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Wayne stopped Bell on fourth and 3 in Cardinal territory. The Cardinals took over possession on their own 13-yard line.
It took Wayne County two plays to put points on the scoreboard. Ruiz gained 10 yards on the first play. On the second, Dalton Garner took the ball 77 yards for a touchdown with 11:16 remaining in the game. The extra point helped the Cardinals take a 10-8 lead.
Bell avenged the touchdown on their next possession. The Bobcats handed the ball to Humfleet five plays in a row to get into Wayne territory. On the fifth play, Humfleet broke free for a 38-yard touchdown run to give Bell a 14-10 lead with 8:24 remaining in the game.
Wayne would have a chance to win the game two possessions later. With minutes ticking off the clock, the Cardinals marched down the field behind Ruiz, Dalton Garner and Michael Lawson.
On the sixth play of the drive, with Wayne County on the Bell 45, Ruiz battled his way down to the 25-yard line. Dalton Garner inched the team closer to the end zone with a 5-yard gain.
Three straight incomplete passes, including a drop in the end zone by Stetson Simpson, left the Cardinals stranded at the Bobcat 20 as the clock expired. The final score was 14-10 in favor of Bell County.
On Friday, Wayne County (2-2) travels to play Mercer County (0-4). Bell County (2-2) will travel to play Whitley County (2-1).
Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN