Hope Bobcats' senior receiver Nate Carter and quarterback Hunter Hellums helped spark a charging Cats football team that didn't quit to soar for career-high's of three-touchdowns in another tough road loss to Hot Springs Lakeside Rams 42-23 in 5A South Conference Friday night.
Hope Bobcats' senior receiver Nate Carter and quarterback Hunter Hellums helped spark a charging Cats football team that didn't quit to soar for career-high's of three-touchdowns in another tough road loss to Hot Springs Lakeside Rams 42-23 in 5A South Conference Friday night. The Bobcats had a early deficit to the Rams with Lakeside leading 21-0 to end first quarter play.
The Rams leading rusher and go-to-playmaker running back Dupree Swanson accounted the game's first touchdown at the 11:38 mark on a 49-yard run, then Michael James scored the last two TD's on 4 and 8 yard runs in the first quarter. The second quarter was very interesting for both sides as more controversial calls haunted the Cats once again in their return trip back to Lakeside as did in 2015. As the Rams added to their lead with a pass play touchdown at the 8:15 mark for 41-yards increased Lakeside's advantage over Hope 28-0, but two key possible touchdowns for the Bobcats got called back on Jerrell Henry's play.
Henry had a reception that brought the Cats' offense to the 10-yard line, but a holding call against Hope was made that took them back toward mid-field and the Cats later having to punt. Then, defensively Henry got a pick-six for an interception, but another holding call overturned the touchdown and Lakeside caught a second break after the touchdown was called back. The calls stopped some needed momentum the Bobcats were gaining and Lakeside took advantage by two touchdowns scored following the critical calls on Hope. Swanson and Richard Gatson both scored running touchdown's for Lakeside to give the Rams a 42-0 lead with under a minute left to play in the first half.
But, as the Hope sideline very heated and aggravated by the calls, the Bobcats kept fighting and begin to gain some momentum. Jaloni Davis picked up a big key kickoff return that brought the Hope's offense into Lakeside territory. From there, quarterback Hellums connected to his target Carter on the first of three touchdown receptions with 13.6 seconds to play in the second quarter. Jonathan Garcia's PAT was good and Hope went into the locker room with some thrills at halftime trailing Lakeside 42-7 at the break.
In the second half, the Cats had all the momentum despite the clock running continuous. In the third quarter, QB Hellums found Carter for two key first downs receptions, then Keith Brown for reception that brought Hope to Lakeside's 30-yard line at the 7:23 mark. Hellums launched a 30 yard touchdown pass reception to Carter at the 5:46 mark with PAT good by Garcia with Hope trailing Lakeside 42-14. Hope went for the onside kick and recovered to regain possession at the 3:48 mark on Lakeside's 49-yard line. Hellums went to work to complete three key pass receptions to Brown, Carter for a first down and Jay Conway to bring Hope's offense to Lakeside's 8-yard line ending third quarter action.
In the fourth, the Cats started out with possession, but Lakeside's Brandon Chambers intercepted the pass to force the Hope turnover for the Rams to take back on offense at the 11:28 mark. Hope's defense came up big to cause a safety at the 8:53 mark that allowed the Bobcats back possession. This led to a end zone drive with a Lakeside pass interference penalty at the 6:00 mark. Hellums completed a first down pass reception to Conway to bring Hope to the 26-yard line of Lakeside.
Then Hellums launched his third touchdown pass reception to Carter for 26 yards and Garcia good on the PAT to cut the Rams lead 42-23 at the 2:56 mark. The Cats went for another onside kick, but the Rams recovered and then took a knee to run the remaining time off the clock in victory formation to remain unbeaten in conference tied for first with Watson Chapel at 4-0 in conf., 5-3 overall. The Bobcats fall to 0-4 in conf., 0-7 overall.
Next week, the Cats return home to host Camden-Fairview and bring a little momentum for their conference match-up hosting the CF Cardinals. Kickoff at 7 p.m. at Hammons Stadium.