By Richard Bravo
The Ray Junior High Bearcats went into last Tuesday’s game looking to get back on the winning side after a bad outing the week before. The Junior Cats looked to get redemption against the Miami Vandals after last season’s controversial game that was stopped early due to dirty play and unfair play calling.
The home game at Dave McFee Memorial field was played clean and fair and the Junior Cats came out on top 14-8 improving their record to 3-1.
The game started with the Bearcats taking the opening kickoff starting from their own 30-yard line. However, the big defensive linemen from the Vandals shutdown the Bearcats on their first possession and forced the Bearcats to punt.
The Vandals started from their own 45-yard line after a 20-yard punt. The Vandals started quickly, moving the ball on the ground taking just two plays to get into Bearcat territory. The Bearcats put a stop to the drive when the defense forced the Vandal ball carrier to turn the ball over on the Bearcat 10 yard line.
On the final play of the first quarter, the Vandal defense broke through the line for a sack on quarterback Cole Yocum pinning the Bearcats deeper in their own territory.
The second quarter started with no score on the board. The Vandal defense changed that when they came up with a big tackle in the end zone for a safety giving them a 2-0 lead early in the second quarter. The Vandals looked to extend their lead after receiving the free kick given to them after the safety.
The Vandals put themselves in a hole when they received two big penalties and took a big loss on third down. With the Vandals, facing a fourth and long they attempted a fake punt that was stopped way short by linebacker Paul Michael Wormwood to force a turnover on downs.
The Bearcats took advantage of the turnover getting things rolling when quarterback Yocum hit receiver Jonah Cude on the first play of the drive for a 25-yard gain to the Vandal 20 yard line. On the fifth play of the drive, quarterback Yocum, behind his blockers, found the end zone on worth keeping putting the Bearcats on the board.
The two point conversion was ran in by Yocum and gave the Bearcats an 8-2 lead at the end of the first half of play.
The Vandals started the second half of the game from their own 45-yard line. Unable to move the ball on their first three plays, the Vandals went for it on fourth down but were stopped as Jordan Pace and Anthony Acuna came up with a tackle on the Vandal ball carrier forcing a turnover on downs.
The Vandals were not outdone on defense and got a turnover of their own by getting Bearcat quarterback Yocum to throw an interception on the Bearcat 30 yard line. The Vandals capitalized on the turnover as they go 30 yards on four plays to tie the game at eight points each at the end of three quarters of play.
After an attempted onside kick by the Vandals failed, the Bearcats started the fourth quarter from their own 43-yard line. The Bearcats moved the ball with ease when the offense came to a halt on the Vandal 30 yard line. Facing a fourth and one the Bearcats gambled when Yocum took the ball and got a big first down keeping the drive alive.
With momentum on the Bearcats side after the first down, Wormwood took the handoff around the right side and ran 21 yards for another Bearcat touchdown. The two point conversion failed giving the Bearcats a 14-8 lead with 5:00 left in the game. With the Vandals having plenty of time to score a game winning or trying touchdown, they started from their own 44-yard line.
The defense of the Bearcats took any hopes of winning or tying the game from the Vandals by stopping them from moving the ball. Linebacker Fabien Valenzuela had a big play on fourth down when he fought his way through the line and stopped the Vandal ball carrier in his tracks short of a first down. This got the ball back to the Bearcat offense allowing them to run the clock out and win the game.
The Bearcats played a tremendous game especially on defense. They came up with several huge stops on fourth downs to keep the Vandals from continuing their drives. Defensively for the Bearcats Yocum was the leading tackler with 7 tackles and 3 assist, Wormwood 7 tackles and 2 assist, Bobby Mesa had 4 tackles, 1 assist and 1 sack, Martina Aranda, Nathan Molar, Anthony Acuna, and Valenzuela with 2 tackles each.
Offensively the Bearcats were lead by running back Wormwood who carried the ball 5 times for 67 yards and one touchdown, Yocum with 5 carries for 33 yards and a touchdown. Yocum also threw for 25 yards on 2 attempts completing 1 for a touchdown. Receiving Jonah Cude had one catch for 25 yards. Great job Bearcats on a big victory!
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