Mudslide. Mudball, Mudpie. Mudcake.
Go ahead and pick out your muddiest, sloppiest metaphor for a game that slips and slides and spins in the mud.
You know that feeling, tires spinning and you’re not going anywhere.
Just ask the Kerens Bobcats.
They know just how that feels, know just how frustrating and down-right muddy it can get.
That’s what happened to Kerens Friday night at Willis Field, where the Bobcat’s’ regular season ended in a 33-7 loss to Italy that left Kerens stuck in third place in the final District 6-1A DI standings, and left Italy dancing (yes, dancing in the mud) atop the district.
In this muddy mess of a football game about the only thing that was clear is the district ace.
It looked rather muddy going to into the final week with Italy at 4-1 and Cayuga and Kerens right behind the Gladiators at 3-1. it came down to this: If Kerens, which had lost to Cayuga, could have beaten Italy by 15 or more points no Friday, the Bobcats would have forced a three-way tie in the district. The title and the seeds from 1-to-3 would have been decided by flipping coins.
Save your change.
It wasn’t needed. Italy (6-4 and 5-0) took care of business and gets the title and a first round bye in the playoffs. The Gladiators will need an extra week to get those uniforms clean. Kerens (5-5-3-2) goes into the playoffs next week as a No. 3 seed.
Kerens lives on its speed and quickness, so you can imagine what happened on a muddy field. That’s right, the mud took just about all of that away.
And Italy took the rest.
TaMarcus Sheppard had a night to remember as he played his final game at home for Italy, where the speedy quarterback left his mark on the program — and on Kerens.
On a night when no one could get a foothold, Sheppard rushed for 98 yards and ran for three touchdowns, scoring on 3-, 5- and 15-yard runs. Then just for a little icing on that senior night cake, he picked off a Nate Betts pass and returned it 45 yards for the final TD of the night as the clock was winding down to end the third quarter.
It was Betts’ third interception of the night.
Whether it was the treacherous footing or the slick and slippery ball, it was a tough night for Betts, who was held to just 35 yards rushing and 62 inn the air with the three picks. He connected with Brett Anderson four times for 47 yards and finished the night completing just 5 of 19 for 62 yards.
Betts, an electric and dynamic quarterback did score on a 13-yard run with 52 seconds left in the half to get the Bobcats on the board, but that was it for Kerens’ high-flying offense.
It was as if someone pulled the plug.
Pulled it right there in the mud ...
Italy 33, Kerens 7
Kerens 0 7 0 0 — 7
Italy 7 13 13 0 — 33
I - TaMarcus Sheppard 5 run (Kevin Roldan kick) 8:00
I - Coby Bland 4 run (Roldan kick) 10:08
I - Sheppard 3 run (kick failed) 7:36
K - Nate Betts 13 run (Jovani Coronado) 0:52
I -- Sheppard 15 run(kick fails) 0:51
I - Sheppard 45 interception return (Roldan kick) 0:00
FD 8 16
Rush-yards 23-77 49-320
Passing 62 51
C-I-A 5-19-3 3-7-51
Fumbles-lost 2-1 2-0
Punts-avg. 1-33 2-30
Penalties-yards 5-55 4-40
Rushing — K: Nate Betts 11-35, Tavion Hall1-5, Dontarius Bryant 5-17, Shelton Sayles 2-5.
I: TaMarcus Sheppard 21-98, Tre Robertson 4-73, Coby Bland 11-77, Tyler Anderson 5-27, Justin Wood 6-22, Levi McBride 2-23.
Passing — K: Betts 5-19-62. I: Sheppard 2-5-45. Anderson 1-2-16.
Receiving — K: Brett Anderson 4-47, Sayles 1-15, I: Tre Robertson 2-45, Cody Boyd 1-16.