Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

November 7, 2012

GC Game of Week: Bobcats to play for share of the 6-1A DII title

Kerens goes into Friday’s game with chance at No. 1 seed

From Staff Reports
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — The Kerens Bobcats will play for a share of the District 6-1A DII title on Friday night.

Back on Oct. 12, when the Bobcats let a 11-point second-half lead slip away in a 33-30 loss to Cayuga, there was some doubt that Kerens would be in this position. Except in the Kerens’ locker room.

The Bobcats rallied together, won three straight games and with Italy’s win over Cayuga, go into Friday’s game in Kerens with a chance at a No. 1 seed in the playoffs win a win of four points or more against the Gladiators (with a top seed comes a first-round in the playoffs).

Kerens (5-4, 3-1) is right where it thought it would be when the schedule came out. Italy (5-4, 4-0) can win the district title outright with a win. The Bobcats will make their fifth straight playoff appearances win or lose Friday night.

“We felt like it would come down to the last game of the season and that it would be Italy, Cayuga and Kerens,” Kerens coach Russell Anderson said. “All three teams are pretty good.”

The Bobcats have rattled off three straight wins over Dallas Gateway, Cross Roads and Itasca. Kerens outscored those three teams 117-32.

 “It’s given us confidence,” Anderson said. “A better work ethic. We have a better overall mental outlook.”

Each game means improvement for sophomore quarterback Nate Betts, who has passed for 729 yards and rushed for 1,123 yards. He’s thrown nine touchdown passes, and while Betts has 12 interceptions, he keeps making progress.

“He’s improved quite a bit,” Anderson said. “He analyzes himself. He’s hard on himself. He executes. He does better protecting ball. He’s very competitive.”

Italy has a dazzling one-two punch with quarterback Marvin Cox and tailback Ryheem Walker. Cox, a transfer from Ennis, has played in five games and has passed for 610 yards and rushed for 373 yards. Walker has rushed for 1,153 yards and 12 touchdowns.  

“They carry the load for us,” Hollywood said.

Anderson agrees. “It boils down to tackling their quarterback and running back,” he said. “We have to get them down.”

The Bobcats defense also keeps getting better, allowing two touchdowns or less in four of their last five games.

The defensive line has been a surprise, Anderson said, with Dylan Woods and Tavion Hall anchoring the Bobcats up front. Mike Kline has played well at linebackee. Cornerback Zack Duncan has three interceptions in district as opponents have been avoiding the other corner, Kevin Townsel.

“Zack’s won a lot of those battles,” Anderson said.

There are several scenarios for the Bobcats as far as playoff seeding Friday. All of them involved Kerens making the playoffs.The Kerens Bobcats will play for a share of the District 6-1A DII title on Friday night.

Back on Oct. 12, when the Bobcats let a 11-point second-half lead slip away in a 33-30 loss to Cayuga, there was some doubt that Kerens would be in this position. Except in the Kerens’ locker room.

The Bobcats rallied together, won three straight games and with Italy’s win over Cayuga, go into Friday’s game in Kerens with a chance at a No. 1 seed in the playoffs win a win of four points or more against the Gladiators (with a top seed comes a first-round in the playoffs).

Kerens (5-4, 3-1) is right where it thought it would be when the schedule came out. Italy (5-4, 4-0) can win the district title outright with a win. The Bobcats will make their fifth straight playoff appearances win or lose Friday night.

“We felt like it would come down to the last game of the season and that it would be Italy, Cayuga and Kerens,” Kerens coach Russell Anderson said. “All three teams are pretty good.”

The Bobcats have rattled off three straight wins over Dallas Gateway, Cross Roads and Itasca. Kerens outscored those three teams 117-32.

 “It’s given us confidence,” Anderson said. “A better work ethic. We have a better overall mental outlook.”

Each game means improvement for sophomore quarterback Nate Betts, who has passed for 729 yards and rushed for 1,123 yards. He’s thrown nine touchdown passes, and while Betts has 12 interceptions, he keeps making progress.

“He’s improved quite a bit,” Anderson said. “He analyzes himself. He’s hard on himself. He executes. He does better protecting ball. He’s very competitive.”

Italy has a dazzling one-two punch with quarterback Marvin Cox and tailback Ryheem Walker. Cox, a transfer from Ennis, has played in five games and has passed for 610 yards and rushed for 373 yards. Walker has rushed for 1,153 yards and 12 touchdowns.  

“They carry the load for us,” Hollywood said.

Anderson agrees. “It boils down to tackling their quarterback and running back,” he said. “We have to get them down.”

The Bobcats defense also keeps getting better, allowing two touchdowns or less in four of their last five games.

The defensive line has been a surprise, Anderson said, with Dylan Woods and Tavion Hall anchoring the Bobcats up front. Mike Kline has played well at linebackee. Cornerback Zack Duncan has three interceptions in district as opponents have been avoiding the other corner, Kevin Townsel.

“Zack’s won a lot of those battles,” Anderson said.

There are several scenarios for the Bobcats as far as playoff seeding Friday. All of them involved Kerens making the playoffs.

Italy at Kerens

7:30 p.m. Friday

At A.G. Godley Stadium



RECORDS: Class 1A Kerens is 5-4, 3-1 in District 6-1A DII. Italy is 5-4, 4-0.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Italy: QB Marvin Cox, RB/LB Ryheem Walker, RB/LB Shadrach Newman, C/DL Zain Byers, WR/DB Trevon Robertson. Kerens: WR/CB Zack Duncan, RB/DB Rayvon Faulk, RB/LBZak Starkey, RB/DL Daedrion Tollivor, DL Tavion Hall.



When Italy has the ball ...

The Gladiators have an explosive balanced offensive attack led by QB Marvin Cox. Cox has completed 42 of 82 attempts for 610 yards with seven touchdowns and two interceptions. He also has 373 yards on 76 attempts for an average of 4.9 yards per carry. The rushing attack is led by RB Ryheem Walker who has 1,153 yards on 134 carries for an average of 8.6 per carry. The leading receivers for Italy are Trevon Robertson with 21 catches for 247 yards and Cole Hopkins with 16 catches and 291 yards. For the year, Italy has 1,747 yards rushing and 1,161 yards passing.



When Kerens has the ball ...

The Bobcats’ offense centers around sophomore QB Nate Betts. He has rushed 145 times for 1,123 yards for an average of 7.7 yards a carry. Rayvon Faulk has 628 yards on 87 carries for an average of 7.2 yards. Betts has completed 61 of 130 attempts for 729 yards. Wide receiver Brett Anderson has 26 catches for 515 yards and eight TDs and Kevin Townsel has 20 catches for 246 yards and two TDs. For the year Kerens has 2,468 yards rushing and 901 yards passing.



Difference Makers

Both teams have difference makers on offense and defense. For Italy Ryheem Walker is the leading rusher and tackler. He has 138 tackles. In a big game like Friday night, being able to come out of the game and rest some will be important, but on which side do you bring Walker out. For Kerens the last three weeks Daedrion Tollivor has stepped up in the pass rush for the Bobcats.



Overall edge

This one has a lot riding on it as far as playoffs are concerned. If Italy wins, then they would be the outright 6-1A DII champions. If Kerens wins by four points or more they are the champions, but if they win by only three then they would be the second-place team in the district standings. This game is about as even as a game can be, so it would seem that the quarterback who plays the best his team will lead his team to a win. Cox is a senior for Italy and Betts is only sophomore, but he started last year as a freshman so he knows what to expect. Kerens 33, Italy 30.