Marty Elkins
Not only were the Orangefield Bobcats ecstatic about their big win over the Tarkington Longhorns this past Friday, they were just happy to be playing again. The Bobcats hadn’t seen the field since a heart breaking double overtime loss to the Buna Cougars way back on Sept. 6. That time off really showed, as the Cats struggled against Tarkington, especially on the offensive side of the ball. The Cats only managed to gain 160 yards of total offense, but special teams and a bend but don’t break defense led the way in the 17-7 hard-earned win.

 The Cats look to knock off that rust just in time for district play as they travel to Hamshire Fannett this Friday. Offensively the Cats get two major contributors back this week from injuries. All district Tight End Luke Gunstream returns from a knee injury suffered in the Buna game and offensive lineman Alex Edgerly returns after he was injured way back in the Vidor scrimmage that opened the year.

This should help a unit that had trouble sustaining drives against Tarkington. The Cats did however manage a huge drive before the half against the Longhorns that resulted in 34-yard field goal from Derrick Evans that gave the Cats a 3-0 halftime lead. The Cats hoped that momentum going into the half would carry over to the second, but once again the Cats had trouble moving the ball.

 After both teams played a field position battle in the 3rd quarter, the last stanza turned into an exciting one. The Longhorns struck first going 80 yards in 12 plays to take 7-3 lead with a little over 9 minutes left in the game. Once again the Cats struggled to move the chains and had to punt the ball. Senior Kenneth Wiggins pinned the Horns deep in their own territory with another great punt, one of several on the night. The Cats defense made a great stand, and forced the Horns to put from inside their own 20-yard line. Junior Gage Hayes, just called up to the varsity this week, ran right through the defense of Tarkington and blocked the punt. The Cats recovered the blocked punt on the seven yard line and on the very next play, Senior Steven Stone took it off the left side for the touchdown. Evans connected on the extra point and the Cats took a 10-7 lead with just over five minutes to play in the game.

 On the ensuing kickoff, Bobcat Cole Durkin had the hit of the night, stopping the Tarkington returner at their own 23 -ard line. On the very next play, junior Kyle Fontenot picked off a Tarkington pass and took it 23 yards to the house to seal the victory for the Bobcats. Evans again connected on the extra point to make the final score 17-7. The Cats defense and special teams were major contributors in this game. The defense didn’t allow a single play over 25 yards and the punt team pinned the Horns deep in their own territory all night.

 The Cats hope to take this momentum into this weeks district opener against the Hamshire Fannett Longhorns. The Cats will travel to Hamshire-Fannett this Friday in what will be a huge game to start district play. Both teams look to have a say in the playoff race this season, so winning this game would give that team an early edge in playoff positioning. This game is always an exciting one with Orangefield winning last year 17-14. You better believe the Longhorns will be looking for some revenge in this game, as last year’s win knocked them out of the playoffs.

 The Bobcats will be as healthy as they have been all year with a couple starters back in the fold. With that being said, Coach Morrison and his Bobcats like their chances in this game and also like their chances in the district race. Behind state ranked West Orange-Stark, the remaining four teams in this district will be fighting over two spots. Those two spots could go to anyone, the Cats hope one of those spots belong to them come week 11.

 Game history against Hamshire Fannett:
 • Teams first game against each other was in 1968.
• Hamshire Fannett leads the all time series 16-10.
• Both teams have met in the playoffs twice; HF won 21-14 in 1988, OF won 21-14 in 1999.