On Thursday, September 10, the Cheatham Middle School Bearcats welcomed the Hillsboro Indians to a double header of action on the gridiron.
The junior varsity squad took first the field and did not let fans down. The teams battled back-and-forth across the field, and at halftime, the home team enjoyed a 14-12 lead. But the visitors were not ready to give in and continued to fight valiantly. When the final horn sounded, the teams had battled to a 20-20 tie.
When the varsity teams took their turn, the hometown Bearcats found themselves facing a formidable foe.
On their first possession, the visiting Indians scored on a long run but missed the extra point. From that point on, it was a defensive battle and the teams went to the locker room at halftime with the Indians enjoying a 6-0 lead.
The final two periods continued with neither team able to put together a scoring drive. But as the final quarter was drawing to a close, Bearcats running back Tydarious Bright took the ball from QB Brady Cason and scampered down the left end for close to 60 yards before being brought down at the 1-yard line. The home team was pumped up, but three plays later found themselves with 4th down on the 4-yard line with 28 seconds remaining on the clock.
After a series of timeouts by both benches, the Bearcats interior line pushed the visitors backward enough so Cason could cross the line for a score.
The home team attempted a 2 point conversion that failed.
Now, the Indians had 22 seconds to travel the field and their receiver answered the call by carrying the ball to midfield before being brought down. The visitors attempted two long passes which were incomplete, and the horn sounded to end regulation play with a 6-6 tie.
The Indians got the first opportunity to score in sudden-death playoff, and were able to put 6 on the clock with a short pass to take the lead. A two-point conversion attempt failed, and the Bearcats had a chance to see what they could do.
On the second play, Cooper Cantrell crossed the hashmark to tie the game again; the Bearcats attempted a two-point conversion but it also failed.
The Bearcats retained possession to begin the second overtime.
Exercising good judgment and trying what had worked the first time, Cantrell took the handoff, and once again scored to give the home team a 6-point lead. This time, the Bearcats attempted a field goal which was blocked by the big interior line of the visitors.
Once again, the Indians had a chance to score but found themselves in trouble when their quarterback was sacked on the first snap, and on the second play, set back another 10 yards on a holding penalty. Seemingly undaunted, the visiting quarterback sailed a high pass to his tall wide receiver who gathered it in above the outstretched arms of the Bearcats defender, then turned to step in to the end zone to tie the game once again.
The Hillsboro bench opted for a field goal, and their kicker lifted the ball with perfection over the crossbar to give the visitors a one-point lead and a 19-18 victory.
The Bearcats play again at home on Sept. 17 against Fairview.