LOG MOUNTAIN — The Bell County Bobcats started their quest for what they hope is a Class 3A state championship Friday with a 47-0 win over Elizabethtown in a first round playoff game.
Senior running back Jonathan Polly and Ryan Collett led the way as they combined for over 240 yards and five touchdowns in the win. The Bobcat defense held Elizabethtown to 169 total yards and recorded four interceptions in the win.
“We said before the game there’s 28 days until Nov. 30 and that’s the finals of Class 3A. We said we’re on a 28-day journey and that’s what our motto’s going to be these next few weeks,” Bell coach Wayne Mills said. “I said guys it’s like we’re going out on a long hunting season and it’s 28 days we’re going to be away. I’m just asking our kids to buy in, jump straight into everything full force to be the best player and best person they can. We’ll take them one at a time and see what happens.”
Polly’s 7-yard touchdown run put the Bobcats on the board midway through the first quarter and Hayden Gilbert’s kick made it 7-0.
After a Justin Warwick interception Bell County was back in business again and Collett capped the next drive with a 4-yard TD run and it was 13-0 after one quarter.
The quick lead alleviated any worries of a hangover from last week’s loss at Harlan County.
“You always worry about your team after a loss and how they’ll respond. I think it’s our senior leadership, those older kids play key positions and they helped our younger guys to move forward and that’s what I’m most proud of,” Mills said. “We moved the football good and I felt like defensively we flew to the football. It’s a great team win and a good first round win for us.”
Junior Austin Caldwell added a 2-yard TD run early in the second quarter and Polly’s two-point conversion run made it 21-0.
It wasn’t a perfect game for Bell as Polly fumbled a punt later in the second quarter and the Panthers’ Thad Humphrey recovered and returned it to the Bobcat 10. Dylan Cox ended the threat with an interception and Bell took full control of the game with an 88-yard drive. Ryan Collett’s 27-yard run made it 28-0 with 6:50 left in the first half.
Bell closed the scoring in the half as freshman Peyton Collett hooked up with Cox on a 53-yard touchdown pass and the Bobcats took a 34-0 lead in to the locker room.
Bell County’s defense forced three turnovers in the first half and dominated for most of the game. Elizabethtown finished with 64 rushing yards on 34 carries and completed just 6-of-21 passes for 105 yards on the night.
“We were mad at ourselves. Last week we didn’t get off the field defensively on some third downs. We said this one’s going to be on us because we owed it to ourselves to come out and play good defense,” Mills said. “We did that and our running game got going, Peyton got us going — He’s playing better every week.”
Polly added a 14-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and Ryan Collett a 13-yarder in the fourth as the final went to 47-0.
Polly finished with 156 yards on 16 carries and two TDs while Collett added 88 yards and three TDs on just eight runs. Peyton Collett was 6-of-12 passing for 132 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Elizabethtown was led by DeVaughn Miller with two catches for 52 yards. Nathan Cleary added two receptions for 37 yards. On the ground quarterback Josh Williams ran it 19 times for 39 yards while Jacari Brown gained 24 yards on 10 runs.
The Panthers end the season with a record of 1-10. Bell County (9-2) will host LaRue County next Friday. LaRue beat Corbin in their first round game.
“LaRue reminds you of a Whitley County team. The run some wing-t and a lot of fullback traps and stuff,” Mills said before he new for sure who he’d be playing next week. “We’ll play whoever shows up.”
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Elizabethtown 0 0 0 0 - 0 Bell County 13 21 6 7 - 47
BC- Jonathan Polly 7 run (Hayden Gilbert kick) BC- Ryan Collett 4 run (kick fail) BC- Austin Caldwell 2 run (Polly run) BC- RCollett 27 run (Gilbert kick) BC- Dylan Cox 53 pass from Peyton Collett (kick fail) BC- Polly 14 run (run fail) BC- RCollett 13 run (Gilbert kick)
EHS Bell First Downs 10 18 Rushes-Yards 34-64 40-337 Passing 6-21-4 6-12-1 Yards 105 132 Fumbles-Lost 0-0 3-2 Penalties-Yards 1-15 2-20
RUSHING Elizabethtown: Josh Williams 19-39, Jacari Brown 10-24, Jacque Abraham 1-2, Thad Humphries 1-1, Nathan Cleary 3-(-2); Bell: Jonathan Polly 16-156, Ryan Collett 8-88, Austin Caldwell 8-38, Jared Barton 2-30, Peyton Collett 4-16, Chase Woolum 1-5, D.J. Warwick 1-4. PASSING Elizabethtown: Williams 6-20-3-105, Cleary 0-1-1-0; Bell: PCollett 6-12-1-132. RECEIVING Elizabethtown: DeVaughn Miller 2-52, Cleary 2-37, Kennedy Simon 1-8, Chase Chapman 1-8