By Wil Crews
The Beulah Bobcats found some success in the passing game but failed to rally from an early deficit in their final regular season game of the season against the LaFayette Bulldogs on Friday.
The Bobcats trailed by three scores early and despite connecting on multiple chunk plays in the second half, Beulah fell to the LaFayette, 46-20.
Beulah senior quarterback Caleb Abney closed out his high school career with 152 passing yards and two touchdowns — on just five completions. He and the rest of the team found relative success running the ball too. Abney added 71 yards and a touchdown and junior running back Stanley Washington ran for 82 yards on 27 carries.
The Beulah offense played effectively overall, but were still outgained 356 to 305 in total yards.
LaFayette was committed to the run all night, passing the ball only four times, and gaining 232 of their yards on the ground.
The first quarter saw LaFayette jump out to a 28–7 lead. Beulah then fumbled on the first possession of the second quarter and LaFayette turned the giveaway into seven points on a seven-yard touchdown run. That’s where the score remained going into halftime; 35–7 LaFayette.
Beulah finally got their offense rolling on the opening drive of the second half. The Bobcats converted two fourth downs on the drive and found the end zone on an eight-yard rushing touchdown. The PAT was good, but Beulah still trailed 34–13.
LaFayette would respond with the next two scores of the game: a two yard rushing touchdown and a pick-six. The Bobcats would score once more with six minutes left in the game on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Abney. To add insult to injury, the PAT was no good.
Other than Abney and Washington, the standouts for Beulah on offense were junior tight end Javuntae Paige (two catches, 90 yards and a touchdown) and freshman quarterback Noah Higdon (two catches, 50 yards and a touchdown). On defense, four players — senior linebackers Owen Kelley and J.D Toungett, senior defensive lineman Austin Billingsley and Higdon — were tied for team-high in tackles with four.
The loss bookends Beulah’s 2020 record at 1–7 overall (1–5 in region). It has undoubtedly been a frustrating and strange season for the Bobcats who missed their first three games due to COVID-19-related forfeits. Their best game of the season came two weeks ago in a 42–13 win over Goshen (who finished last in the 3A Region 4 standings). This week’s loss was not the way any senior wants to end their playing career. But for the 10 soon-to-be-graduating Beulah players, you can at least say this … It has been one heck of a year.