Tigers drop contest to Bobcats

PHOTOS BY BENJAMIN CHASE/PLAINSMAN Above: Huron running back Jayden Beck gashes the center of the Brookings Bobcat defense for a long run, as Lincoln Hardin attempts to slow him down. Below: 1) Huron Tiger quarterback Mason Davis fires a short pass during the first quarter of play. 2) Huron defensive back Cade McNeil tackles Brookings running back Sam Hardin during the first quarter of the teams’ football game Friday night.

HURON — The Huron Tigers fell behind 28-0 at half and could never get traction in the second half as the Brookings Bobcats defeated Huron 42-14 Friday at Tiger Stadium.

The much-talked about Bobcat rushing attack had early success throwing the ball, as quarterback Justin Cofell utilized short passes to his back to earn two first downs before a penalty stalled the Brookings drive.

Huron had little success and kicked the ball back after a three-and-out.

On their next drive, which began in Huron territory, the Bobcats took a more balanced approach, mixing runs by Tyson Brandt and Cofell, along with a couple short passes to move to the Huron 25-yard line.

From there, Cofell found Derek Brallier behind the Tiger defense for a scoring pass. Brallier added the PAT for a 7-0 lead.

Huron got one first down on its next drive, as quarterback Mason Davis found Gavin Moeding on a nice pass and catch, but on the next play, Davis’ pass to Max Kranzler was picked off  by Payton Theodosopoulos to snuff out the Tiger drive.

Cofell and Brandt hooked up on a 42-yard pitch and catch, to move deep into Tiger territory, and the Bobcats made quick work of it, as Hunter Gray caught a nine-yard pass from Cofell for the score and a 14-0 lead.

Huron mounted its best drive of the first half on the ensuing possession, as a short run from Quinston Luellman and a 17-yard hookup between Davis and CJ Gainey got the ball out to the Huron 39 as the first quarter came to a close. Cade McNeill caught Max Kranzler in stride to open the second period and Huron moved into Brookings territory for the first time. The two short passes loosened up the Bobcat defense, and halfback Jayden Beck made the most of it, taking a handoff right up the gut for 40 yards, giving Huron a first-and-goal form the Brookings 2-yard line. Beck scored two plays later, but a holding penalty took the points off the board and then a loss on a screen pass left the Tigers with a fourth-and-goal from the Brookings 24. The 37-yard field goal attempt by Nick Kleinsasser was short and to the right.

Brookings came back and ground out a six-plus minute drive, again mixing the short pass with a stout running game to move down the field. A defensive pass interference call on Huron helped the drive and Brandt capped the drive with a four-yard touchdown.

Huron went back to the short pass on its next drive, and quickly moved into Brookings territory, earning three first downs, With a first down at the Brookings 32, a pass intended for Gainey sailed on McNeill, and Brookings’ Gavin Fixsen stepped in front for the interception, weaving through the Tigers en route to a 77-yard pick-six, that put Brookings up 28-0 at the halftime whistle.

The Tigers got the ball to open the second half, but a short Beck run, a dropped snap by Mason Davis that he fell on top of for a loss, and an incomplete pass by Davis led to a punt.

The Bobcats opened the second half in excellent field position, starting on their own 44-yard line. The Bobcats went to work grinding out rushing yards, mixing in a pass play to Brandt around a pair of first down runs by Brandt to get the ball to the Tiger 29.

After a short loss, Cofell found Jackson Hoffman wide open down inside the five. A holding penalty backed Brookings up, but Cofell connected again with Gray, who was able to tip toe his way along the sideline to the pylon for the score. The PAT made it 35-0 Brookings halfway through the third period.

After another Tiger 3-and-out, the Bobcats took over the ball on their own 48 and ate up clock while negotiating the Tigers half of the field toward the goal line. The first pass play of the drive was a run fake that Cofell completed down the seam to Hoffman, and it got the Bobcats to the Tiger 3-yard line on the first play of the fourth quarter. Brandt ran the ball in for the touchdown on the next play and Brallier eeked in the PAT for a 42-0 lead.

Gavin Moeding came back on an underthrown pass by McNeil and turned in a big gain to give the Tigers their first first down of the second half. Luellman took a pitch down to the Bobcats 5-yard line and then scored up the gut on the next play. Nick Kleinsasser put the kick through the uprights to bring the score to 42-7.

The Bobcat offense was handed over to a host of reserves. A penalty and three straight short runs led to a Brookings punt, just the second of the game.

McNeil found Moeding on the first play of the ensuing drive, and Moeding slipped a pair of tacklers for a 54-yard touchdown catch and run. Kleinsasser’s kick made it 42-14.

The Tigers earned a pair of first downs after another Brookings three-and-out but ran out of time to add any more points against the second-team Bobcat defense.

The Bobcats move to 5-2 with 152 yards rushing and 187 yards passing as a team.

Beck had eight carries for 65 yards to lead the Tigers. He also had 10 tackles to lead the defense.

The Tigers (3-5) are on the road at O’Gorman Friday.

Score by quarters
Brookings     14 14 7 7 — 42
Huron          0   0 0 14 — 14

Scoring summary
1st quarter
BROOK — 3:13 - Derek Brallier, 25-yard pass from Justin Cofell, Brallier PAT.
BROOK — :38.9 - Hunter Gray, 9-yard pass from Cofell, Brallier PAT

2nd quarter
BROOK — 2:56 - Tyson Brandt, 4-yard run, Brallier PAT.
BROOK — :40.3 - Gavin Fixsen, 77-yard interception return, Brallier PAT.

3rd quarter
BROOK –– 6:34 - Gray, 7-yard pass from Cofell, Brallier PAT

4th quarter
BROOK –– 11:14 - Brandt, 3-yard run, Brallier PAT.
HURON –– 7:47 - Quinston Luellman, 5-yard run, Nick Kleinsasser PAT.
HURON –– 4:53 - Cade McNeil, 54-yard pass to Gavin Moeding, Kleinsasser PAT.

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PHOTOS BY BENJAMIN CHASE/PLAINSMAN Above: Huron running back Jayden Beck gashes the center of the Brookings Bobcat defense for a long run, as Lincoln Hardin attempts to slow him down. Below: 1) Huron Tiger quarterback Mason Davis fires a short pass during the first quarter of play. 2) Huron defensive back Cade McNeil tackles Brookings running back Sam Hardin during the first quarter of the teams’ football game Friday night.

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