The hometown Hope Bobcats were pumped up to showcase some gridiron action for season 2017 Tuesday night in a three-way team scrimmage encounter hosting Class 4A Mena Bearcats and Class 6A Arkansas High-Texarkana Razorbacks on the Bank of the Ozarks Field at Hammons Stadium.

The hometown Hope Bobcats were pumped up to showcase some gridiron action for season 2017 Tuesday night in a three-way team scrimmage encounter hosting Class 4A Mena Bearcats and Class 6A Arkansas High-Texarkana Razorbacks on the Bank of the Ozarks Field at Hammons Stadium.

The Cats awaited their turn for scrimmages competition after the conclusion of Mena battling Texarkana first for varsity football action. Each team would total a number of two quarters of scrimmage competition for the entire night with a 12 minute time period of battle in each game.

 

HOPE VS. MENA

The Bobcats stepped on the field to face Mena in their first of two scrimmages and displayed a well played production for one quarter of competition. The Cats defeated the Bearcats 17-7 with two touchdowns and a 36-yard field goal attempt made for Hope's scoreboard production against Mena. The Bobcat defense stood out well against Mena to hold the visiting Bearcats scoreless almost the entire 12 minutes until 29.6 seconds left to play where they [Mena] scored their lone touchdown of the night on a 3-yard run into the end zone. The Bobcat defensive unit was led by several series of stops including a fumble recovery by Chris Haywood which kept a scoring drive opportunity from Mena inside the red zone on the 11-yard line at the 9:51 mark.

For Hope offensively, explosive and star running back senior Jay Conway sparked the running game early after soaring for a 88-yard touchdown run on his first snap to run the ball at the 9:36 mark. Conway received key blocks from Nate Carter and Kennan Green that really opened the path for their first end zone trip of the game. Green also took several snaps and carries for strong yardage to pick up first down drives in Hope's running game. Senior quarterback Keith Brown completed a 49-yard touchdown pass reception to receiver Nikorian Muldrew at the 7:54 mark. Both touchdown PAT's were good by senior kicking specialist Jonathan Garcia to put Hope ahead of Mena 14-0. Garcia also made the 36-yard field goal to seal the game for a 10 point win for Hope.

 

HOPE VS. ARKANSAS HIGH

In the second and final scrimmage of the night that featured the Bobcats battling familiar rival Texarkana, the Cats fought hard but came up short to the Razorbacks, 13-7. Hope's lone touchdown of the night came from sophomore quarterback Hunter Hellums completing a pass to Jaloni Davis on the TD reception with PAT good by Garcia to remain perfect on the night at the 3:02 mark. Arkansas High scored twice with the first end zone trip at the 10:15 mark-PAT good and a running drive for 20 yards at the 5:43 mark, failing on the PAT.

The Cats defense was solid against the Hogs to force several punts and three and out on drives despite giving up two touchdowns scores.

 

HOPE FOOTBALL HEAD COACH NOTES

Hope football head coach Jay Turley was pleased overall by the production in both scrimmages from his Bobcats. Despite a few mishaps on both sides of the ball that's correctable, Turley observed a lot of positive input by the Bobcats and believes they'll build on as the season progresses.

"I really thought we did a lot of good things, but still got a long ways to go. We're still learning things and got to fix some stuff. We executed pretty well and the kids blocked well. We had some amazing blocks from Nate and Jaloni and Kennan Green. I thought Jay Conway and Kennan ran the ball extremely well. This is one of our better running football teams we've had in a while and I like the way we competed and played as a team," Turley said.

"I was really surprise of our defense. They played really good until they got tired. We still got some conditioning to do but our effort was there and tackled well. I like for us to be a little more physical, but guys were in right spots and thank coach [Doug] Means [Defensive Coordinator] for that," Turley said.

The Cats look to be strong in the special teams unit with senior Garcia showing spark going perfect on all PAT's and a field goal attempt made during the scrimmages. Turley believes the team is heading into the right direction and hopefully by the end of their non-conference schedule, they'll be ready for success to contend in 5A South Conference play.

"The kids are excited and good things happen when excited. Their eyes opened up last night and just want them to strive to get better," Turley said.

Next Friday Sept. 1 will be the big night and date to kickoff the 2017 football season on the road in the Hill against school rivals' Nashville Scrappers.