09/06/06 — Turnover fest - Rosewood falls to Hobbton on slippery, sloppy night

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Turnover fest - Rosewood falls to Hobbton on slippery, sloppy night

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on September 6, 2006 2:14 PM

Rosewood and Hobbton combined for 11 turnovers on a soggy, sloppy night at Branch Pope Field as the Wildcats came away with a 23-12 victory in a rare Tuesday night contest.

The non-conference game, originally scheduled for Friday, was rescheduled for Monday night after Tropical Storm Ernesto barreled through the area. Over the weekend, the contest was pushed back another day as the Wildcats and their school's community mourned the recent shooting death of 16-year-old cheerleader, Mercedes Lou Wilson, whose funeral was Monday.

With lightning and heavy rain Tuesday evening in the Rosewood area, the game was in jeopardy again as the opening kickoff was delayed 45 minutes.

With the field soaked and the pigskin slippery, Hobbton (2-1) outgained Rosewood (1-2) in total offense 326-165. C.J. Oates rushed for a game-high 139 yards and three touchdowns as the 'Cats ran the ball 50 times and threw just four passes in the adverse conditions.

"I was pleased with how our kids came back. They've had a really tough weekend, and I'm glad they played hard for themselves," veteran Hobbton coach Al Britt said. "That was a big win for us, and we appreciate Daniel Barrow and Rosewood letting us move this game to Tuesday night because of all the stuff we had to deal with."

Using a steady running game and a host of backs, Hobbton trudged for 184 yards on the ground on 24 carries in the first half and took a 14-0 lead into intermission. Oates and A.J. Currie did most of the damage for the Wildcats as Oates ran for two scores and 59 yards, while Currie carried 11 times for 57 yards between the tackles.

Rosewood limited the Wildcats to 65 net rushing yards in the second half and picked up three lost fumbles. But a 67-yard rumble by Oates and a field goal by Jordan Barefoot proved to be enough to help the visitors secure the win.

"They came up big a few times and made some big plays when they had to," Barrow said. "No. 2 (Oates) is a heck of an athlete ... there's nothing shabby about this Hobbton team."

In a game where the two foes combined nearly a dozen turnovers, the Eagles gave it back to the Wildcats six times with three fumbles and three interceptions. All five of Hobbton's turnovers were lost fumbles.

Down 7-0 but driving early in the second quarter, Rosewood fumbled near the goal line as the ball rolled into the back of the end zone for a touchback. After the Wildcats made it 14-0 with 3:01 left in the half, Eagles' quarterback Josh Myers was picked off twice by Josh Williams -- including a pick in the end zone as time expired. Williams added a third interception in the fourth quarter.

Britt's 4-4 defense limited Rosewood to just five first downs overall -- consistently keeping Myers and Devon Bennett hemmed in the backfield or near the line of scrimmage.

"Our defense has been playing well. They've really come around in the last two or three weeks," Britt said.

Just as its defense improved after halftime, Rosewood also displayed more offensive prowess in the second half. The Eagles capitalized on a short field early in the third when Myers found Devon Bennett for a 14-yard touchdown strike on fourth-and-goal.

With a 23-6 lead, the Wildcats lost another fumble midway through the fourth as Bennett quickly converted the miscue into another touchdown -- this time rushing 24 yards around the left side to cap the scoring.

"I thought we came out in the second half and played much better," Barrow said. "Whenever you go against a real good defense, it makes it tough. But I thought we kept plugging along pretty well.

Both teams face a quick turnaround before home contests on Friday. The Eagles host Roanoke Rapids, while Hobbton entertains North Johnston.

"It makes it tough on both of us, but that's alright," Barrow said. "We'll bounce back."