Beulah loses tight game to Loachapoka

Published 12:45 am Saturday, September 2, 2023

BEULAH — In Friday’s home opener, the Beulah Bobcats dropped a tough one to the Loachapoka Indians by a score of 14-12. Beulah opened the season the previous Friday winning in a big way over Abbeville. It was a different story this week as Loachapoka came to play. Both teams played great on defense, but two costly mistakes, one on offense and one in the kicking game did the Bobcats in,

Leading 2-0 in the first half, the Bobcats looked poised to build on their lead when they recovered a fumble on the Poka side of the field, On first down, though, Beulah returned the favor and fumbled it right back. Ethan Payne picked it up for the Indians and ran as 70 yards down the visitor sideline for a touchdown. The visitors added two more points on the conversion to lead 8-3 with 10:57 left before halftime.

Beulah had taken a 2-0 lead in the first quarter when Hunter Brown and Tamarian “T-Man” Burgess teamed up to tackle a Loachapoka running back in the end zone for a safe.

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The game was played in a light rain, and the soggy conditions appeared to have a big impact on the game. Both teams had trouble holding onto the football in the first half.

Leading 8-2, Loachapoka made a big mistake in the kicking game to give Beulah a chance to take the lead late in the first half. A bad snap on a punt put them in a desperate situation with the Bobcats taking over at the 10-yard line with a first and goal.

Things looked really promising when quarterback Demarion Foreman connected with wideout Wes Grant on a pass play to the one-yard line on second and goal.

With third-and-goal from the one, Beulah looked in great shape to take the lead with little time left in the first half. That’s when another unforced mistake set them back. The center was called for an illegal snap. The officials felt he picked the ball up in an attempt to advance it. That resulted in a five-yard walkout. Instead of third-and goal from the one, it was third-and-goal from the six. The Bobcats couldn’t score on the third down play and on fourth down, Reed Maloof kicked a 27-yard field goal to narrow the score to 8-5.

The rain stopped during intermission, but a defensive slugfest would continue.

A Beulah mistake in the kicking game opened the door for Loachapoka to build on its lead. The Indians recovered a punt on the Bobcat 30, giving them a short field to work with. The Indians drove to a first-and-goal before the Bobcat defense forced them back. On fourth-and-15 from the 20, the Indians came up with their biggest offensive play of the night when Nelms passed to Lipscomb for a touchdown. The try for two points failed, but with 59.6 seconds left in the third period, Loachapoka had a 14-5 lead.

Beulah couldn’t get anything going on offense until they absolutely had to. On their final possession of the game, they took over on their 23 with less than two minutes to go in the game. In the only sustained drive by either team, quarterback Damarion Foreman was brilliant in leading the team down the field, finding receivers Wes Grant, M.J. Walton and L.J. Fitzpatrick open on passes near the sideline. It was classic two-minute offense at its finest, but Beulah fans couldn’t help but wonder, “Where has this offense been all night?”

The Bobcats appeared destined to lose 14-5 when they faced fourth and goal from the 11, but Foreman found a way to get the ball in the end zone. On the fourth down play, he couldn’t find anyone open and ran upfield, making some great moves past defenders and diving headlong into the end zone for touchdown. Mallow’s extra point narrowed the score to 14-12 with a little over a minute left in the game.

If the Bobcats could get the ball back one more time, they had a chance to pull it out.

Such was not to be. The Indians were able to hang on to the football and run out the clock, going home with a hard-fought win.

With the loss, Beulah evened its record at 1-1 on the year. They will play two teams from Calhoun County one the net two weeks. They will host Saks next week and the following week will travel to Walter Wellborn.