Beulah struggles in second half of homecoming game
Published 11:27 pm Friday, September 29, 2023
It was a tale of two halves for the Beulah Bobcats as the offense was completely stifled in the later stages of the game.
Beulah hit another speedbump in what had been a remarkable season as Prattville Christian Academy came into Beulah and left with a 30-21 victory.
“It was a terrible performance,” Head Coach Matt Johnson said. “We moved the ball effectively, but we didn’t do what we were supposed to do defensively. We kind of played our own game, and it didn’t turn out right.”
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The turning point in the game came with 6:33 left in the third quarter. The Bobcats had the ball with a 21-14 lead. Demarion Foreman was hit late after scampering out of bounds. Foreman left the game with an injury and never returned.
Wes Grant took over at quarterback for Foreman, but the offense was never the same. The Bobcats were unable to put any points on the board in Foreman’s absence.
On the flip side, PCA found its momentum on offense in the fourth quarter. Tanner Byrd led drives of 66 and 82 to outscore Beulah 16-0 in the fourth quarter.
Conner Williams consistently found himself uncovered in the Bobcats’ secondary as he caught several touchdown passes and converted two 2-point conversions.
“That’s because we did not cover him,” Johnson said. “That’s a pretty simple answer, but when you’re supposed to cover and then you don’t, they’re going to be wide open.”
Johnson was extremely unhappy with his team’s discipline. Several players were visibly upset on the sideline. In the final stages of the game, Beulah got an unsportsmanlike penalty while PCA was in the victory formation.
“Freaking embarrassing is what that was,” Johnson said in the handshake line.
Beulah started the season 2-1, and now the Bobcats sit at 2-3. With several region games left to play, Johnson plans to make several changes to the team’s infrastructure and to the starting lineup.
“We’re going to have a lot of new faces on the ball next week,” Johnson said.
The first quarter was a complete stalemate. Both teams had opportunities to find the end zone, but ultimately defense reigned supreme as the first quarter ended with the game tied at zero.
Prattville Christian Academy got the scoring started as Tanner Byrd connected on a 20-yard touchdown bass. The failed 2-point conversion left the Panthers with a 6-0 lead with 10:42 left in the half.
LJ Fitzpatrick set up the Bobcats on the ensuing kickoff as he returned it 29 yards to put Beulah near midfield. A few plays later Demarion Foreman rushed for a seven-yard touchdown. The made extra point by Reed Maloof gave the Bobcats a 7-6 lead with 9:15 left in the second quarter.
A head-scratching decision by the Panthers on the ensuing drive gave Beulah an opportunity to grow its lead. PCA elected to punt on third down and 23. Just two plays later, Foreman connected with MJ Walton for a 77-yard touchdown pass. The made extra point gave the Bobcats a 14-6 lead with 5:22 left in the first half.
The Panthers refused to quit as Byrd led his team down the field for an 80-yard drive. Byrd capped it off with a 13-yard touchdown pass. That score and successful 2-point conversion left the score tied at 14 at the end of the first half.
At the half, Johnson was solely focused on correcting his team’s mistakes on the defensive side of the ball.
“We’ve got to play better defensively,” Johnson said while heading into the locker room. “We’re not executing how we need to be. We’re driving the ball, but we’ve got to stiffen up defensively.”
Penalties hurt Beulah on several drives in the first half. Beulah moved the ball, but holding penalties kept them off the scoreboard early in the game.
“Do what the coaches tell them to do,” Johnson said on fixing penalties. “That’s on them. I mean, we don’t coach penalties.”
Beulah still has several games ahead in the schedule that could possibly determine the team’s seeding in the playoffs, or if the team misses the playoffs.
With back-to-back losses, the Bobcats are looking for answers.
The team can’t search for very long as they host Dadeville for a pivotal region matchup next week.