In the final week of in-season high school football, the Branson/Kim Bearcats upset the No. 6-ranked Cheraw Wolverines in conference play.
The La Veta/Aguilar Redskins postponed their Saturday game against the Cotopaxi Pirates because of extreme wind conditions and played Tuesday, Nov. 17 in Cotopaxi (The game would end as a 74-33 Cotopaxi win).
“Tonight, we started four sophomores and two juniors on both sides of the ball. We are young and inexperienced. It is a bad year to have a six-game season with a young, inexperienced team, because we are finally getting going,” said Branson Head Coach Adam Lucero.
Winners of two straight, the Branson/Kim Bearcats will use their seventh game to rematch the Walsh Eagles who walked away with a 16-12 win against them in week two.
Branson/Kim Bearcats 26 – Cheraw Wolverines 20
Under the Friday night lights the Branson/Kim Bearcats upset the No. 6-ranked hometown Cheraw Wolverines 26-20.
With only 52 seconds left on the clock, down 6 points the Cheraw Wolverines snapped the ball with their sights set on the end zone.
Fourth down and eight yards to the goal line, Wolverine Cade Phillips fired to the sideline as Branson’s Joe Cash Autry and Cheraw’s Jacob Groves dove for the ball with the game on the line. Silence fell across the town, as fans, coaches and players held their breath waiting for the call to decide the game.
The Branson sideline erupted as Autry stood up holding the ball to secure the Bearcat upset.
“I was getting down on myself and Coach Lucero told me to pick my head up — and I did. Fortunately, I was the one that made the pick, but honestly our team won the game. It was not a one-man-show,” said Autry.
After being poised to make a deep postseason run, this weekend’s loss eliminated the Wolverines from the playoffs, as they dropped to No. 10 in the polls.
Cheraw’s Phillips boasted a record-breaking season entering Friday’s game throwing for 945 yards and 24 touchdowns and no interceptions.
Tarnishing Phillips’ record the Bearcat defense picked off three passes in the matchup, Phillip’s first of the season.
Despite his miscues, Phillips built on his unprecedented season eclipsing 1,000 yards and tossing three touchdowns while throwing for 223 yards on Friday.
Cheraw averaged over 52 points per game this season. Yet the Bearcats held the potent Wolverine offense to 20 points in the matchup. All of Cheraw’s scoring came in the second half.
“Every single one of those guys were threats; their quarterback, their receivers, their running back, every single one of them. Their center came up with some huge plays today. It was just a matter of doing our job and sticking to our assignments,” said Lucero.
Running back Peyton Cranson contributed 148 yards and a touchdown to the Bearcats offense, balancing quarterback Brody Doherty’s 149 yards in the air and two touchdowns in the upset.
Freshman Brock Doherty added two touchdowns to Friday’s game, which moves his touchdown ranking to ninth in the nation in 6-man football, for a freshman, with 12 on the year.
Lucero said, “When it comes right down to it the boys kept fighting. They made big plays when they needed to, and we came away with the win.”
The Bearcats, now 3-3 on the season, will look to break the .500 barrier with a win this Friday.