Prep Football PREP FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS: Bearcats end season with 14-0 loss to Ramsay | The Cullman Tribune

Prep Football

PREP FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS: Bearcats end season with 14-0 loss to Ramsay

BIRMINGHAM - The Cullman Bearcats went on the road in round one of the AHSAA state playoffs to face the defending 6A state champion Ramsay Rams and came up short in a physical, defensive matchup, 14-0. The Bearcats’ defense held the Rams’ offense to just 268 yards of offense and seven points, but a 60-yard punt returned for a touchdown by Ramsay senior returner Starling Thomas made it difficult for the ‘Cats to close the gap.

Special teams plays made a big difference early in the game. The Bearcats muffed their first returnable punt early in the first quarter and the return touchdown came late in the same quarter to give the Rams an early 6-0 lead.

The Rams’ offense played with good field position most of the night thanks to a stingy defensive performance that held Cullman to just 29 total yards in the first half. The Rams carried a 14-0 lead into the locker room at halftime thanks to the return and a 15-yard touchdown run from senior running back Kobe Belcher. Belcher was the workhorse for the Ramsay offense, carrying the ball 43 times for 203 yards. Belcher was a big part of a 23-play drive that took nearly 10 minutes off the game clock to end the first half. The drive ended with a fourth-down stop inside the 5-yard line from the ‘Cats defense, but Ramsay’s ability to control the clock was a big factor in the game.

Cullman’s offense moved the ball more effectively late in the fourth quarter after the ‘Cats defense forced a fumble from Belcher inside their own 5 to keep Ramsay out of the end zone. The ‘Cats took over with just less than two minutes remaining in the game. Senior quarterback Fletcher Jennings connected with freshman wide out Isaiah Jones for 40 yards over the middle on third down to keep the drive alive, and after a few more completions to sophomore running back Jayden Sullins, Cullman was in the red zone with less than a minute to play. The Rams’ defense held Cullman out of the end zone on four straight plays and intercepted Jennings as time expired.

Jennings completed 14 of his 20 passes for 74 yards and ran for an additional 24 yards.

An emotional season for the ‘Cats wraps up at 7-4 as they head into the offseason looking to bounce back with another competitive team in 2018.

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