Bobcats get an early start to state quarterfinal

Jonathan Corrales amd the Tyrone Bobcats will take on Coyle on Friday night in the Class C state quarterfinals. Kickoff at Bobcat Field is 6 p.m. (Shawn Yorks/file)
Staff Writer

Some might say the Tyrone Bobcats were tested in last Friday’s first-round playoff win over Southwest Covenant. The Bobcats won, 64-18, so if it was a test, they passed.

Tyrone (10-0) overcame a quick and athletic quarterback, and a line that stacked to stop the Bobcat running game. But coach Josh Bell made adjustments on the fly and the Bobcats responded with another mercy rule win.

“Their quarterback’s really good and they throw really well,” Bell said. “We made some adjustments on how we were defending what they were trying to do and we were able to get back to what we’re used to.”

This week’s opponent is defending Class C state runner-up Coyle, which has many players returning from that team.
Kickoff is 6 p.m. Friday at Bobcat Field.

“I think at this point anybody is a quality opponent because you’re in the second round of the playoffs,” Bell said. “They are one year removed from being state runner-up.”

The Bluejackets (7-4) finished second in District C-4 after beginning the season 0-3. Since then, Coyle has gone 7-1, its only loss to district champion and 5th-ranked Thackerville. Tyrone has one common opponent with Coyle, and that’s Southwest Covenant, which beat the Bluejackets 50-40 last September. Coyle won four straight by mercy rule in the middle of the season (60-6 over Bokoshe, 48-0 over Paoli, 66-20 over Sasakwa and 64-12 over Midway), while eight of Tyrone’s 10 wins have ended early by mercy rule.

“They’re real run-heavy, they like to run the ball,” Bell said. “That’ll be something we’ll have to defend, and they do have the capability to throw the ball.”
Sounds familiar.

The Bobcats have been run-heavy all year, with a pair of rushers approaching a thousand yards. And they threw the ball more last week than they have all season, to the tune of 167 yards and four touchdowns through the air by quarterback Tanner Hurst.

“They (SW Covenant) were really stacking the box trying to stop our run,” Bell said. “We were forced to show some things that we haven’t had to show all year. You kind of don’t want to show if you don’t have to, but when need to be able to do it and then execute it, it feels good that the kids were ready to use that part of the playbook and execute it.”

Josh Bean and Jonathan Corrales led the Cats with 122 yards rushing each, Hurst added 112 yards on the ground and was 6-for-9 for 167 yards and four scores through the air. Antonio Pacheco caught three of those for 121 yards.

The game has been moved up to a 6 p.m. kickoff at Bobcat Field at Coyle’s request due to travel considerations for the Bluejackets, which are concerned about the 265-mile drive.

Friday’s winner will play the winner of No. 1 Pond Creek-Hunter vs. Corn Bible Academy, next Saturday at a neutral site.