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By Whitney Wyatt/The Red River Sun—
CHILDRESS – Welcome to the wild, wild west. With a combined 113 points, the Bobcats won the season-opening shootout against the Panhandle Panthers 68-45 on Charlie Johnston Field at Bobcats Stadium in Childress on Friday, Aug. 28.
“It feels good to start the year 1-0,” said junior wide receiver Creek Churchill, who scored two touchdowns. “We are excited to show our fans what we are capable of this season.”
And that, they did in front of a sell-out crowd.
“We really love that our hometown is supporting us all the way,” added senior wide receiver Devron Sims.
The Bobcats came out fierce, scoring 20 points in the first quarter. Senior wide receiver Lane Foster was the first to score with a 78-yard run, putting the Cats up 6-0. The two-point conversion failed.
Sims recovered a fumble in the end zone and ran it back 95 yards for the next TD. Junior quarterback Collin Bishop ran in the two-point conversion to put Childress ahead 14-0. Sophomore wide receiver Lamont Nickleberry returned a kickoff 81 yards for the last touchdown of the first quarter.
“I was kind of scared,” said Nickleberry. “I ran all that way and didn’t want to get caught.”
Once he crossed the goal line, he said he ran to the sidelines to Coach Matthew Olson. “We had been talking about it all week,” Nickleberry said. “It felt really good to know I did what we had been talking about.”
The Bobcats ended the first quarter up 20-14 after the two-point conversion failed.
The second quarter belonged to the Bobcats. They lit up the scoreboard with 22 points while the Panthers only scored seven. Sims scored on a seven-yard pass from Bishop, and Foster ran in the two-point conversion.
Bishop had a one-yard run for a touchdown, and he took it in for the two-point conversion. Nickleberry scored his second touchdown, this time on an eight-yard pass from Bishop. The two-point conversion failed, and the Cats went to halftime with a commanding 42 to 21 lead.
“It was really unbelievable,” Sims said. “We were really hyped up and put on a show for our hometown.”
They came out strong in the second half. Churchill scored the first touchdown with a six-yard pass from Sims, but the two-point conversion failed. Then it was Sims with a 67-yard pass from Bishop. The kick was no good.
Churchill was at it again with a 62-yard pass from Bishop for the next TD, and the kick from freshman Juan Gonzalez was good. Sims scored his fourth TD of the night on a 46-yard pass from Bishop, and Gonzalez’s kick was good. While the Panthers added four touchdowns, it wasn’t enough.
The game ended 68-45 with Bishop throwing for 497 yards and six touchdowns.
“We were just really happy and really excited,” added Sims, whose favorite part of the night was seeing everyone happy in the stands and on the field. “This is going to set the tone for the rest of the season.”
Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Jason Sims summed up the game in one sentence: “It’s better than starting with a loss.”
The 1-0 Bobcats will travel to Perryton next week to face the 0-1 Rangers at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 4.