Josh Smalley believed in his Orangefield Bobcats. He is not sure how many others believed the Bobcats could beat the No. 15 Jasper Bulldogs but the second-year coach believed in his Bobcats, a lot.
Smalley believed so much he went for two points midway in the fourth quarter with his Bobcats trailing by one point. Mason Sonnier hauled in the pass from Carmichael Wiley and Orangefield went up 23-22 en route to a 30-22 victory and a 2-0 record Friday night.
Orangefield’s offense came to life in the second half and ran 41 plays compared to only 17 for Jasper. Carl Wiley finished the game with 225 yards on 36 carries while his brother filled in at quarterback and rushed for 49 yards on 14 carries. Starting quarterback Matthew Kress left the game early with what appeared to be a shoulder injury.
Orangefield as a team rushed for 362 yards on 62 carries. The Bobcats had 128 yards, all on the ground, in the first half.
“That is what our offense is designed to do,” Smalley said. “Our kids came out and did a great job tonight. All our backs ran well and our offensive line played a huge role in that. I am not sure how many people picked us to win this game outside of Orangefield but we came out and got the job done against a very talented and well-coached Jasper team. I could not be more proud of this team.”
Jasper held a 15-7 lead after the first half and it was Orangefield who was the team to receive the second half kickoff.
Orangefield proceeded to go on a 15-play scoring drive which ended with Carl Wiley running it in from four yards out. Wiley then ran in a two-point conversion to tie the game at 15-15 with 7:51 left in the third quarter.
Jasper needed only six plays to answer.. Randy Spikes scored on a 31-yard run and a PAT made it 22-15 with 1:54 left in the third.
Orangefield’s next possession seemed to make all the difference in the game.
The Bobcats once again went on a long drive, this time it took 13 plays to score.
Carmichael Wiley ran into the end zone from six yards out, making the score 22-21 Jasper. Smalley opted for another two-point conversion instead of simply playing for the tie.
The gamble worked and Carmichael Wiley found Sonnier for the two points and Orangefield gained a 23-22 lead.
Jasper then turned the ball over on downs and Orangefield scored again on its next drive. Carl Wiley scored from five yards out and a PAT made the final score, 30-22.
Jasper tried to rally after Chris Spikes caught his 12th reception of the game, but Sean Langele recovered the Bobcats third fumble of the night.
Matthew Watkins recovered two fumbles for Orangefield in the first half, one coming on the opening possession with Jasper close to scoring and taking a 6-0 lead.
“We had some young guys in tonight with a couple of injuries and it took a few for them to settle down,” Smalley said. “This win means we are a good football team. Our kids work hard and come out on Fridays and believe they can win the game. This celebrating cannot last too long because we go on the road next week and face a powerful Newton Eagles team.”
Carl Wiley agreed with his coach that the Bobcats will relish the win on Friday yet get back to work starting Saturday morning.
“This feels great,” Wiley said. “I am proud of my little brother tonight. He came into a tough spot and he keeps getting better each week. We will celebrate tonight but next week is an even tougher game. We will be ready.”
Colby Choate had a couple of long runs for the Bobcats and finished with 71 yards on five carries.
DeAnthony Cuney led the Bulldogs with 88 yards rushing on 11 carries. Randy Spikes finished with 54 yards on the ground as Jasper rushed for 148 yards as a team.
Steven Walker finished 17-for-24 passing for 200 yards. Chris Spikes had 12 catches for 140 yards.