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Bobcats earn hard-fought win on the road in Palatka

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By Ben Calhoun

The Bobcats of Robert F. Munroe Day School overcame a host of difficulties en route to a 14-8 victory in Palatka on Friday night, their second of the season.  A 4-hour bus trip, heavy rains and turnovers combined with a determined Peniel Baptist Academy to make for a hard-fought win.

“I’ve got to give a lot of credit to Peniel Baptist and Coach (Marcos) Bosque,” said Bobcat coach Joe Striplin.  “They came out prepared and played very hard.  They are a good ball team.  Their running back, Shovantae Cohen, was as good as advertised.”

Peniel’s speedy back wound up being the Bobcat’s biggest concern, breaking some long runs and getting his team on the scoreboard with an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.  Striplin, however, was not displeased with his defense’s effort.

“Sure, we’re concerned with the long runs, as we have been all season, but any time your defense pitches a shutout, well, that says a lot about their effort and heart.  We played with a greater sense of urgency on that side of the ball than maybe we have been and the effort was, overall, more consistent than it has been,” he said.

The Bobcat offense continued to put up impressive numbers, gaining 430 yards of total offense with 240 yards passing and 190 yards rushing.  

Daniel Meeks rushed for 107 yards and Fletcher Vaughn caught six balls for 96 yards.  Dustin Watson was 15-of-36 for 240 yards.  Matt Sampson had four receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown.  

Still, the Bobcats felt like they left some points on the field as turnovers played a large part in keeping the game as close as it was.

“We’re clicking offensively,” said Striplin.  “We feel like we can move the ball in the air and on the ground at this point, but we are having a hard time with ball security.  We had four turnovers, two of which occurred while we were going in to score.  We’ve got to get this corrected, especially with our biggest rival, Aucilla, waiting for us in 2 weeks.  I guess if we didn’t have something to work on, we’d be undefeated at this point.”

A record of 2-5 means that the Bobcat’s goal for a .500 season is still attainable, but first things first.  The Bobcats will spend an open week getting healthy and preparing for the Aucilla Warriors, Striplin’s former squad, who are 1-5, and face Gainesville Oak Hall at home this Friday.  

“No doubt, it’s a big game,” said Striplin.  “It’ll be a battle, that’s for sure but we seem to be gelling.  I like our chances.”

Game time is 7:30 p.m. Oct. 30 at Corry Athletic Field.