PRICE — The Cushing Bearkats were stifled by an efficient Carlisle Indians’ offense and dropped their District 10-2A DI opener, 34-0 Friday night at Arrowhead Stadium.
“I thought our kids played hard,” said Cushing head coach Josh Moore. We’re still finding some weapons and guys are starting to emerge as playmakers. We made a bunch of mistakes and we’re still learning.”
Cushing had no answers for Indian quarterback Carlos Deleon, who had 246 total yards — 137 on the ground and 109 through the air.
The game got started on a sour note for the Bearkats, as Thomas Wallace couldn’t corral the opening kickoff, and the loose ball was recovered by the Indians at the Bearkat six-yard line. Deleon scrambled for the touchdown on the next play.
The Indians scored a touchdown on their first three drives, the third drive was capped off by a 36-yard touchdown pass from Deleon, who found Nacho Villanueva in stride down the center of the field. The score put the Bearkats in a 20-0 deficit in the first quarter.
The final touchdown in the first half came after Landon Crumpton fumbled at the Bearkat 12-yard line and the loose ball was scooped up and returned to the endzone by Levi Gholson.
The Bearkat defense stepped up in the second half, holding the Indians scoreless for the remainder of the game. Once again Cade Willis made his presence felt on the defensive side by stripping the ball from the Indian runner and returned to the 10-yard line to set up the Bearkats for their best chance of scoring in the game.
“(The team message at halftime) was to come out and play hard,” Moore said. “Do what you’re coached to do, execute and make your tackles — we missed a lot of tackles in the first half. (Willis) is a good football player and good football players make big plays in games.”
Following the strip, Wallace rumbled his way to the one-yard line, but the ‘Kats were held at the goal line. That would be the last drive for the Bearkats, as the Indians took a knee to run out the clock.
The Bearkats implemented new tactics offensively, with Reid Allen, Asa Dawson and Wallace receiving snaps under center. Dawson flexed his receiver muscles with three catches for 70 yards. All three catches came from Wallace. Dawson went 2-for-11 on passes with 36 passing yards and an interception.
Wallace led Cushing with 35 rushing yards, followed by Allen with 15. Thadd Turner recorded a sack in the first quarter.
The Bearkats (1-5; 0-1 dist.) will return home Friday when they take on the Hawkins Hawks (1-5; 1-0 dist.) in a 7:30 p.m. matchup. The Hawks beat Union Grove, 14-7, on Friday. The other district matchup from Friday saw #9 Alto roll past Big Sandy, 41-14.