The Bowie Jackrabbits made it a happy homecoming as they took care of Henrietta.
A push in the fourth quarter from the Jackrabbits busted open a close game into a blowout, winning 42-18 thanks in large part to winning the turnover battle.
The first quarter was scoreless as both teams battled for field position as the offenses were struggling to get going. Both were moving the ball in spurts, but in different ways.
Bowie ran the ball with Ty Harris and Devin Melton while the Bearcats threw the ball with short, quick passes.
The Jackrabbits were more effective, but their most successful drive stalled at Henrietta’s 32-yard line right before the game moved into the second quarter where it picked up for both teams.
Bowie’s Colton Covington intercepted a pass and returned it to the Bearcats five-yard line. Harris scored on a short run a few plays later to give the Jackrabbits a 7-0 lead.
Bowie was able to get another drive deep in Henrietta’s territory, covering a fake punt and turning the Bearcat’s over on downs at Henrietta’s own 30-yard line.
Unfortunately, the Jackrabbits could not take advantage as a jump ball pass to the end zone was intercepted by Baron Brown. Bowie’s defense again did not allow the Bearcats to go anywhere and forced a punt. Harris collected the ball at around midfield and returned it down the Jackrabbits’ sideline for a touchdown, making the score 14-0.
Henrietta bounced back with a special team’s play of its own as Reece Essler returned the kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown. The extra point was no good, but it cut the score to 14-6.
Bowie’s next drive went far, but again stalled out deep in Henrietta’s territory on the 14-yard line. The Bearcats were moving the ball well towards midfield and with the recent momentum shift, it was not out of reason to think they were looking like they might tie the score up before halftime came.
The Jackrabbit’s Ryder Richey came through to put an end to that thinking, intercepting a tipped pass and returning it to Henrietta’s 38-yard line. Bowie again took advantage of the defenses turnover as Devin Melton punched the ball in from four yards out to put the Jackrabbits up 21-6.
With less than a minute to play it looked like Bowie was going to head into halftime with good momentum.
Unfortunately, the Bearcats quick pass offense was perfectly suited to move down the field in a short time. The Jackrabbits were worried about giving up the deep ball so were giving a generous cushion. Henrietta took advantage with quick pass after quick pass with receiver able to get out of bounds almost every time.
The Bearcats got into Bowie’s territory before quarterback Braden Bell found Carson Cody. He ran through and around some defenders to score from 34 yards out. The extra point was no good, but Henrietta had cut the lead to 21-12 heading into halftime while giving the Jackrabbits a quick reminder this game was far from over.
The third quarter saw Bowie keep its lead, but not do much else as both offenses struggled to move the ball after halftime adjustments.
The Bearcats got a boost from their special teams again midway through the quarter with a blocked punt that was recovered at the Jackrabbits 17-yard line. From there, Henrietta’s Essler scored on a nine-yard run. Extra points again eluded the Bearcats, but the score was cut 21-18 and the momentum surely on Henrietta’s side.
After a Bowie punt, the Bearcats looked like they were heading in for another touchdown drive to take their first lead of the game. Down at the Jackrabbits 12-yard line, Melton grabbed the Jackrabbits third interception of the game. He took the ball from his own five-yard line all the way to Henrietta’s 12-yard line. Unfortunately, the ball fumbled and the Bearcats recovered.
While Henrietta was no longer on the doorstep to taking the lead, it still felt like the Bearcats had the momentum as the game moved into the fourth quarter. Thankfully, Bowie’s defense had more plays up its sleeves.
Due to miscommunication on a route, Jackrabbits’ cornerback Alan Miranda found the ball thrown directly to him where he intercepted the pass at Henrietta’s own 24-yard line.
After struggling to move the ball all of the third quarter, this short field was almost squandered away as Bowie’s offense had to convert on a fourth and short to keep the drive going. From there, Harris was able to score from one-yard out and put the Jackrabbits back up by two scores 28-18.
The Bearcats drove into Bowie’s territory, but again the Jackrabbits defense bend-but-don’t break act came through again, turning Henrietta on downs at Bowie’s 22-yard line. One play later, Harris again came through with his fourth touchdown on the night, running 78 yards for the score.
With the Jackrabbits lead at 35-18 with five minutes to play, all of the tension of the game seemed to leave as Bowie firmly grabbed hold of the momentum.
After forcing a punt, the Jackrabbits tried a 29-yard field goal that missed. The Bearcats did not move the ball and turned the ball over on downs at their own 15-yard line.
Bowie took advantage, scoring one last time in the final minute as quarterback Colby Miller scored from five-yards out to put the finishing touches on the game as the Jackrabbits won 42-18.
To read the full story, pick up a copy of the mid-week edition of the Bowie News.