Last season the Radford Bobcats were not able to finish the season the way they had hoped after losing several key players to season-ending injuries. This season the Bobcats have high expectations with starters returning at all the skilled positions.
Friday’s game against James River was expected to match the experience of Radford versus a young James River team led by freshman QB Zeal Hammon who had started strong in his first game against Alleghany.
Radford’s experience showed early and made it an easy 46-8 win.
Radford wasted no time scoring with Xavier Cobbs taking the opening kickoff down the left sideline for 84 yards for the touchdown. After an offsides penalty on James River, the Bobcats decided to go for the 2-point conversion which failed after P.J. Prioleau was tackled short of the goal line.
The Bobcat defense was tough all night and held James River in the first possession to force a punt. On the first play from scrimmage, Darius Wesley-Brubeck ran 21 yards to the 30. Two plays later QB Zane Rupe connected with Kamaree Tanner for a 4-yard score. Wesley-Brubeck was tackled short on the 2 point try.
The Bobcats scored again on their next possession with a 2-yard Prioleau TD. Mason Sproule missed the PAT wide left. The Bobcats led 18-0 at the end of the first quarter.
After several changes of possession, the Bobcats started from their own 30-yard line. Wesley-Brubeck had a 21-yard run to set up a 2-yard TD by Wesley-Brubeck with 5:11 left in the 2nd quarter. Sproule kicked the extra point.
After holding the Knights and forcing a punt, Radford was able to score again right before the end of the half on a Rupe to Wesley-Brubeck pass for 30 yards. Tyrel Dobson scored on the 2-point conversion on a pass from Rupe, giving the Bobcats a 33-0 lead at the half.
The Bobcats held James River to a total of 8 yards and no first downs for the first half. The longest play for James River was an 11-yard completion. The Bobcat offense consistently played with a short field and was able to gain 199 yards in the first half.
James River was forced to punt on their second possession which was blocked by Prioleau and Radford recovered on the Knights 28-yard line.
On the first play, Prioleau took the handoff from Rupe and went the distance for a TD. Sproule kicked the PAT.
Wesley-Brubeck recovered a Knights fumble on the next possession and the Bobcats were able to convert for another Prioleau 15-yard TD run.
The Knights were finally able to get on the scoreboard with :26 left as the reserves took over the game. Colin Cook scored on a 1-yard run and Cook was able to convert the 2-point conversion to make the final score, 46-8.
The Bobcats defense dominated all night. The Knights managed 51 total yards, which were mostly gained after the Bobcat reserves were playing. Knights QB Hammon finished the game 4 for 16 for 29 yards. Cook was their leading rusher with 22 yards.
Radford’s offense was rusty but was able to take advantage of a short field all night. Rupe finished 9 for 19 for 131 yards and 2 TDs. Prioleau rushed 7 times for 80 yards and 3 TDs. Wesley-Brubeck finished with 54 yards on 8 carries. He also had 3 receptions for 63 yards.
The Bobcats (1-0) will travel to Alleghany on Friday to take on the Mountaineers at 7 p.m.
By ELIZABETH KANIPE, The Patriot