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Bobcats to meet Lakeside in trenches war

By Ken McLemore/Hope Public Schools, 10/12/20 3:07 PM

HOPE – The Hope Bobcats will defend the home ground Friday night against a Lakeside air attack that will make winning the game in the trenches the heart of the 5A South Conference battle.

The Hope High School varsity takes on the Lakeside Rams at 7 p.m. Friday at Hammons Stadium in a contest that gives the Bobcats an opportunity to bolster their conference record.

Head Coach Phillip Turner’s squad will need to blunt the Lakeside passing game to do it, as the Rams have averaged a whopping 174.2 yards per game in the air on the arm of Quarterback Will Ross. That means Hope will need to win the game on the line of scrimmage, both offensively and defensively.

The two teams are virtually even in scoring for the season, with Lakeside averaging 21 points per game and Hope averaging 25 points per game.

The Rams have peaked late in the second quarter into the middle of the third quarter, and are scoreless in the final stanza on the season; while Hope has been able to put points on the board in all four quarters.

Two points make the defensive side of the game significant for the Cats.

First, Lakeside has scored a total of 107 points on the season, but has only 96 points scored against them; while the Cats have put 128 points on the board, but have 164 points scored against them.

And, Lakeside has a potent defense, compiling 15 sacks on the season, six interceptions on the year and an average of 72.4 tackles per game, 61 of which this season have been for losses. The Bobcats will need to dig in on the offensive line to create opportunities for Hope’s stronger running game; and, punch holes in the Rams’ offensive line for opportunities to shoot down their passing.

Hope has averaged 139.4 yards per game on the season on the ground from a total of 127 carries for 697 yards, or 5.5 yards per carry and eight touchdowns. Lakeside’s running game has been less productive with an average 96.6 yards per game from a total of 133 carries for 483 yards, or 3.6 yards per carry.

The Cats are also much shallower on the bench than Lakeside, with Hope carrying a varsity roster of 34 players, while the Rams show a roster of 71.

But, the Bobcats have shown a remarkable ability to make things happen as the season has progressed, taking away five fumbles and producing momentum on kick-off return yardage, averaging 77 yards per carry on returns.

Lakeside stands 3-2 on the season and 1-1 in conference play, while Hope is at 1-4 on the season and 1-1 in conference.

Seating at Hammons Stadium will follow COVID-19 protocols for 66 percent of stadium capacity, and families may sit together, but must observe social distancing. Fans will be allowed to stand along the field fence line, but must observe social distancing markers.

All attendees will be required to wear a face mask, and students in sixth grade and under must be accompanied by an adult to be admitted to the game.

Tickets will be sold at the 18th Street box office at Hammons Stadium only beginning at 5 p.m. on game day for the 7 p.m. kickoff. Tickets are $5 each, and AAA passes will be recognized within the 66 percent stadium seating capacity.

Gates will be closed after 66 percent capacity is reached; however, additional tickets may be sold should attendance drop below 66 percent capacity during the game.