The People's Tribune

Bobcats Reclaim Commissioner’s Trophy Over IndianHawks

Bowling Green recaptured the Commissioner’s Trophy with a 60-20 victory over Clopton-Elsberry on Friday night. The trophy is presented annually by The People’s Tribune at the conclusion of the match-up. Above, the Bobcats celebrate after receiving the trophy.

Bowling Green bounced back from two tough weeks to open their conference schedule with an impressive 60-20 win over Clopton-Elsberry to take back the Commissioner’s Trophy, which is presented by The People’s Tribune every year at the conclusion of the match-up.

The IndianHawks struck first, capping a six-play drive with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Shawn Yates to Blake Kendall. Maleek McPike added a two-point conversion for an 8-0 Clopton-Elsberry lead.

After a turnover on downs, the Bobcats offense found an answer.

Kaleo Dade scored just a minute and a half after the Clopton-Elsberry score on a three yard run. George Niemeyer added the point after to cut the deficit to 8-7.

Following a pair of punts, the IndianHawks had the ball near the 40-yard line. On the first play of the drive, running back Eli Ankleman fumbled at the end of a run. Austin Callaway scooped up the loose ball and returned the fumble 37 yards to put the Bobcats ahead. Bowling Green led 14-8 at the end of the first quarter.

The Bobcat defense forced another punt to begin the second quarter to set up a 56-yard touchdown pass from Callahan to Noah Pafford. Beating five defenders with cutbacks and stutter-steps, Pafford extended the lead to 21-8 after another Niemeyer extra point.

As the quarter wore on, both offenses stalled on their next possessions.

Clopton-Elsberry got the ball back, but Yates was intercepted by the Bobcats Hunter Smith.

Smith took the pick 30 yards for the second defensive score for Bowling Green and a 27-8 lead.

The setback woke up the IndianHawks, who got the ball back late in the half. With 45 seconds left, Yates connected with Kyle Martin for a 37-yard score.

The IndianHawks defense got the ball back quickly and with just 15 seconds left Yates hit McPike for another Clopton-Elsberry touchdown to pull the IndianHawks within seven points as time expired.

As the second half opened, the Bobcats took back the momentum. A Dylan Huber run of 43-yards extended the lead to 33-20 just under two minutes into the quarter.

Kaleo Dade then forced an IndianHawks fumble that Brenden Henderson picked up and ran in for the Bobcats’ third defensive score.

The IndianHawks failed to gain traction in the second half as the Bowling Green defense continued to throw off the timing of the quick strike attack.

The Bobcats, who missed opportunities against St. Clair and Palmyra, connected on Friday. Bowling Green added touchdowns from Callahan on a four-yard run, Matt Kay on a 53-yard reception and Dade from five yards out to complete the 40-point win.

The Bobcats took back the coveted Commissioner’s Trophy, a bell-shaped annual momento, presented by The Trib to the winner of this EMO Rivalry game.

Austin Callahan was named the Community State Bank TribCast Player of the Game with a defensive touchdown, a rushing touchdown and two passing touchdowns for the Bobcats. Callahan also laid a hit on Nate Reed that took the air out of everyone in the stadium on a fourth down play.

The IndianHawks (2-1) will host Montgomery County (0-3) next week at Clopton High School.

The Bobcats (1-2) will travel to Vandalia for a battle against the Van-Far Indians (3-0) that will be featured on TribCast. Pregame on Friday begins at 6:30 p.m. at www.thepeoplestribune.com

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