by Hunter Dawkins
Stability and control were never there for the Long Beach Bearcats Friday night against the Gautier Gators. Giving up an early two-touchdown lead and just shy of 500 yards total offense has been tough to overcome the last month for the Bearcats with a 48-33 loss.
“I thought we fought hard and Gautier was an outstanding team,” said Long Beach Head Football Coach Philip Pigott. “We finally start executing, get down by two, then we have an interception along with untimely holding calls to kill drives at the end.”
The Bearcats (2-4, 0-2) began on the wrong side of the aisle, letting Gautier quarterback Dalyn McDonald run off tackle on the first play for a 63-yard scamper for a touchdown. With Gator kicker Kyle Gager putting the ball through the uprights, Gautier took an early 7-0 lead with 11:35 left in the first.
Despite Long Beach trying to maneuver a six play drive, their turnover on downs with a fumble led to the Gators converting an eight-play 66-yard drive on a twenty yard strike from McDonald to Jordan Irving. This touchdown was followed by an extra point conversion from Gager with 5:46 left in the first quarter to post a score 14-0 Gautier.
Long Beach rallied to keep the Gators at bay with a drive, which running back Dennis “D-Train” Andrews put together three runs for 74 yards. Ultimately Bearcats quarterback Cade Crosby called his own number walking in from 2-yards for a touchdown. With Crosby kicking this time, the extra point was good and there was 4:07 left in the first with a 14-7 score.
Quickly moving, the Gators strolled on a nine-play drive where McDonald ran in after faking the handoff with 20 seconds left. The extra point was blocked, so the new score was 20-7.
Following the score, the Bearcats put together a ten-play drove covering 75 yards where Andrews powered his way though for 16 yards and a touchdown. Crosby converted the extra point to make the score 20-14.
Gautier and Long Beach answered each other scoring during the next possession, as Crosby finds Dalton Cook for a five yard touchdown in the back of the end zone. After the extra point was converted, the halftime score was 27-21 Gautier.
In the third quarter, both teams went on long scoring series, finally with the Bearcats Crosby going on a nine-play drive where he found receiver Kobe Cook for a 33-yard touchdown with 3:38 left in the quarter. The extra point was blocked, leaving the score 35-33.
Getting the ball back and driving down the field, the Bearcats were caught off guard from a sack and interception with 9:06 left.
The Gators received the ball back and the rest is history. Kameron Kincaid jetted a 55-yard run with 2:08 left in the game. The score stayed there for most of the last two, until Kincaid found a hole through the middle, he put the final score of this second district meet at 48-33.
“I really am excited about our growth as a football team from week to week,” said Pigott. “We’re growing and fighting every week.”
In the end, the Bearcats produced decent numbers with Quarterback Cade Crosby throwing for 185 yards on 11-26 completions with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. D-Train Andrews had 190 yards rushing on 20 carries for two touchdowns along with Crosby, who ran for 40 yards and a touchdown.
Long Beach receivers Kobe Cook had 5 receptions for 85 yards and a touchdown while Dalton Cook had 4 receptions for 65 yards with a touchdown.
Emma Grace Mauffray was crowned the homecoming queen for Long Beach High School.
Long Beach plays at Wayne County next week, as the Bearcats will have three straight road games.