Dean hurdle

Senior fullback Will Dean hurdles Caleb Lefevers and a Rockcastle defensive lineman on his way to a 36-yard touchdown run. Dean also had a 16-yard TD run and a 42-yard TD catch in Friday’s playoff win.

The Bell County Bobcats continued their playoff run on Friday with a 39-0 win over Rockcastle County in the District Championship round.

Bell is now 12-0 on the season and Friday result leaves the Bobcats with not only the top scoring offense in Class 3A, but the top scoring defense as well.

Senior fullback Will Dean came up big in Friday’s game with 77 yards and two touchdowns on six carries and a 42-yard touchdown reception. Senior quarterback London Stephney completed 9 of 13 passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns and ran 11 times for 109 yards and a score.

Bobcat coach Dudley Hilton is very pleased with the strides his team has made on the defensive side of the ball. Friday’s game was the team’s fourth shutout in their last six games. They held the Rockets to just 112 yards of total offense.

“I think we’ve grown up as a team. We’re a little bit more mature now than we were at the start of the season and I think that’s beginning to show,” Hilton said. “When you start to take things serious it shows and I think that shows up on defense. If you don’t play together you can’t stop good teams like Rockcastle. Since the last time we played them they had been averaging 40 points a game, so we held a high-powered offense to 112 yards. It’s all because our guys are maturing and growing up, we’re doing not much different defensively. We’ve got men playing now instead of boys.”

The Bobcats got the ball first, but went backwards on their first possession. Rockcastle threatened, but the Bell defense held.

Offensively, Bell had to convert several third downs on their following possession but finally got rolling.

Stephney scrambled for ten yards to convert on 3rd and 7. Jonathan Lankford went 27 yards on an end around on another third down play. Again Stephney scrambled to convert a tird and long and a Dean run took the ball down to the Rock 16.

On fourth and 8 from 14, Stephney hooked up with Jason Jones for a 14-yard touchdown for a 6-0 lead with 38.7 seconds left in the first quarter.

After forcing a punt, the Bobcats were back in business. Stephney passed to Cameron Burnett for about 25 yards and a couple of plays later Dean hurdled over the line of scrimmage and broke several tackles on his way to a 36-yard touchdown run for a 12-0 lead.

Brandon Baker added a 26-yard TD run and Dean scored from 16 yards out to extend the lead to 24-0 by halftime.

Hayden Callebs intercepted a pass to end Rockcastle’s drive to start the third quarter. Stephney later found Dean coming out of the backfield on a play-action pass for a 42-yard touchdown. Dean’s conversion run made it 32-0 with 7:08 to play in the quarter.

“When you play somebody twice you can go back and look at the film and see some things you could have done,” Hilton said. “We ran three or four plays that we hadn’t run all year. We had a hook-and-lateral that would have gone for a touchdown but we just dropped it.

“On Will’s touchdown catch, we just saw that they weren’t paying much attention to him. Will hadn’t carried the ball that much this year but we felt like we needed to go to him some. Will’s a good running back and they were stopping some of things that had worked against them in the first game.”

Stephney closed the scoring with a 35-yard TD run and Jones extra point set the final at 39-0.

“There was a lot of pressure on us Friday night. Rockcastle came in here with the confidence they could win and on the first series it looked like they were going to win. But we overcame that and handled adversity pretty well. I’m just proud of our kids. Again, it’s because they’re growing up.

Bell County (12-0) hosts Felming County (10-2) Friday for the Regional Championship

Rockcastle County ends the season with a record of 8-4.

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