Bobcats fall 20-13 at home

Jameson Vest of Our Lady of Mercy booms a 47-yard field goal on the final play of the first half to tie Friday’s game against Athens Academy.

Our Lady of Mercy hosted Athens Academy in its home opener Friday night, and the game went down to the final minute before the Spartans came away with a 20-13 win over the Bobcats, who fell to 0-3.

The visiting team jumped out to a 13-0 early lead, taking the opening kickoff down the field until Michael Santamaria connected with Eric Williams on a 21-yard touchdown pass. At the start of the second quarter after a OLM punt, the Spartans needed only one play to reach the end zone, with Santamaria hitting Williams on a 61-yard scoring play.

From there, the Bobcats took the kickoff and marched 80 yards in 13 plays, highlighted by a 26-yard run from quarterback Jameson Vest and a pass interference call on a fourth-down play deep in Spartan territory. Jordan Thomas scored from three yards out to make it 13-7.

Thomas, playing both ways, recovered a fumble a few plays later and then raced 17 yards on first down to put the ball inside the Athens 10. Vest converted a 25-yard field goal to conclude the drive.

The Bobcats tied the score on the final play of the first half. Two pass completions for 45 yards put the ball on the Spartans’ 15, but Vest was sacked on the next play for a 15-yard loss. That would have put most high school teams out of field goal range, but Vest hammered a 47-yarder through the uprights as the horn sounded.

After stopping OLM on fourth-and-1 to start the third quarter, Athens Academy took over in Bobcat territory and made it count. Santamaria’s third touchdown pass of the night was a 34-yarder to Hayden Hudson with 8:44 left in the third, and that was the last score of the game.

The Bobcats knocked on the door several times in the second half but couldn’t get the ball into the end zone. On the drive immediately following the Spartan touchdown, Vest ran to the 1 and was stripped as he reached across the goal line, and although his knee appeared to touch the ground before the turnover, the play was ruled a fumble.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Vest converted a fourth-and-1 to reach the Athens 9, but an illegal formation nullified the gain and the Spartan intercepted a pass on the next play.

On the next possession Vest connected with Delfayeo Matthews on a 48-yard pass to the Spartans’ 15, but the officials conferred and ruled the pass incomplete. The Bobcats kept the drive alive with a fake punt and got inside the 25 before being stopped by another interception.

The final shot of the night saw the Bobcats with a first down at the Athens 18 and just over a minute to play. A 12-yard completion to the 6 was nullified by another penalty, and after three incomplete passes a last fourth-down play came up four yards short with 39 seconds left.

OLM hosts Pace Academy next Friday.

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