PREP FOOTBALL – Bearcats toppled by Arab Knights in season opener


ARAB – Too many mistakes were difficult for the Cullman Bearcats to overcome in the season opener Friday night with Arab.


The Bearcats were hit by penalties early in the game then suffered two interceptions late. That resulted in Arab beating Cullman 21-14, ending a seven-game losing streak to the Bearcats.


This was the first time since 2004 the Bearcats were not able to win on opening night. That broke a nine-game winning streak for coach Mark Britton.


Arab got two touchdowns in the first quarter with four major distance penalties. One enabled the Knights to move the ball on the first series that ended in the Bearcat end zone on a 28-yard pass from Daulton Hyatt to Tommy Carr.


A 66-yard drive by the Knights was accounted for two personal fouls that covered 15 yards each.


That allowed the Knights to regain the lead at 14-7. Cullman had tied the score at 7-7 with a 75-yard drive in nine plays. Ross Crocker completed five of six in the drive for 51 yards that set up the score on a 10-yard run from Will Crenshaw and the extra point by Matt Bell.


Cullman took advantage of field position when Caden Winn raced down the right sidelines 44 yards on a punt in the second quarter. It set up the tying drive for Cullman from the Arab 14.


On fourth down and two, Crenshaw got a first down then followed it with a plunge over the middle from the one. The kick by Bell created at 14-14 score. That's how the half would end.


A transformer blew near the stadium during halftime, causing an outage on the scoreboard and in the press box. It didn't delay the start of the second half, but the third quarter and half of the fourth was played without a visible clock to the sidelines and the spectators.


When power was restored, Arab drove 86 yards in six plays and moved back on top. A 68-yard run by Hyatt took the ball inside the Cullman 20. He threw a touchdown pass of 11 yards on fourth down with 5:59 remaining.


Cullman had two opportunities to drive the ball into Arab territory and to score. But Crocker threw two interceptions, the second was at the Knights' 30 with 1:12 remaining.


Cullman was out of time outs as Arab ran out the clock and ended the domination of the Bearcats for a decade.


Now the Bearcats look to regroup when they go to Etowah next Friday.