PREP FOOTBALL: Bearcats handle Lee-Huntsville for homecoming 40-7

Cullman’s Jackson Sessions (2) returns a kick during the Bearcats’ 40-7 win over Lee-Huntsville Friday night. (Jennifer Lovoy/The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – After a couple weeks on the road, the Cullman Bearcats were back home at Oliver Woodard Stadium for homecoming Friday night and the ‘Cats celebrated with a 40-7 win over the Generals of Lee-Huntsville.

Cullman’s Jackson Sessions took the opening kickoff and returned the ball 44 yards deep into Lee territory. A block-in-the-back penalty moved the ball back to Lee’s 43-yard line. The Bearcats were unable to capitalize on the good field position. Special teams started to shine as the punt was downed on Lee’s 1 yard line.

Cullman’s defense quickly forced a Lee fumble and Cullman was in business at the Lee five-yard line. Two runs by Sessions got the Bearcats into the endzone on a three-yard run. The PAT kick was good by Garrett Mobley and with 7:44 left in the first quarter, Cullman led 7-0.

The Generals mounted a five-play drive with them turning the ball over on downs at the Cullman 49-yard line. Cullman’s quarterback Tanner Gaines wasted little time competing a 31-yard pass to Cooper Ogstad to set the Bearcats up for another score. Gaines topped the drive off five plays later with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Wyatt Buchanan and with the good PAT Cullman led 14-0 with 4:36 left in the first quarter.

Lee tried to get a drive started from their own 20. A quarterback sack by Jack Cabri of four yards put a quick end to Lee’s drive.

Cullman took over on their own 48-yard line. A defensive pass interference call against Lee moved the ball down to their own 37-yard line. Five plays later, Larry Turner ran the ball into the end zone from 22 yards out and with the successful PAT Cullman extended their lead to 21-0 with 9:25 remaining in the first half.

A Reid Bradberry sack helped stop Lee’s next drive and Cullman took over possession at the 50-yard line. A 29-yard pass from Gaines to Cooper Ogstad was the highlight of Cullman’s drive. A personal foul penalty against Cullman stopped the Bearcats short of the goal line. Mobley lined up and drilled a 35-yard field goal and Cullman’s lead was 24-0 with 5:15 left in the second quarter.

Cullman’s defense once again held the Generals and forced a quick punt. Strong running by Turner and another Gaines to Ogstad pass quickly got the Bearcats deep into Lee’s side of the field. From two yards out, Samuel Mayhair scored the final points of the first half. The PAT was no good and the Bearcats entered halftime leading 30-0.

Cullman’s offense compiled 168 total yards compared to Lee’s 20 total yards in the first half.

Looking to get on the board, the Generals wasted little time as Xavier Teague took the first play from scrimmage to start the second half and ran 83 yards for a quick touchdown. The PAT was good, and Lee cut the Cullman lead to 30-7 with 11:45 left in the third quarter.

Not to be outdone, Cullman’s offense took over at their own 37-yard line and mounted a seven-play scoring drive of their own. Once again it was the rushing and passing combo of Turner and Gaines moving Cullman down the field. Gaines completed a 13-yard scoring pass to Preston Gay and with the successful PAT, Cullman extended their lead to 37-7.

The Generals mounted a 12-play drive that consumed most of the time left in the third quarter. Cullman’s defense stopped the Generals on the fourth down play and Cullman went into the fourth quarter leading comfortably.

Both teams were unable to mount any serious fourth quarter drives except for Cullman’s second drive of the quarter. After stalling in Lee territory, Cullman called on Mobley once again to kick a 36-yard field goal to complete the scoring 40-7 to complete the homecoming win for the Bearcats.

Gaines finished the night 10-of-30 passing for 152 yards. Turner gained 73 yards on 14 carries. Cullman had 289 yards in total offense.

Next week Cullman travels to Mortimer Jordan for another non-region game.

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