VAN — A solid first-half performance was enough to make up for a lackluster second half as Hallsville held on for a 38-26 victory over Van on Friday night at Van Memorial Stadium.
Five different Bobcats scored touchdowns to lead a balanced offensive attack. Hallsville improved to 1-1 on the season, while Van fell to 0-2.
The turning point in the game came on both of Hallsville’s second quarter possessions. Leading 21-13, the Bobcats embarked on eight-play, 56-yard drive with all the yards coming on the ground. Senior tailback Stephon Dunn capped the drive with a five-yard touchdown run on third down. The extra point increased the Hallsville lead to 28-13.
Following a Van punt, the Bobcats then rumbled to a 12-play, 59-yard drive that chewed up nearly five minutes. Senior Paden Brown’s 31-yard field goal gave Hallsville a 31-13 lead, which they would hold going into the half. For the quarter, the Bobcats held the ball for over nine minutes and converted four of five third downs.
Neither team scored in the third quarter, as Hallsville twice turned the ball over in Vandal territory. The Van offense was unable to gain any ground, however. Bobcat senior quarterback Macailyn Wilder essentially put the game out of reach early in the fourth quarter with an eight-yard scoring toss to senior Andre Jones. It was Wilder’s second touchdown pass of the night, and put the Bobcats up, 38-13.
Van would not go quietly.
Junior tailback Matt Savis scored on a 31-yard touchdown run. Then, following another Hallsville turnover, Savis struck again. His five-yard plunge pulled the Vandals to within 38-26. Savis finished the game with 245 yards rushing on 26 carries.
Hallsville junior Ky-Untae Hicks, who caught two passes and had an interception, recovered the ensuing onside kick.
The Bobcats were then able to run out the clock.
The Hallsville offense was paced by a dual-threat rushing attack. Wilder rushed for 92 yards on 20 carries, while junior tailback Kha’lil Sneed added 99 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown. Wilder also tallied 170 yards through the air on 13-21 passing.
The senior had an interception to go along with his two touchdowns.
After the Bobcat defense held the Vandals on the game’s opening drive, Hallsville struck first. Sneed dashed in from four yards out for the first score of the night. Wilder sustained the drive by hitting Dunn with a 13-yard screen pass on fourth-and-eleven. Brown’s kick made it 7-0.
Van responded immediately, however, as junior quarterback Peter Maddox hit fellow junior Luke McGowan on a 17-yard score to tie the game at 7-7. Hallsville would reclaim the lead in a hurry, though, as Wilder found junior Jamil Young on a beautiful 58-yard scoring toss. Hicks then intercepted a Maddox pass, setting up another Bobcat score.
This one came on a 23-yard reverse by junior Dionte Johnson, putting Hallsville up, 21-7.
The Vandals would not back down, however, as Maddox found McGowan again. This score came on the first play of the second quarter.
A missed extra point left Hallsville ahead, 21-13.
The Bobcats rolled to 272 yards on the ground while outgaining the Vandals by a total of 442-374. A game that was seemingly in control became difficult in the second half due to six penalties, in addition to the three turnovers. Despite the struggles in the second half, Hallsville did show some cool under pressure as they converted eight of fourteen third down attempts and both of their fourth down attempts.
Hallsville returns home next week to face Henderson.