Cass hurt its cause once again with turnovers, turning the ball over three times — twice through fumbles and once through an interception.
The two teams were close throughout most of the contest as Gilmer led by only 10-7 after three quarters of play. The Bobcats scored midway in the final period and then padded their lead late.
Cass didn’t get its running game untracked, picking up 55 yards on 26 rushes with two fumbles, but had more success with its passing attack, going 11 of 17 for 133 yards with one interception.
Cass head coach Rick Casko said the Colonels, who lost their second region didn’t make some plays when they needed to and missed some scoring opportunities that allowed the Bobcats to take the lead early, and then Gilmer fought off Cass attempts to wrest away the game.
“We moved the ball, but we made some mistakes at the wrong time,” Casko said. “A couple of penalties hurt us. The game was very close for a long time. We needed to make plays at certain times and we weren’t able to do that. We were unable to stop them when we needed to on one drive. Also, we got the ball in the red zone one time and you can’t put it on the ground like that.”
Casko also saluted the play of the Bobcats. “They are a good football team, a solid team, and they’re a ball-control team. Once they get a little behind, they’re going to pound the ball a little bit and their confidence gets in there. They played hard. They played a good football game. Our kids are playing hard, but we’re coming up short.”
Gilmer benefited early when Cass opened the contest with a short kickoff, allowing the Bobcats to start at their own 38. Tyler Bertolini, the Bobcats’ burly running back, rocked the Colonels for a 12-yard gain the first play from scrimmage to put the ball at midfield. Three plays later, Flakes mined the Cass defense for 16 yards and the visitors had a first-and-10 at the 24. It took them five more plays to score, as Flakes scored his first touchdown on a 4-yard run at the 7:26 mark of the first quarter.
Cass responded with a seven-play drive that ran out of steam at the Colonels’ 42.
The next Cass series, the Colonels drove the ball to the Gilmer 22 but couldn’t cap the effort with a score and turned the ball over.
A series later, Cass started its drive at the 36 but drew two quick penalties and found itself facing a second-and-35 from the 10. The Colonels dug themselves out of that hole when Trevor Lowe hit Justin Reed for a 39-yard pass but then luck turned on Cass in the form of a fumble that gave the Bobcats a first-and 10 at the Cass 30. Four plays later, Gilmer made a 28-yard field goal to raise their lead to 10-0.
Cass responded with an 11-play drive, highlighted by a 15-yard Lowe-to-Jordan Cothron pass that gave the Colonels a first down at the Gilmer 12. Kelin Wells punctuated the series with a 1-yard touchdown run with 34 seconds remaining until the break. The extra point was good by Pablo Delores and Cass closed the game to 10-7.
Neither team scored in the third quarter but Gilmer rectified that midway in the fourth quarter when the Bobcats engineered a 13-play drive that featured only rushing attempts and expanded their lead to 16-7 after their point-after-touchdown attempt was no good. Flakes scored his second touchdown from four yards out.
On its next series, Cass threatened to get back in the game when Chris Morton fielded the Gilmer kickoff around the 7 and didn’t stop chugging until he’d passed 51 yards of real estate and the Colonels were in business at the 27. Colin Rogers advanced the ball to the 16 with an 11-yard run but the Colonels then fumbled the ball and missed a golden opportunity in the red zone.
It took Gilmer four plays to find the end zone, with Flakes doing the honors from 10 yards out as the Bobcats surged to a 23-7 lead.
Cass responded with a six-play drive that was capped when Keylon Woodard brought in a Lowe pass for a 9-yard touchdown strike. The Colonels went for two points after the touchdown and had to settle for a 23-13 deficit after the play came up short with 2:45 remaining in the game.
Cass attempted an onside kick then, but Gilmer fielded the ball and in four plays completed a 66-yard scoring drive to take a 30-13 lead with 1:16 remaining.
The next series ended with a Gilmer interception of a Cass pass. The Bobcats quarterback took a knee twice to run the final ticks off the clock.
Cass (2-5, 0-2 in Region 7A-AAAA) next plays River Ridge on Friday at River Ridge. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.
Gilmer County (5-1 overall and 1-0 in the region) returns to the gridiron wars on Oct. 18 when it hosts Pickens.