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Civil war starts tonight with West Lincoln Bears vs. Bogue Chitto Bobcats

Story by Adam Northam.

The first of a trio of local brawls between the four Lincoln County football teams begins tonight, as the West Lincoln Bears travel a few miles southeast to fight the Bobcats of Bogue Chitto.

Both teams have taken their lumps this season in a series of close wins and big losses, but both will suit up for their 7 p.m. matchup at Troy Smith Field with their postseason hopes very much alive, despite their records. The Bobcats (4-4, 0-2) are tied with the Enterprise Yellow Jackets for last place in Region 7-2A, but can pick up wins tonight and next week and still see the light of postseason. The Bears (3-5, 1-1), are in third place behind Loyd Star and the region-leading Trojans of Amite County.

“The next two games have important playoff implications for us, and this week, especially, should be a big crowd,” said Bobcats head coach Gareth Sartin. “This should be an exciting, very competitive, fun game to watch.”

Bogue Chitto has been exciting in some games and competitive in others so far in 2017. Wesson and Pisgah put the hurt on the Bobcats for sure, but the squad has played tough football in its four wins and two other losses, averaging about 23 points per game. There have been flashes of firepower along the way, as the Bobcats hung 42 points on McLaurin to open the season and dumped 39 on Salem a few weeks later.

Part of that production has come from a pair of multi-purpose players on the Bobcats roster. Junior Lafredrick Dillon has rushed for 423 yards and a pair of touchdowns while catching a further 141 yards and two more scores. Junior Brandon Lewis can’t decide if he wants to run or catch, either — he’s caught 198 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for a Benjamin and two more.

A pair of dual-threat guys like Dillon and Lewis ought to get loose against the West Lincoln defense, which has given up almost 38 points per game this season, including 70 to Pisgah and 60 to Pelahatchie.

But even in those big losses, West Lincoln has put up points. Offense hasn’t been much of a problem for the Bears — they’ve scored 20 points or more in all but one game.

“West Lincoln does a good job of getting their guys prepared, and they do a lot on offense to get you some bad matchups,” Sartin said. “They’ve got several good athletes who can hurt you running the ball.”

One of those guys who could hurt the Bobcats is West Lincoln senior athlete Chase Owen. He’s been effective in all phases of his offense — he’s passed for 250 yards and four touchdowns, rushed for 516 yards and eight touchdowns and caught passes for 452 yards and three touchdowns.

Owen isn’t the only set of legs West Lincoln has to worry Sartin’s Bobcats. Sophomore running back Michael Brothern has carried the ball for 538 yards and four touchdowns, while junior quarterback Matthew Case and senior running back Julian Anderson have added 211 and 155 yards rushing, respectively, and four more scores between them.

Owen and company should be able to find some gaps in the Bogue Chitto defense, which has given up around 31 points per game in 2017 and allowed opponents to score 42 or better in four games.

Both teams can score big, both teams have given up big plays and both coaches are worried about each other’s offenses.

“Bogue Chitto is well-coached. They play really hard and have the ability to score in bunches,” said West Lincoln head coach BJ Smithart. “We hope to play well enough to win, and this should be a really good high school football game.”