PIKEVILLE, Ky. — Mistakes will haunt, and for the University of Pikeville, a fumble on its opening drive and blocked punt for a touchdown in the first quarter were too much to overcome in a 37-33 loss to Cumberland (Tenn.) on Saturday at the Hambley Athletic Complex.
Down 10 with less than three minutes to play, the Bears still had a chance when Elijah Bell hauled in a 60-yard pass and Quan Weaver finished things off with a 10-yard run. UPIKE got the quick stop on downs it needed, but with just 90 seconds on the clock, it couldn’t come up with a game-winning or tying drive.
The last effort started promisingly with a 14-yard pass from Sani Warren to Austin Pray, followed by a 22-yard run from Weaver. But holding brought back the run and Warren came up just short of extending the drive with a 12-yard scramble on 4th and 16.
UPIKE outgained Cumberland 510-456 and had five more first downs, but too many penalties did the Bears in. While the Bulldogs were called for just one on the day, UPIKE was flagged seven times for 71 yards.
Despite the miscues, the two-back attack of Jamar Kirksey and Weaver came up big as Kirksey gained 88 yards with a score and Weaver went for 74 yards and two touchdowns. Warren, who went 19 of 33 passing for 258 yards, also gained 49 yards on the ground with a score.
Bell led the receivers with seven catches for 98 yards, while Jamon Langford had 54 yards on four grabs.
Austin Chaplin highlighted the Cumberland effort with 156 yards on 28 carries and a touchdown as Snyder finished 13 of 24 for 198 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
On defense, Jack Hopkins was the story for the Bears, coming up with 14 tackles, including eight solo stops, while Matthew Robinson and Terrell White chipped in with seven tackles each.
After fumbling on its opening drive, UPIKE responded well on its next set of downs as Warren completed five passes, including a 24-yard strike to Langford, to set up a 17-yard keeper to tie it at 7-7.
At the end of the first quarter, disaster struck as the Bulldog defense broke through and blocked Karapandzic’s punt. Nathan Anderson scooped it up to take back the lead on a 29-yard return.
The block and return were the start of a 21-0 run for Cumberland that lasted into the early stages of the third quarter.
The Bears put together a goal-line stop in the second quarter when Snyder overthrew his receiver six yards outside of the end zone. UPIKE ultimately came up empty on its ensuing drive as Karapandzic’s 35-yard field goal missed wide left.
Following a quick three-and-out for the Bears after halftime, the Bulldogs made it a 28-7 lead with one play as Snyder hit Ryan Jordan in stride for 88 yards.
The scoring drought finally ended for UPIKE on its next set of downs as Warren threw a 21-yard pass to Pray before Bell took a sweep the distance for39 yards.
There were touchdowns scored on five of six drives leading into the final quarter up until it was 34-27 Cumberland with 12 minutes to play after a short burst by Weaver in the bearcat formation.
Down by seven, UPIKE got a lift from Hopkins with an interception, but came up empty on its drive as Weaver was stopped on fourth-and-two. Instead, Cumberland went on a 16-play drive lasting more than seven minutes to add a 24-yard field goal and make it a two-possession game.
Bell’s touchdown response was quick, and the defense made a stop, but the end mirrored the beginning as mistakes took the outcome out of the Bears’ hands.
Up Next: at Campbellsville, 2 p.m. ET, Saturday, Oct. 10, Campbellsville, Ky.