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NORTH LITTLE ROCK FOOTBALL Cats win the game but lose Day

North Little Rock’s K.J. Hill celebrates after a touchdown against Pine Bluff on Friday. Jaison Sterling
North Little Rock’s K.J. Hill celebrates after a touchdown against Pine Bluff on Friday. Jaison Sterling

They were back to their winning ways. The North Little Rock Charging Wildcats won yet another installment of the Bolding Bowl when they traveled to Pine Bluff to take on the Zebras coached by NLR coach Brad Bolding’s brother Bobby and came away with a 35-14 win.

The game is fast becoming a tradition between the two schools.

The Charging Wildcats are finding out that they have playmakers on their team, even when one of their most highly touted one goes down.

In the wake of senior running back Juan Day’s season ending knee injury, K.J. Hill, a junior transfer from Bryant has stepped up once again.

Hill is proving to be a nightmare for kickers. Against Lake Hamilton in week one he returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown.

On Friday, Hill victimized Pine Bluff’s punter for TD return. None of it surprises his coach.

“We knew all along he was a playmaker,” Bolding said.

The reputation is growing as SEC offers are starting to roll in. Auburn was first followed by Arkansas. More are likely to follow.

Day tore his ACL on the game’s second series on Friday in what Bolding called a “freak” accident.

“There was no contact,” Bolding said. “He just made a cut and that was it.”

That is it for his high school career, but Day isn’t about to feel sorry for himself. He gave his team encouragement via Twitter over the weekend tweeting, “It’s not about me, it’s about the Team. And I want my Team to win a state championship.”

The team now turns to running backs Fabian Lewis and Deon Tidwell, both have been stellar performers in their roles.

“We’ve worked well with a two-back system,” Bolding said. “It won’t change who we are and what we do.”

This isn’t the first time that Day has been injured. He was lost for the majority of his sophomore season along with Altee Tenpenny. Both suffered ankle injuries.

Bolding said that though Day was a special player, his team shouldn’t miss a beat as they begin conference play against Cabot on Friday.

“No secret about Cabot,” Bolding said.

The Panthers have posted impressive wins against Jacksonville and Conway so far in the young season.

“They are a tough team,” Bolding said.

The Charging Wildcats are going to need their playmakers. Good thing they have plenty.

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