Junior Cougars look stronger in tough loss to Warriors

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Junior Cougars were downed Thursday night at home, falling to conference foe East Poinsett County, 26-0.

Despite the seemingly one-sided score, the game was highly contested, with Rector hovering within striking distance throughout.

The two teams battled to a 0-0 stalemate after the first quarter of action, as neither squad made much headway on a rain-soaked Temerian Field.

Rector threatened early and often on offense, but each drive seemed to stall just when it appeared the young Cougars were bound for goal line.

EPC managed to light up the scoreboard with 6:07 left in the second frame. The try for two was denied, leaving Rector behind 6-0.

The Junior Cougars seemed primed for a response on their ensuing possession. Moving the ball on the ground, the home team cruised to midfield, but turned the ball over on a fumble.

The hosts took advantage of the opportunity, striking again with 4:07 left in the half. This time, the two-point attempt succeeded, as the home team fell behind, 14-0.

With time running out in the first half, Rector was facing fourth down on the EPC 38-yard-line. Going for broke, quarterback Mitchell Weber fired a deep pass, but the rain-coated ball was dropped on what looked to be a sure touchdown.

The first half ended with Rector trailing 14-0.

EPC scored two more times in the fourth quarter to set the final tally.

The night was filled with missed opportunities for Rector. On several occasions, the home team forced EPC into third and long situations, but saw their opponents overcome seven, eight or nine yards to keep the drive going.

"The score was not that indicative of the game," Rector coach Nate Henderson said. "It was a closer game than it appeared on the scoreboard."

Henderson noted his team's improved effort overall, despite coming up short.

"I thought our kids played pretty well. Defensively, we were able to stay with them pretty well. We had some trouble stopping the big plays, but I thought we did a much better job overall.

"On offense, we had some trouble staying consistent. I thought we did a pretty good job of moving the ball, but then we'd sputter. If we pick up a few more blocks, it's a whole different ballgame."

The Junior Cougars will host Walnut Ridge beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday in Rector.

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