Cougars Fall at Cedar Ridge
The Cedar Ridge Timberwolves used a strong rushing attack to overpower the Cougars, 36-16, Friday night in Newark.
The Timberwolves led 8-0 in the first frame and 23-0 at intermission en route to taking a 30-0 advantage in the third frame. The Cougars lost three fumbles in the game, including critical turnovers on their second and third possessions of the game.
The Cougars cracked the scoreboard late in the third stanza. Junior Danny Hager provided a solid return on the kickoff, bringing the ball out near midfield where Rector would begin its drive. Garrett Buck and Colby Stokes did the bulk of the heavy lifting operating out of the backfield, working to move the ball all the way down to the one-yard-line on an eight play drive. Sophomore running back Easton Tracy broke to the weak side for a one-yard touchdown run with 19 seconds left in the third. Quarterback Lawson Ford stayed calm under pressure, avoiding the sack and finding receiver Chase Jackson in single coverage in the end zone for the successful two-point try, leaving the score 30-8 in Cedar Ridge's advantage.
Cedar Ridge's Jordan Bumpous scored his fourth touchdown of the night, eclipsing the 200-yard mark in the process, on a 76-yard scoring run on the hosts' lone play of the drive with 5:44 remaining in the game. The PAT bounced off the upright, leaving the score at 36-8.
The Cougars began their drive at the Rector 35-yard-line, and it was their turn to score on one big play, as Hager slipped by two would-be tacklers near the line before winning the footrace on a 65-yard touchdown romp with 5:22 left to play. Buck carried in the conversion, setting the 36-16 final in place.
Cedar Ridge ran the ball as the clock ticked down, ultimately taking a knee to end the contest.
The tough loss is a marker on the Cougars' road to rebuilding a football program which has not played a varsity schedule since 2009.
"You can tell they (Cedar Ridge) have been playing football these past few years," RHS head coach David Hendrix said of the Timberwolves. "They've benefitted from playing those games where we haven't. That's what we've got to do; go out there every week, play hard and continue to improve. We've got a good group of kids, but we need experience. We've just got to keep plugging away, and we've got to do a better job of holding onto the football."
Rector fell to 0-2 overall and are 0-0 in 2A-3 conference play.
Buck led the Rector backfield with 103 yards on 15 carries. Hager notched 79 yards on four carries with a 65 yard touchdown. Austin Scott, who left the game in the third frame with an injury, picked up 48 yards on 11 carries. Ford scrambled for 30 yards on five keepers. Stokes gained 24 yards on eight carries. Tracy came through with a one yard touchdown run.
Ford completed three of six passes for 16 yards, gaining nine on two passes to Buck and seven on a completion to Hager.
Ford intercepted a pass for the Cougars. Alex Lamar recovered a Cedar Ridge fumble with Bam Westbrook causing the loose ball.
The Cougars are taking advantage of an open week to continue practicing. Rector is set to return to action at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26 at Walnut Ridge in what will be the Cougars' conference opener.