Cougars Fall at Walnut Ridge
The Cougars traveled to Walnut Ridge for conference 2A-3 action in which both teams were seeking their first win of the season. The advantage went to the hosting Bobcats, who picked up the victory in a 38-0 rout.
Rector saw an early high, a diving interception by Lawson Ford to stall the hosts' opening drive at the Walnut Ridge four-yard-line, turn into a low as the Cougars fumbled away possession just two plays later at the Bobcat 15-yard-line. Walnut Ridge rattled off two plays, the second resulting in a five-yard touchdown carry by Luke Harper with 6:31 left in the game. The successful conversion gave the Bobcats an 8-0 lead.
The hosts would take advantage of special teams play early, recovering the onside kick following the score. Starting at midfield, Walnut Ridge put together another scoring drive after the turnover, capping the drive off with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Will Weir to Cash Lee on fourth down and three. Weir connected with Michael Bounds on the conversion, as the Bobcats moved ahead 16-0 with 2:34 left in the opening stanza.
Walnut Ridge kept the onside kick the rule and not the exception throughout the contest, and the Cougars fumbled away back-to-back kickoffs, giving the hosts the ball once again. Walnut Ridge scored its third touchdown of the first quarter on a 21-yard completion from Weir to Harper with 52 seconds remaining in the frame. The try for two failed, leaving the hosts in front, 22-0.
The Cougars tried to battle back in the second quarter and looked to go to the air, but defensive pressure from Walnut Ridge resulted in an interception at the Bobcats' 37-yard-line. Weir finished the hosts' drive with a two-yard touchdown scramble with 9:34 left in the first half. The quarterback also ran in the conversion, pushing the Bobcats to a 30-0 advantage.
The Cougars fought to create a spark on offense, as running backs Tommy Stokes, Garrett Buck, Danny Hager and Easton Tracy made some headway on the ground. However, Walnut Ridge controlled the line and was able to overcome back-to-back encroachment penalties to stall out the rushing attack, forcing the turnover-on-downs.
Rector managed to apply some defensive pressure of its own late in the third, as Sam "Bam" Westbrook and Danny Hager reached the backfield to Weir on back-to-back plays.
Walnut Ridge added one more score on their first possession of the fourth quarter with a 19-yard carry by Harper with 7:02 left in the contest, and Weir's pass to Harper on the conversion set the 38-0 final in place.
The Cougars finished, unofficially, with 60 yards of offense on the night.
Rector is slated to visit Salem beginning at 7 p.m. Friday night. The Cougars are set to welcome 2A-3 power East Poinsett County at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 10 for RHS Homecoming.