Junior Cougars Pound Midland
An unbridled rush of excitement encompassed Rector players and fans Thursday night at Paul Temerian Field, as the Junior Cougars celebrated their first win of the season in dominant fashion, overpowering the visiting Junior Mustangs of Midland, 36-8.
Rector's advantage started at the line of scrimmage, where the offensive and defensive lines had little trouble against the visitors.
"It's a thankless job to be a lineman," head coach David Hendrix said following the contest. "Our lines set the tone tonight and that made everything else possible. All of our guys played well tonight and had a hand in winning this game."
Behind solid blocking, the Rector running back corps was able to take the Midland defense to task. Colby Stokes led the rushing attack with four touchdowns on 118 yards. Evan Dooley added 35 yards and Caleb Stokes netted 21. Also gaining yards on the ground were Kale Hardin, 16; Hunter McNeely, 13 yards and a touchdown on a quarterback keeper; Max Ford, 13; Shannon Patterson 7 and Garrett Groves, 2.
Colby Stokes capped the Junior Cougars' first drive with a three-yard touchdown carry with 1:08 left in the first frame. The try for two through the air was halted, leaving Rector in front, 6-0.
Colby Stokes was at it again in the second stanza, scoring on the first play of the Junior Cougars' second possession while running by, and through, defenders for the 33-yard romp. Groves stepped back from the o-line to carry the ball on the conversion attempt, his second carry of the night, powering the pigskin past the pylon for two more points as Rector went ahead 14-0 with 7:19 remaining in the second quarter.
The Junior Cougars forced Midland to punt on their ensuing drive, with pressure keeping the kick short. Rector took over at the McCrory 26-yard-line and went about moving the ball quickly on the strength of nice carries by Colby Stokes, Dooley and Caleb Stokes. McNeely scrambled in for the touchdown on a two-yard keeper with 2:59 left to play in the first half. McNeely hit an open Conley Lockhart in the back of the endzone for two points on the conversion attempt, leaving Rector ahead, 22-0.
The boys in blue went ahead 30-0 at the half as Colby Stokes broke free on a 13-yard stomp as the halftime horn sounded. Great blocking and hard running were on display on the carry, as the Junior Cougars seemed to surge forward as a group on the play. Caleb Stokes ran in the successful conversion.
Rector, which had scored on every possession in the contest thus far, kept the streak going to start the third frame. Colby Stokes wrapped the 65-yard drive with an 11-yard touchdown carry with 3:08 remaining. Rector utilized mass substitutions for the remainder of the contest, holding back on their final possession of the game later in the time-shortened fourth frame.
The win served to charge the young players who are working toward rebuilding the Rector program under newly returned coach Hendrix.
"It was a long time coming," Hendrix said. "These kids have worked hard; they show up at 6:45 every morning for practice. It's hard on them and it's hard on their parents. They needed this win; they deserved it."
The Junior Cougars are set to host Cross County beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday in Rector. A seventh grade game will start the evening off at 5:30 p.m.