Cougars Battle Warriors in Homecoming Tilt
No team in conference 2A-3 looks forward to playing the East Poinsett County Warriors, but the Cougars put forth a solid effort against the unbeaten conference leader Friday night at Temerian Field in Rector. Though the boys in blue fell to EPC 42-0, Rector wasn't the first to fall to the powerhouse team, nor did they have the worst showing against a Warrior team averaging over 50 points per contest.
EPC scored on their first two possessions of the night, the first coming on a 52-yard touchdown pass from standout quarterback Aaron Scales to receiver Quin Young. T.J. Young ran in the two-point try as the guests moved ahead 8-0 with 9:07 left in the opening stanza. Tailback Kyler Gordon ran in the second touchdown from 17-yards out as EPC went ahead 14-0 with 4:49 remaining in the opening period.
Rector looked to be moving the ball well on their third possession of the contest. While the Cougars had trouble gaining ground on the soggy field, quarterback Lawson Ford kept the drive going on a completion along the home sideline to a leaping Danny Hager for a nine-yard gain, Rector's first first down of the night. Unfortunately, the next attempt to go the air was picked off by Scales, but Rector responded by forcing EPC to three-and-out for the first time of the night on the Warriors' ensuing possession.
The Cougars' struggled to move the ball against the tough Warrior defense resulted in prime field position for the guests, who regularly took possession near midfield.
EPC scored again with Scales scrambling for a 15-yard touchdown with 10:02 left in the second frame. T.J. Young ran in the conversion, leaving Rector behind, 22-0.
EPC added another touchdown with 27 seconds left in the first half, as Gordon ran past the pylons from a yard away. The try for two was halted, as EPC went into intermission ahead 28-0.
EPC added a touchdown in each of the third and fourth frames to set the final in place.
The Cougars kept fighting throughout the contest, including getting to Scales twice on a series in the third quarter, both plays resulting in sacks for large losses. Tommy Stokes and Huston Highfill combine for a three-yard loss on a sack and Stokes tracked down a scrambling Scales way behind the line of scrimmage just two plays later, slinging the All-Conference returner in what resulted in a 21-yard loss.
"We played hard, but they're (EPC) just a really, really good football team," RHS coach David Hendrix said after the game. "We were just outmatched. Sometimes, you've just got to give credit to the other teams. I was proud of how hard we played. I thought we played as hard as we've played all year. We've got to keep working hard to improve."
While the loss was tough and moves the Cougars to 0-5 for the season, Hendrix wants to encourage fans to continue to show their support as the players and coaches work to revitalize the RHS football program.
"I want to put a word out to our fans telling them not to give up on us. These kids are busting their tails to get better every day and we, as coaches, can see it. It doesn't happen overnight, but it can happen through hard work, which the kids are doing, and support, which is where the community makes a difference."
The Cougars will play host to the Midland Mustangs (0-6) beginning at 7 p.m. Friday.