Cougars Drop Home Opener to Timberwolves
Rector's Cougars ran into a tough opponent in the Cedar Ridge Timberwolves in Friday night's home opener, losing 41-12 at Paul Temerian Field.
Several fumbles and penalties held the Cougars down throughout the game, making it a difficult struggle against the Timberwolves.
Despite a strong running performance from Garrett Buck, along with the impressive tackling force of Bam Westbrook and Chase Jackson, the Cougars were no match for Cedar Ridge's size and experience.
"Cedar Ridge is a very good team and we didn't play very well," Cougar coach David Hendrix said.
Cedar Ridge quickly began the game with a touchdown inside the first four minutes, and a second with 1:15 left on the first period clock, bringing the score to 14-0.
Buck punched it in from one-yard out for the first Cougar touchdown with two seconds left in the first quarter. The conversion failed, bringing the score to 14-6.
Cedar Ridge progressed quickly in the second quarter, scoring a touchdown in the first minute, with Keagan Harrison barreling through the Cougar ranks to move the score to 20-6.
The Cougars took the return, but with incomplete passes by Hunter McNeely and short runs, they were forced to punt on the fourth down. Harrison then scored again, putting the visitors up 27-6. That was the score at halftime.
Cedar Ridge notched two more touchdowns, one in the third and one early on in the fourth, bringing the score to 41-6.
With 12 minutes left in the game, Westbrook caught the kickoff at the 20, covering 55 yards before being taken down by four Wolves. Buck finished out the drive with a touchdown, making the final score 41-12.
Jackson and Westbrook were outstanding from their defensive positions, both with nine tackles. Tommy Stokes had seven tackles.
Buck led the way offensively with 117 yards on 14 carries. Westbrook rushed 86 yards on seven tries, and Hager added 16 yards on three rushes.
Four penalties were for unsportsmanlike conduct, leading the coach to say "we have got to be more mentally prepared...this is my fault and I take this very seriously. I would like to apologize to our fans, the parents and the community as a whole for our conduct." He added bad sportsmanship is not taught at RHS and will be corrected.
Hendrix said he believed his team did well in the beginning, but turnovers seemed to let the steam out of the effort. "We can't do that...we were right on task until then."
The Cougars will play at 7 p.m. Friday on the home field against the longtime rival Piggott Mohawks.
"Piggott is a good team," Hendrix said. "I have a lot of respect for their coach Mr. Harrell." Hendrix coached at Piggott for eight years with Harrell as his assistant and is familiar with the seniors in the group as they were conference runnersup in the ninth grade. "But I guarantee our kids are going to come out and play strong," the coach said.