Cougars Fall in Conference Game

Thursday, October 1, 2015
Danny Hager (3) takes handoff from QB Lawson Ford (10) and sweeps around end against Walnut Ridge.(TD photo/Ron Kemp)

A game that started on an extremely bright note Friday night for the Rector Cougars, rather quickly turned the other way -- the result was a

42-6 loss to visiting Walnut Ridge in the District 3-2A opener for both teams.

On the first play from scrimmage, Rector senior linebacker Garrett Buck jumped into the passing lane and intercepted a Will Weir pass. He sprinted 35 yards for a touchdown with only 10 seconds elapsed in the contest.

Buck's rushing try for the PAT failed and the Cougars were up 6-0.

That turned out to be the only points on the board for Rector as the visiting Bobcats marched up and down the field while limiting the Cougars' offensive threats all night.

Rector fell to 0-3 on the year in preparation for a homecoming contest at 7 p.m. Friday against the Salem Greyhounds.

The Cougars did continue their solid early play in the game as they recovered a Walnut Ridge fumble at the Rector 38 with 10:00 showing on the first quarter clock. Rector picked up a first down before having to punt.

Walnut Ridge moved 79 yards on seven plays to take the lead for good.

The touchdown came on a frustrating play for the Cougars as Weir picked up a snap that went over his head but still managed to sweep left end for 31 yards and the score. Michael Bounds scored the PAT for the Bobcats and the visitors were ahead 8-6 with 4:17 left in the first quarter.

The Cougars then began one of their better drives of the night, starting at their own 47 following the kickoff.

The key play on the drive was a sweep around left end by Bam Westbrook that carried to the Cat 25. But the drive stalled there and Walnut Ridge took over.

Moving 76 yards in seven plays, the Bobcats picked up their second touchdown. This one came on a 26-yard pass from Weir to Luke Harper on a fourth-down play. The PAT failed and it was 14-6 with 9:39 left in the second period.

Following another Rector punt, the Bobcats went 80 yards in 15 plays to score. Included in the drive was a strange play in which an inadvertent whistle by one of the referees negated a Walnut Ridge touchdown. But the Cats overcame that and notched their third TD on a four-yard pass from Weir to Bounds. The same combination was good on the PAT and Walnut Ridge went into the halftime break with a 22-6 lead.

Rector picked up a couple of first downs on its first possession of the first half, but a fumble on a punt try gave Walnut Ridge good field position. The Cats moved 45 yards on seven plays with the TD coming on a two-yard keeper by Weir. The PAT kick attempt was blocked and it was

28-8 with 5:45 left in the third quarter.

Rector generated virtually no offense the rest of the way, while the Bobcats tacked on two more scores. One came on a 60-yard punt return by Drake Smith and the other a 13-yard run by Wesley Friend.

"We had a lot of things go against us in the game," Rector coach David Hendrix said, "a lot of it our own self-doing. Things have been corrected and we are going to go on strong."

The Cougars will be matched this week against a Salem team which scored a big victory last Friday over East Poinsett County in their conference opener. "If we play like we are capable of, we should do well," Hendrix said.

Homecoming festivities begin at 6:30 with the game at 7.

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