Junior Cougars Edge Junior Mohawks
A long-time local football rivalry continued last Thursday, as the Rector Junior Cougars hosted the Piggott Junior Mohawks in a non-conference game at Temerian Field. The contest was played before a large crowd, and enjoyed near-perfect early fall weather, and when the dust had cleared the battle-hardened young Cougars had notched a 22-0 win.
The Cougars set the tone early, choosing to kick-off after winning the coin toss. On the opening kick Mohawk Sky Wright couldn't find the handle, and was dropped by Parker Bucy deep in Piggott territory. The Rector defense then answered the call, and stuffed the Mohawk offense on the first series--a trend which continued throughout the evening.
Three plays later, Piggott turned the ball over deep in their own territory, but the Cougars gave it back a short time later. This prompted a Mohawk punt, as the Rector defense held firm, forcing Wright to kick it away.
The Cougars took over near mid-field, and began to march toward the Piggot endzone as the first quarter ended. They scored on a four yard run by Shannon Patterson with 4:33 to go in the first half, as he took it over right tackle. Patterson also added the two-point conversion, and the hosts led 8-0.
The Piggott offense continued to struggle as the half wound-down, and the Cougars scored again late in the quarter. The touchdown came on a 37 yard pass from Bucy to Patterson, but this time the extra point try was no good. As a result the Cougars took a 14-0 lead into the halftime break.
The third quarter was much of the same, as the experience of the young Cougars was evident. They scored their final touchdown with 2:02 to play in the third quarter as Ford took it in from a yard out. Joseph Baker got the nod on the two-point conversion, and scored to set the final at 22-0.
The fourth quarter was a back-and-forth affair, with neither team able to move the football. Late in the contest the Cougars took a delay of game penalty, then went on to run the clock out and notch the win.
"It's always tough to play those guys, we've got so many friends over there," Cougar Head Coach David Hendrix said afterward. "But, those guys played hard. They're a big team and we couldn't move it inside on them so we had to do other things. Usually, we can push people around, but we couldn't do that to them."
Hendrix noted the Mohawk defense forced him to make some changes, "we had to run it where we didn't want to, but that's what we need to do sometimes."
Hendrix added this junior high squad may be young, but has a lot of game experience. "You know a lot of these guys have taken their bumps, they really earned this. But, those kids from Piggott sure played us tough." he surmised.
Ford finished with 85 yards on 12 carries, while Bucy was 3 for 3 passing for 54 yards and a 37 yard touchdown. The Mohawks ended up with one yard rushing, with only three players in positive figures. Passing, quarterback Michael Parker was 0 for 2.
"You gotta give Rector credit, they've got a very good and experienced junior high group," Mohawk Junior Coach Walter Rau noted of the loss. "They ran the ball well and they threw the ball well and both sides of their line worked hard."
Rau noted the opening kick-off, which pinned the Tribe deep in their territory, was key. "They pinned us down early, and we didn't get very good effort from our line all night and that hurt. But, I did think we played pretty good defensively for the first game."
Coach Rau noted the staff did identify some areas for improvement, which will be addressed this week. "We're not making excuses--yes, we're a young and inexperienced team. But we saw some things we can work on in practice this week and get ready to beat Corning."
The Junior Cougars have a bye week this Thursday, and will host the Salem Greyhounds on Thursday, Sept. 15, at Temerian Field. Meanwhile, the Junior Mohawks also have a bye week, and are slated to visit the Corning Bobcats Thursday, Sept. 15, with the seventh grade game set for 5 p.m. and the junior high game to follow at 7.