Junior Cougars Roll Over Thunderbirds

Thursday, October 6, 2016
Cougar Max Ford applies a straight-arm to a T-Bird defender in the junior squad win at Cherry Valley.(TD photo/Jeremy Hall)

The Rector Junior High School football team remained unbeaten on the season last Thursday with another dominant performance, this time a 30-0 blanking of Cross County at Cherry Valley.

The shutout was the second of the season for the Junior Cougars while the win was the sixth straight dating back to last season's finale against Marked Tree. Technically, last week's shutout was the third as a Sept. 8 game against Blytheville Kipp was a forfeit victory.

"Intensity and being physical," Rector coach Dave Hendrix defined his team as being this season. "We're intense and we like to hit."

Rector has allowed just 12 points in its four on-field games this season, and its defense has allowed just one touchdown - against Salem. In a 14-6 win against Earle, the Junior Cougars allowed a kickoff return for Earle's six points.

Against Cross County, the Rector defense yielded just 36 yards of total offense and blew the game open in the second quarter. After Max Ford scored on a five-yard run and Shannon Patterson ran in the two-point conversion midway through the first quarter, the Junior Cougars scored twice within five minutes of one another in the second quarter.

Ford scored his second touchdown of the game on a 28-yard run, with Patterson again adding the two-point conversion run, to give the Junior Cougars a 16-0 lead with 7:47 left before halftime. Then Joseph Baker broke free and sprinted 24 yards for a touchdown. After a missed PAT, Rector led 22-0 with 3:12 remaining in the half.

Following a scoreless third quarter, Rector capped the game with an 18-yard touchdown run by Baker, who also ran in the two-point conversion to give the Junior Cougars the final margin of victory with 7:56 left to play.

Ford finished with 132 yards on 14 rushing attempts, while Patterson gained 86 yards on just nine carries. Baker carried the ball seven times for 74 yards.

Quarterback Parker Bucy completed both of his passing attempts for 49 yards in an air game rarely used by Rector due to its distinct advantage on the ground.

"We can throw the football and we've got guys that can catch it," said Hendrix. "And Parker Bucy is a great quarterback. We can throw the football; we just haven't had to yet."

Hendrix also credited his team's play at the line of scrimmage for this season's success.

"They don't get a lot of press because of their positions," he said, "but they are playing great."

Defensively, Trace Sanders led the Junior Cougars with 11 tackles, while Ford finished with seven and Gage Parrish and Patterson added six tackles apiece.

The Junior Cougars opened the season with a 22-0 win against Piggott and the forfeit win against Kipp before back-to-back 14-6 wins against Salem and Earle prior to last Thursday's shutout victory.

Rector will try to extend the winning streak when it hosts East Poinsett County on Thursday. The Junior Cougars play next week at Marked Tree before closing the season at Midland on Oct. 20.

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