Cougar Junior Squad Wins Again

Thursday, October 20, 2016
Max Ford looks for running room for the Junior Cougars.(TD photo/Jeremy Hall)

The Junior Cougars finished off Marked Tree in the first half of a 30-0 win last Thursday, but, in reality, Rector scored all it would need in less than four minutes.

Clinching at least a share of the 2A-3 conference, the Junior Cougars (7-0, 6-0) got a 52-yard touchdown run from Shannon Patterson three minutes, 48 seconds into the game. Patterson also added the two-point conversion as Rector secured an 8-0 lead with 4:12 left in the opening period.

That was more than enough for a Rector defense that shut out an opponent for the third consecutive week and fourth time this season. The Junior Cougar defense has allowed just one touchdown this year - against Salem in Week 3. The only other touchdown scored against Rector was a kickoff return against Earle a week later.

"We're just taking care of business right now," said Rector coach Dave Hendrix. We're peaking at the right time."

While its defense maintained its season-long grip on opponents, Rector got another dominant performance from its offense as well. After Patterson's touchdown broke open the scoreless game early, Max Ford scored two consecutive touchdowns to blow the game wide open.

Ford scored on an 11-yard run with 2:11 left in the first quarter, and tacked on the two-point conversion, to double the Junior Cougars' lead to 16-0. Less than four minutes later, Ford broke through for a 5-yard scoring burst that gave Rector a commanding 22-0 lead with 6:13 remaining in the first half.

Joseph Baker ended the onslaught midway through the second quarter, finding open space for a 58-yard scoring run. Parker Bucy added the two-point conversion as the scoreboard displayed the final score with still 3:46 left in the first half.

With the mercy-rule clock running continuously, Bucy recovered a Marked Tree onside kick to start the second half. When Marked Tree got possession of the ball midway through the third quarter, the Rector defense held the Indians to a three-and-out to establish the tone for a drama-free remainder of the game.

Rector piled up 322 yards of offense despite the running clock in the second half. Patterson, Ford and Baker combined to average a whopping 11.6 yards per rushing attempt. Patterson carried the ball six times for 81 yards, while Ford rushed eight times for 76 yards and Baker toted the ball six times for 74 yards.

"Our line, they keep doing the job every week," said Hendrix. "They open big holes." Hendrix added that running backs, receivers and even the quarterback block for others on every play, which helps once a player breaks through the initial defense at the line of scrimmage.

Ford paced the Junior Cougars defensive effort by netting eight tackles and a 71-yard interception return. Gage Parrish and Trace Sanders each recorded seven tackles. Patterson, Bucy and Clayton Morgan each finished with six tackles, while John Ford Hendrix and Zane McNeely added four tackles apiece.

The Junior Cougars have grown stronger throughout a potentially record-setting season. Rector opened the season with a 22-0 win against Class 3A Piggott before picking up a forfeit victory against Blytheville Kipp. Following 14-6 wins against both Salem and Earle, the Junior Cougars have outscored Cross County, East Poinsett County and Marked Tree by a combined score of 84-0 - an average winning margin of 28 points in those three games.

The Rector defense has not allowed an offensive touchdown in 18 quarters and the Junior Cougars have outscored foes by a combined 134-12 this season.

Rector has the chance to cap its spectacular run this season when it plays at Midland on Thursday. A win would give Rector its first undefeated conference season and Rector football's first unbeaten season in either high school or junior high school history.

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