Cougars Drop Home Contest to Indians
Rector's Cougars played a strong first half, but faltered some down the stretch in a 32-0 conference football loss Friday to the Marked Tree Indians.
The Cougars trailed only 16-0 at intermission and had a great opportunity to get back in the game early in the third quarter.
Marked Tree had a high snap on a punt attempt and the Cougars recovered at the Indian four-yard line. An offside penalty against Marked Tree moved the ball to the two-yard line.
After Chance Scott ran for one yard, the Cougars had an incomplete pass and a motion penalty. The threat ended on a fumbled snap on third down that was recovered by the Indians.
"We played a whole lot better this week, we hung in there in the first half," Cougar Coach David Hendrix said of the contest. "We came out in the third quarter and moved the football down to their five yard line, still down just 16-0, and that's where we sort of self-destructed."
MT quarterback Jack Brown quickly got the Indians out of the hole with a 41-yard run to midfield. The visitors then scored 10 plays later on a six-yard run by Brown. Braidin Hall's run for the PAT made it 24-0 with 11:41 left in the game.
Rector's next possession ended on a 10-yard loss on a quarterback sack, followed by a personal foul penalty that set up the Indians on the Cougar 17.
Marked Tree iced the game with a one-yard touchdown run by Paul Coleman with 8:18 showing. Justin Ellis tacked on the PAT on a run to make it 32-0.
Neither team mounted a serious threat the rest of the way.
The game started badly for the Cougars. Marked Tree had a successful onside kick, recovered at the Cougar 49. It took only three plays to score, with the TD coming on a 13-yard run around right end by Hall. Ellis ran for the conversion, making it 8-0 with 10:30 left in the first quarter.
Rector showed some offensive strength on the next series after recovering another onside kick at their own 48. The Cougars picked up a first down on a run by Scott and then another by Andrew Carter that carried to the MT 34.
Scott rolled for another 11 yards on the next play and the Cougars eventually reached the Indian 17 before giving it up on downs.
Marked Tree's second touchdown came following a Rector fumble. The Indians connected on a four-yard pass and then had a motion penalty before Julian Booker broke loose for a 45-yard touchdown run. A successful conversion run made it 16-0 with 6:45 left in the first half.
Marked Tree threatened again late in the first half, reaching a first down at the Cougar 18. But Carter stopped the drive with a leaping interception in the end zone.
The visitors dominated the game statistically, rolling up 358 yards rushing and four passing. Rector had only 71 yards on the ground and six in the air. Marked Tree also had a 15-4 edge in first downs.
Scott had 35 yards on nine carries for Rector and Tommy Stokes added 31 yards on nine carries.
Brown paced MT with 109 yards on 11 rushes and Booker went 8-99.
The Indians lost two fumbles and had an interception, while the Cougars lost three fumbles. Rector was penalized six times for 41 yards, while Marked Tree had 13 penalties for 97 yards.
"We get a little better every week and we need to continue to do that to grow for the future, there are brighter days ahead for us," Hendrix concluded.
Rector will be looking for its first win of the year in its home finale at 7 p.m. Thursday against Midland. The Mustangs also are winless on the year.
"If we play like we did the other night for most of the game, like we can, things should be okay," he said of the challenge at hand. "But, when we get into the redzone we need to stop getting these silly penalties and go ahead and score."