Junior Cougars Come Up Short at EPC
Only down 16-8 at the half, Rector (0-4) could not find a way stop EPC's offense in the second half as the Junior Warriors outscored the Junior Cougars 24-0 to take a 40-8 win at Warrior Field this past Thursday in junior high football action.
Rector won the toss and chose to receive as Joseph Baker returned the EPC kick out to the Junior Cougars 40-yard line. Rector's ground game moved the ball well and a couple of penalties on the Junior Warriors had the Junior Cougars with a first down on the EPC 20-yard line with 5:10 left. Another penalty on EPC moved the ball to the nine-yard line as John Ford Hendrix finished off the drive a couple plays later with a four yard touchdown run. Jeron Bucy ran in the two-point conversion to make it 8-0 Rector with 3:37 left. Bradley Ainsworth recovered the onside kick for EPC at the Junior Warriors 49-yard line. After an incomplete pass, Austin Baker took a speed sweep left and galloped 51 yards for the EPC touchdown. Preston Rains added the two-point conversion to make it 8-8 with 3:11 left. Baker set Rector up for their next series as he returned the kick-off out to the Junior Cougars 36-yard line. Rector moved the ball to the EPC 49-yard line as the first quarter ended.
Facing fourth and sixth on the first play of the second quarter, Rector tried for the first down and were stopped turning the ball over on downs to EPC at the Junior Warriors' 47-yard line. EPC struck fast as Rains found Gavin Constant open deep on the first play for a 53 yard touchdown strike. Rains again added the two-point conversion run to make the score 16-8 Junior Warriors with 7:25 left. Hendrix returned the ensuing kick-off to his own 15-yard line for the Junior Cougars' next series. Rector moved the ball out to midfield where they went for it on fourth and nine only to come up short and turn the ball over on downs with 3:40 left. Two big runs by EPC's Andrew Lung moved the ball down to the Rector 11-yard line. The Junior Warriors faced fourth and one from the two-yard line as the Junior Cougars defense came up big tackling Rains for a four yard loss to take over possession on their own five-yard line with 2:02 left. Rector moved the ball out to their own 47-yard line as the first half ended with EPC up 16-8.
Rector's onside kick to start the third quarter hit of their own players giving EPC the ball at the Junior Cougars' 49-yard line. Baker had a big run to the Rector 34-yard line before Rains' touchdown pass to Baker was called back on a penalty. Rains found Deuce Moore behind the secondary for a 38 yard touchdown pass with 6:51 left. Baker ran in the two-point conversion to make it 24-8 EPC. Landon McClung returned the kick-off for Rector out to their own 37-yard line. The Junior Cougars gambled on fourth and four and came up short as they turned the ball over to EPC on the Rector 43-yard line with 4:13 left. EPC took advantage of the turnover as they put together a 57 yard drive with Lung scoring from seven yards out with 2:40 left. Rains ran in the two-point conversion making it 32-8 Junior Warriors. Tyler Tindle recovered the squib kick at the Rector 30-yard line. EPC's defense looked to have gotten on the board as Rains returned a fumble 32 yards only to see it negated by a penalty. EPC started their possession on Rector 25-yard line with 15 seconds left in the quarter. The quarter ended with the Junior Warriors looking to score again.
Candon Argo had back to back carries with the second getting him in the end zone from two yards out. Kade Jennings added the two-point conversion run making it 40-8 to start the mercy clock. McClung returned the kick-off out to his own 25-yard line for the Junior Cougars' next series. The game ended during the Rector drive.
“They are the best team in the conference and it was 16-8 at the half and could have been 8-8,” Rector junior high head coach Dave Hendrix said after the game. “We played our tails off tonight and kids never quit,” Hendrix added.
Baker led the Rector offense with 52 yards on 8 carries as McClung added 40 yards on 14 carries. Chris Hufty had 11 carries for 34 yards with Hendrix adding seven carries for 30 yards and a touchdown. Bucy had the two-point conversion run.
The Junior Cougars return home this Thursday evening, as they're slated to host the Marked Tree Junior Indians at Temerian Field. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. They'll close out the season next Thursday, Oct. 19, with a home contest with the Midland Mustangs.