Cougars Close Season with Win at Midland
For the second year in a row, the Rector Cougars ended what had been a long and difficult season on a high note, as they notched a win over the Midland Mustangs last Thursday at Pleasant Plains. In a reflection of the ardous campaign they've endured this year, the victory didn't come easy as the boys in blue took the win in overtime.
Monday evening Cougar Head Coach David Hendrix reflected on the game, and the season.
“Midland really had a lot more talent this year than they have had. they had 15 seniors and I couldn't believe that. They had 15 seniors and they had a pretty good quarterback (senior Tristan May) and that kid can really play,” he explained. “I saw him running away from some guys that are pretty good, and I thought, holy cow. Sure enough he was good, and we had to work hard to contain him.”
The Mustangs drew first blood, scoring on their first possession, although the conversion attempt was no good. The 6-0 score would then stand until late in the second quarter, as the Cougars answered with a Kale Hardin touchdown to tie the game. But, as with their hosts the conversion was no good as the score stood tied at 6-6 until the fourth quarter.
With just over five minutes to play in the fourth quarter the Mustangs got their second touchdown, but once again failed to convert, moving to a 12-6 advantage. The Cougars would answer a short time later, as Max Ford found paydirt with just under two minutes to play in the ballgame.
“We went for the two point conversion and came up short at about the quarter yard line,” Hendrix adds.
Standing tied at 12-12, the two teams went to overtime with the Cougars choosing to give the hosts the football first.
“So, we went to overtime and flipped the coin and we let them go on offense first,” Hendrix explains. “We got a couple of really good plays on defense, the first by Conley Lockhart. Then Hunter McNeely and Frank Herrera snuffed-out a tight end dump on fourth down.”
Taking over on downs the Cougars made the most of their first opportunity.
“On first down Max Ford carried it nine yards down to the one on the next play, Parker Bucy snuck it in,” he added of the win.
For the Cougars, especially the members of the senior class, it provides a bright spot to the end of an otherwise difficult campaign.
“This bunch of seniors has been through it all, the guys this year were so young,” Hendrix said of his team. “But, we did get better at the end of the year as our sophomores were getting into playing at the senior high level and that's a big step for them. You know we just had to grow up, and now we'll be getting eight or nine starters back and they've been through it, they've taken their whippings.”
With the win the Cougars pull themselves up from the bottom of the conference, as they complete the season at 1-7 and 1-5 in 2A-3 play, above Midland and just a game behind Salem.
“These seniors, I can't say enough about them,” Hendrix said of his oldest Cougars. “They really never had the talent level to put them over the top and the kids under them were so young, but they never complained they just showed up every day. They took some bad losses, and they've took some beatings, but they continued to get better. And, that's all you can ask of a team that they continue to get better.”