Late Scores Doom Cougars at EPC
EPC (3-1, 1-0) got two big plays in the fourth quarter to pull away from Rector (1-2, 0-1) 32-19 this past Friday in high school football action.
EPC took the opening kick-off and went on a 13-play touchdown drive converting two fourth downs along, the second being a 10 yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Gilmore to make it 6-0 EPC. Andrew Harston kicked the extra-point to make it 7-0 Warriors with seven minutes left. Rector answered the EPC score with a score of their own after an eight-play drive that covered 72 yards. A mixture of runs and passes moved the ball to the EPC 15-yard before the Warriors flagged for pass interference moving the ball to the eight-yard line. Evan Dooley ran for seven yards as Parker Bucy finished the drive with a one yard run to make it 7-6 EPC with 3:55 left. Ford's point-after was no good. EPC started their next drive at their own 44-yard line before two passes, one to Harston and one to Gavin Constant moved the ball to the Cougars' 41-yard line. Two incomplete passes brought up fourth and eight as Rains' pass to Deuce Moore came up a yard short turning the ball over on downs to Rector at their own 34-yard line with 2:35 left. A Bucy two-yard run and a five yard pass to Max Ford set up third and three for the Cougars before a middle screen pass fell incomplete. The Cougars punted only to get the ball back as Rayshon Gates fumbled the punt with Rector recovering at the EPC 39-yard line with 53 seconds left. The Warriors got the ball right back when Tysean Garrett stripped the ball from Dooley after a five yard run and returned it to the the EPC 39-yard line with 26 seconds left. After an incomplete pass, Gates gained two yards before the quarter ended.
An incomplete pass on the first play of the second quarter forced EPC to punt the ball with Rains' punt being downed at the Rector 33-yard line with 11:46 left. The Cougars' offense sputtered on their next possession as Hank Knapp had a big sack on third down to force a punt. Rector's punt was downed at the EPC 44-yard line as the Warriors took over. EPC put together a 20-play drive for a score after seeing a touchdown called back during the drive. Kale Hardin had two big tackles for losses for Rector during the drive. A pass interference call on the Cougars kept the drive alive and a 37 yard pass to Harston moved the ball to the Rector 17-yard line. An offside penalty on Rector and six straight carries by Gates put the ball in the end zone with 1:57 left in the half making it 13-6. Harston's extra-point was no good. Rector moved the ball out close to midfield on their next drive as a Garrett sack forced the Cougars to punt. Rector caught a break as a personal foul on EPC during the kick gave the Cougars a new set of downs at the EPC 47-yard line. Bucy and Ford hooked up moving the ball to the Warriors' 24-yard line. An incomplete pass and a Bucy to Dooley passed moved the ball to the EPC 16-yard line before two runs failed to pick-up the first down as the quarter ended with the Warriors up 13-6.
Rector got the ball first in the third quarter and used four plays to cover 60 yards for the touchdown. The big play of the drive was a 53 yard pass from Bucy to Ford putting the ball on the EPC four-yard line with 10:57 left. Ford covered the last four yards on a run to make the score 13-12. Ford's point-after made the score 13-13 with 10:23 left. Rector tried to surprise the Warriors with an onside-kick only to Karson Clay fall on the ball for the Warriors at their own 48-yard line. Gates ran for 16 on first down to get in Rector territory before a holding call on the next play moved the ball back to the Cougars' 47-yard line. A short run and a Rector sack forced the Warriors to punt with a little over eight minutes left in the quarter. A holding penalty derailed Rector's next drive as they punted the ball back to EPC with 6:18 left. EPC moved the ball out close to midfield before Gates had an 18 yard run followed by a 30 yard run to move the ball to the Cougars' six-yard line. Gates ran for a yard only to lose five yards on his next two carries to make it fourth and goal from the 10-yard line. Rains found Gilmore again for a 10 yard touchdown pass on fourth down making it 19-13 EPC. The two-point pass play was incomplete. Rector started their next possession on their own 29-yard line with 2:27 left. Bucy overthrew a wide open Dooley on first down, Knapp batted down another pass for EPC before Ford picked up the first down. Two Bucy runs around a pass to Ford moved the ball to the Warriors' 47-yard line as the third quarter ended with the score 19-13 EPC.
A pass interference call on EPC moved the ball the Warriors' 32-yard on the first play of the fourth quarter before seven straight running plays, the last being a one-yard run by Bucy tied the game at 19 with 8:44 left. Ford's extra-point was blocked to keep the game tied. TJ Bush returned the ensuing kick-off 81 yards for an EPC touchdown to make it 25-19 with 8:30 left in the game. The two-point conversion was no good. Rector went three and out on their next series punting the ball back to EPC with 7:28 left. Harston decided not to field the punt for the Warriors as the ball rolled to the Warriors' three-yard line. EPC couldn't get the offense going and had to punt the ball back to Rector with 5:20 left. The Cougars got the ball at the EPC 28-yard line and moved the ball to Warriors' 14-yard line before a Gilmore interception at the one-yard was returned 22 yards to give EPC a first and ten from their own 23-yard line. Gates wasted little time as he scampered 77 yards on the first play from scrimmage for a touchdown to make it 31-19 EPC. Harston added the extra-point making it 32-19 with 2:25 left. The Cougars started their next drive at their own 33-yard line and after two incompletions, Bucy found Ford two straight times moving the ball to the 48-yard line. Austin Baker had back to back sacks for EPC after an incomplete pass on first down moving the ball back to midfield. Harston intercepted Rector's pass on the next play to seal the 32-19 win for EPC.
“The kids played their tails off, bot teams,” Rector head coach Dave Hendrix said after the game. “Give EPC all the credit. We had a chance to maybe get a win there late. We brought everybody on that last touchdown trying to make something happen,” Hendrix added. “I see a lot of maturity and want to on this team and they refuse to quit. It's coming,” Hendrix said.
Bucy led Rector on offense completing 10 of 26 passes for 135 yards and rushing for two touchdowns. Ford had eight catches for 117 yards with a touchdown run as Dooley led in rushing with 25 yards on six carries. Trace Sanders had five tackles to lead the Cougars defense as Ford and Shannon Patterson each had four tackles.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday at Temerian Field as the Cougars host Salem. Last week the Greyhounds lost to Walnut Ridge 27-20 to move to 2-1. Earlier in the year they pounded Mt. View and Yellville-Summit in two other non-conference games.