Cougars Shut-Out Indians, Set to Host Playoff Game
Rector (5-3, 3-2) earned a spot in the Class 2A state football playoffs with their 20-0 win over Marked Tree (3-5, 1-4) this past Friday at Don Lovell Memorial Field in Marked Tree. The Cougars last appearance in the playoffs was 2001.
The Cougars got the ball first as Chris Hufty fell on the onside kick at midfield to start the game. Evan Dooley ran for no gain before Max Ford had back to back runs of five yards to pick up a first down for Rector with 10:20 left. Parker Bucy found Ford open for an 18 yard pass moving the ball to the Marked Tree 22-yard line as Bucy picked up six yards on the next play. Dooley coughed the ball up on the next play as Jamaria Anderson recovered for the Indians at his own 14-yard line with 9:15 left. Quarterback Jack Brown scrambled for a 43 yard gain on first down to the Rector 43-yard line before a false start backed the Indians up five yards. Back to back runs by Brown gained three yards before Cougar Gage Parrish sacked Brown for an eight yard loss forcing Marked Tree to punt. Rector started their drive at their own 25-yard line as Kale Hardin picked up five yards on first down. Dooley was tackled for a yard loss before Bucy found Ford again for 16 yards to the 45-yard line. Hardin lost a yard, Bucy gained a yard as Bucy's pass to Ford picked up 15 yards for another Rector first down at the Marked Tree 40-yard line with 3:33 left. Marked Tree's Chaz Simmons tackled Dooley for a yard loss as Bucy ran for no gain. A pass interference call on Marked Tree gave the Cougars a first down on the Indians' 26-yard line with 1:37 left. Dooley and Ford ran for six and four yards respectively as Dooley picked up 10 yards to move the ball to the Marked Tree six-yard line where a face mask on the Indians moved the ball to the three-yard line. Hardin ran for no gain as the quarter came to an end with the score 0-0.
Dooley put the ball in the end zone from three yards out on the first play of the second quarter to make it 6-0 Rector. The two-point conversion try was no good. Justin Lowry recovered the ensuing onside kick for Marked Tree at his own 47-yard line. Anderson was stopped for a one yard loss before an interception by Rector's Dooley was negated by a pass interference call giving the Indians the ball on the Cougars' 39-yard line with 10:37 left. Brown picked up 13 yards on three straight carries to but the ball on Rector 23-yard line. Justin Ellis picked up four yards before a snap over Brown's head lost 11 yards to bring up fourth and long as Marked Tree called a time out with 7:46 left. Brown's pass on fourth down was incomplete turning the ball over to Rector on their own 33-yard line. The Cougars went three and out as Ford gained five yards before Chris Ivy and Anderson had back to back sacks for Marked Tree to force Rector to punt. Ivy returned the punt to the Indians' 46-yard line as Anderson picked up three yards on first down. Hardin broke through a tackle for loss of four yards as Brown gained no yards on third down as the Indians punted the ball back to Rector with 2:46 left. Ford gained no yards on first down as Kylen Johnson sacked Bucy for a four yard loss on second down. Ford picked up 19 yards on a pass from Bucy as Bucy's next pass fell incomplete. Rector ran the old hook and ladder play as Bucy hit Ford for seven yards as he pitched the ball to Dooley who picked up three yards for a Cougar first down at their own 47-yard line with just under a minute left. Bucy threw an incompletion, Dooley rushed for four yards as Bucy's pass again fell incomplete. Dooley was dropped for a four yard loss by Kylen Johnson on fourth down as Marked Tree took over on downs at the Rector 47-yard line with 25 seconds left. Anderson picked up six yards on first down as Brown ran deep in Marked Tree territory as the first half game to an end with Rector up 6-0.
Lowry fell on the Rector squib kick at his own 40-yard to start the third quarter. Brown picked up six yards on first down, Anderson followed with a three yard run as Brown gained three more yards to pick up a first down at the Cougars' 49-yard line. Brown had no gain on first down as Trace Sanders had a tackle for loss of one yard for Rector to bring up third and eleven. Dooley broke up the pass play on fourth down as Marked Tree punted with 8:28 left as the ball was downed at the Rector 13-yard line. An offsides on the Indians and a 12 yard run by Hardin moved the ball out to the 30-yard line. Hardin gained another yard before Dooley rambled for 26 yards to the Marked Tree 43-yard line. Ford ran for yards as Dooley gained nine yards for a first down only to see Bucy run for two yards before hitting Ford with a seven yard pass and Dooley running for 13 yards to pick up another first down at the Indians' 13-yard line. Bucy had runs of eight and zero yards before Dooley picked up two yards and another first down. Ford capped the 14 play drive with a three-yard touchdown with 3:13 left to make it 12-0 Rector. The two-point try was no good. Ellis returned the kickoff out to his own 31-yard line for Marked Tree's next possession. Eli McCrary's first down pass was incomplete as Rector's Connor Austin sacked McCrary on second down. A bad snap lost 11 yards for Marked Tree as the Indians were forced to punt with the ball being downed on the Marked Tree 39-yard line with 1:45 left. Ford had runs of three and eight yards, Bucy picked up two yards before Ford gained three yards as the third quarter came to an end with Rector leading 12-0.
Bucy's incomplete pass brought up fourth and three as Rector called a time out. Brown broke up Bucy's fourth down pass as the Cougars turned the ball over on downs at the Marked Tree 23-yard line with 11:49 left. Brown ran the ball four straight times picking up 31 yards to the Rector 46-yard line. Pass interference on the Cougars moved the ball to the Rector 31-yard line before Brown found AJ Johnson for a ten yard gain to the 21-yard line. Brown ran for seven yards and again for one yard before his third down pass was incomplete. Ivy was stopped a yard short on fourth and two as the Indians turned the ball over on downs as the Rector 12-yard line. The Cougars capitalized on the turnover as Dooley took the ball up the middle for an 88 yard touchdown run to make it 18-0 Rector with 7:26 left. Bucy found Clayton Morgan for the two-point conversion pass making the score 20-0 Cougars. Anderson returned the kick off out to midfield for Marked Tree as Brown ran for six yards on first down. Brown's pass was incomplete as Brown ran for 15 yards on third down to the Rector 29-yard line. Brown lost a yard before hitting Ivy with a 20 yard pass to the Rector 10-yard line. Brown fumbled on the next play as Parrish recovered for Rector as Cougar eight-yard line. Dooley had three straight carries for four, ten and nine yards to move the ball out to the 31-yard line as Marked Tree called a time out with 2:24 left. A personal foul on the Indians moved the ball to the 46-yard line before a false start moved it back to the 41-yard line. Dooley picked up six and eleven yards on back to back run before Rector ran the victory formation to run the clock out for the 20-0 win.
“What a phenomenal win for this program. It's been a struggle since the program started back up as a lot of people have made a lot of sacrifices,” Rector head coach David Hendrix said after the game. “Marked Tree played their tails off and got after us all night. We didn't pass block like we can but our ground game was good tonight. They were sending what seemed like everybody on every play and we broke a couple plays on them,” Hendrix added.
Dooley led Rector with 18 carries for 195 yards and two touchdowns as Ford had 11 carries for 40 yards and a touchdown to go along with six catches for 84 yards. Bucy completed six of ten passes for 84 yards on the night. Austin led the Cougars' defense with five tackles including a sack and also had a fumble recovery.
“The kids played hard and that is all you can ask of them,” Marked Tree head coach Waylon Dunn said. “We've got to do a better job of blocking on the offensive line,” Dunn added.
Brown had 24 carries for 139 yards to lead Marked Tree while also completing two of six passes for 31 yards. Kylen Johnson had 11 tackles including a sack to lead the defense as Anderson, Ellis and Lowry each had seven tackles. Anderson also had a sack and a fumble recovery as Ivy had a sack for the Indians.
Thursday night the Cougars will visit McCrory in the season finale' although they've already tied up third in conference. This also earns them a home playoff game, as they're slated to host the Fordyce Redbugs (5-4/3-2) at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9, at Paul Temerian Field. The last time the Cougars were in the playoffs was 2001, when they visited Barton and fell 45-14. The previous year they also made the playoffs, visiting Clarendon where they dropped a 46-6 decision.