What started so brilliantly for the Cougar football team last Friday at Greenwood, ended in blowout fashion with the clock running continuously as the Gators handed the Cougars a 54-14 loss.
Grayson County (2-6) started the game by driving 84 yards in 10 plays to take a 7-0 lead with 6:50 left in the first period. The Gators responded by scoring 35 unanswered points to put the Cougars completely out of the running.
The Gators (7-1) put up over 400 yards of offense against Grayson County. They run a read-option system and sophomore quarterback Jackson Adams runs it with precision. The Gators ran the ball for 310 yards, with Jackson rushing 14 times for 146 yards and a touchdown. Senior running back Noah Pillow carried 10 times for 132 yards and two scores.
In their previous seven games, the Gators did not throw the ball much, but against the Cougars Adams threw for 109 yards and two touchdowns.
The Cougars had the ball first and the way they responded made Cougar fans think that this might turn out to be a game. Starting at their own 16-yard line, Grayson County got a27 yards on first down as Jordan Stallings swept the right side. Quarterback Tristan Willis rambled 23 yards on the next play and the Cougars were in business at the Gator 34.
On a fourth-and-two at the 26, Willis broke free for a first-and-goal at the eight-yard line. Three running plays had only moved the ball to the three when on fourth down, Willis hit Nathaniel Shartzer in the back of the end-zone for the touchdown. Hunter Payton added the extra point and with 6:50 left in the first period, Grayson County led 7-0.
Greenwood wasted little time in responding, moving 55 yards in six plays to tie the score. Pillow carried in from 14 yards out and Tanner Smith added the extra point to make it 7-7 at the 2:58 mark.
After their success on the opening drive, the Cougars came out throwing on first down on their next possession, but Willis was picked off by defensive back Roy Sheckles and the Gators had the ball at the Cougar 22. Three plays later Xezayier Snorton carried in from a yard out to make it 14-7.
As the second period began, the Gators were driving, with the ball near mid-field. Facing a fourth-and-four play at the Gator 47, Pillow burst free and carried 53 yards for another touchdown and the Gators led 21-7.
The Cougars were still in the game at this point and they began moving the ball again like they had on their opening drive. The Cougars ran off 13 plays, taking the ball from their own 17, down to the Gator 32. Stallings then carried down to the Gator eight, but fumbled the ball and the Gators grabbed it.
Greenwood then quickly moved 92 yards in five plays, with Jake Sanson scoring on a 58-yard pass from Adams to take a 28-7 lead with 1:21 left in the half and the rout was on.
The Gators had the ball to start the third quarter and they moved 68 yards in just four plays to make it 35-7. Blake Barker gathered in a 35-yard pass from Adams for the score at the 10:24 mark.
Grayson County answered with another long drive for a score. The Cougars moved 64 yards in 12 plays, taking nearly five minutes off the clock. Dustin Woosley ran the last 11-yards for the touchdown. Payton added the extra-point and the Cougars trailed 35-14 with 5:29 remaining in the period.
Any hopes the Cougars may have had after that nice drive were dispelled as the Gators moved 50 yards in four plays to score again. Adams broke free on a 41-yard scoring run to make it 42-14 at the 1:49 mark.
The Cougars fumbled the ball away on their first play following the touchdown, giving the Gators the ball at the Cougar 27. Grayson County’s defense held and forced a 37-yard field goal attempt. South had more than enough leg and put the ball through the uprights to increase the Gator lead to 45-14.
The Cougars began their next possession at their own 15. They lost six yards on first down before Willis was tackled in the end zone with 25 seconds left the in the period to make it 47-14.
Grayson County then punted from their own 20 and Preston Fletcher returned the ball 29 yards, to the Cougar 16. With backup players in the game, the Gators had to use seven plays before scoring for the final time. Sheckles carried in from the one to make it 54-14 and the clock began running continuously.
The Cougars will play their final home game of the season this Friday when they host the Barren County Trojans (2-6) in a game that will decide the third and fourth playoff spots. Senior Night will begin at 7 p.m.
Reach Don Brown at 259-9622, ext. 2016.