Cougars outlast HBHS to close year on high notePublished 11:31pm Friday, November 1, 2013
ROCKFORD – The Central High School of Coosa County Cougars held off the Horseshoe Bend Generals Friday night to close their season with a 20-7 win.
Richard Bell, head coach of the Central High School of Coosa County Cougars (3-7), said the running game helped his team close the season in a positive way.
“It’s always good to end on a high note and give the guys something to look forward to next year. The biggest thing I’m proud of is they finally played a complete game on special teams, offense and defense,” Bell said. “The running game was key. Rod (Whetstone) had 176 yards. That’s the most we’ve had from a running back this year. Our line and our three seniors came out and blocked well. That was the biggest difference.”
After Coosa defensive back Marquise Simmons halted the Generals’ (2-8) first drive of the game by intercepting Horseshoe Bend quarterback Major Abernathy, the Cougars went on long drive.
On a possession highlighted by a 26-yard run by Coosa quarterback Andrew Hammond, the Cougars drove 96 yards, with a 9-yard touchdown pass from Hammond to Simmons – which was tipped by the Generals and caught in the back off the end zone – capping off the drive.
The Cougars failed the 2-point conversion attempt, but took a 6-0 lead with 3:41 left in the first quarter.
But the Generals responded on ensuing possession, as Abernathy went 2 for 2 for 38 yards passing on the possession, and running back Isac Holt pounded it in from two yards out with 11:05 left in the second. The Mathan Colley extra point gave the Generals a 7-6 lead.
Coosa’s Javone Leonard picked off Horseshoe Bend’s Jordan Funderbunk on a trick play, and one play later Hammond hit Tre Royal wide open for a 71-yard touchdown with 11 seconds left in the first half.
Whetstone ran in the 2-point attempt to send the Cougars into the break leading 14-7.
The Cougars picked up where they left off with their second possession of the second half, finishing off a short 31-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run by Malik Kelly to make it 20-7 with 4:21 left in the third.
Horseshoe Bend found some momentum on the next possession with Hunter White ripping off a 20-yard run, and two plays later scoring from 52 yards out, but the score was called back for holding.
White came back the very next play and ran for 32 yards, with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Cougars pushing the Generals to the Coosa 14-yard line.
But the Generals turned it over when quarterback Clayton Lewis was picked off by Coosa’s JaTerrius Vincent to end the threat with 11:35 left in the fourth.
The Generals threatened one final time when Jackson Sexton broke off a 41-yard run to help Horseshoe Bend get down to the Coosa 13-yard line, but the Generals turned it over again when a Lewis fumble was recovered by Central’s Royal.
Generals head coach Jason Franklin was proud of his team’s loss in spite of the defeat.
“I just hate it for our kids. I thought they played well enough to win tonight. We just had a few things that didn’t go our way tonight and that’s the difference in the ball game,” Franklin said. “We turned the ball over a few too many times. But I’m proud of our kids. I thought they kept battling the whole night.”
Hammond was 8 for 17 for 178 yards passing with two touchdowns and one interception on the night.
Royal had five catches for 132 yards and a score, with 10 tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery on defense.
Nick Harrison had 13 tackles and a sack for Coosa, and Mike McCain added 12 tackles for the Cougars.
Sexton had 50 yards on six carries, White had 57 yards on five carries, Abernathy had 32 yards on seven carries, and Holt had 40 yards on 13 carries for the Generals.
Aaron Nickolson had an interception for Horseshoe Bend.