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Santana Wood / The Outlook Central Coosa’s Xavier Moon tries to get down the field Thursday night against Winterboro.

The story of Central Coosa’s season opener against Winterboro on Thursday could be summed up in two words.

Man down.

The Cougars, who started the game with only 12 players dressed, played with only nine due to injuries on a few plays in the second half of a 42-0 loss to Winterboro at Keith Bullard Stadium.

Short-handed Central Coosa allowed 286 total yards against in the first half with 262 coming on the ground. Winterboro (1-0) scored on runs of 70, 64 and 24 and took a 21-0 lead into halftime.

“I’m not mad at the game,” Cougar coach Brett Thomas said. “If you take a few of their long runs away, I thought we held our own. Our wedge offense worked and we were able to move the ball. We just needed to block a lot better.”

Seketrius Milliner finished with 59 rushing yards on seven carries for Central Coosa but had to leave the game after a helmet-to-helmet hit in the third quarter. 

Donta Daniel had 47 total yards and a 44-yard interception return along with nine tackles on defense, playing through cramps and a busted nose. 

Winterboro forced four Central Coosa turnovers (two interceptions, two fumbles) while allowing just 81 total yards for the night. Isaiah Holland had 142 total yards and the 70-yard first-half touchdown run to give Winterboro a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.

Marquez Curry scored the game’s first touchdown on a 24-yard run which ended a three-play drive. Brody Hamm’s 64-yard run for a 21-0 lead was the big chunk of his 95 yards on four carries.

The Bulldogs, who finished with 488 total yards, will host B.B. Comer next Friday.

“I thought overall we played very well,” Bulldogs coach Allen Beckett said. “Isaiah Holland really did a great job. I was happy with our offensive line and we were able to play a lot of players. We need to throw the ball a little better, but it was a good start for us.”

Central Coosa has now lost 22 straight games dating back to the end of the 2016 season, with its last win being a 33-18 triumph against Southside-Selma on Oct. 21, 2016. The Cougars finished 5-5 that year.

Thomas said he expects his team to be at full strength for next week’s road trip to Holtville. 

Holtville’s Bulldogs finished 7-4 last season and reached the state playoffs for the first time since 2010. The Bulldogs began their turnaround by snapping a 29-game losing streak of their own in 2016.

“It’s going be a big challenge,” Thomas said. “I’m proud that we were able to stay with it (Thursday), though we were outmanned. Hopefully, we’ll get everyone back and put up a good fight next week.”

Kamarri Darrington is a regular sports contributor for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.