Rick Patrick: Greene Publishing, Inc.
Tensions were high early when the team captains from Madison County High School (MCHS) and Columbia County High School (CCHS) met at mid-field for the coin toss and the CCHS players refused to shake hands with the MCHS players. This brought an immediate reprimand from the officials. “You are supposed to be team captains and leaders. You are not showing very good leadership,” said the Referee. After the coin toss, the Columbia County players were still “jawing” at the MCHS captains when one of the MCHS players simply turned to his opponents and put his finger to his mouth as if to advise them to “ssshhh.” This turned out to be a bit of good advice as the Cowboys quieted down the Tigers by fighting their way back from a 14-point deficit to chalk up their fifth win of the season with a final score of 42-28.
The game started out as a contest for field position with the Tigers beginning their first drive from the 41-yard line. The Cowboy defense held the Tigers and forced a three-and-out. The Cowboys started their first drive at their own 10-yard line, but were not able to move the ball. Both teams continued to trade punts, and the Cowboys had the ball at their own 10-yard line. A Cowboy turnover gave the Tigers the ball deep in Cowboy territory. The Tigers took advantage of the Cowboy miscue and scored a touchdown. The score was 7-0 in favor of the Tigers with 5:01 left in the first period. On the Cowboys' next possession they drove the ball down the field and had a first-and-goal at the Tigers' four-yard line. The Cowboys were unable to punch the ball into the end zone and turned the ball over on downs. The period ended with the Tigers ahead with a 7-0 score. The Tigers managed to move the ball down the field until it appeared that the Cowboys had them stopped on a fourth and seven situation. The Tigers went for the first down and managed to get the ball into the end zone for their second touchdown of the evening. The score was 14-0 in favor of the Tigers with 10:18 remaining in the first half. At that point, things looked grim for the home team. Expressions of aggravation could be seen on the faces of the players. One player was heard saying, “C'mon guys, we've been here before!” At this time, when everything looked the darkest, Derrick Staten went to work. Staten took the kick-off and sprinted “coast-to-coast” and returned the ball for a Cowboy touchdown. The PAT was no good, but the Cowboys were on the board. With 10:06 left before intermission, the score was 14-6. With renewed spirits, the Cowboys defense stiffened and forced a turn-over on downs at their own 16-yard line. The Cowboys moved the ball and then Tre Adams connected with Vinsonta Allen for a 65-yard TD pass. The score was 14-12 with 5:13 left in the first half. On the Cowboys' next possession, they coughed up another fumble at the Tigers' 43-yard line. The Tigers quickly took advantage and scored another touchdown. Then, Derrick Staten took another trip coast-to-coast for his second kick-off return for a touchdown of the evening. After a failed two-point conversion, the score was 21-18 in favor of the Tigers with two minutes left until halftime. The Cowboys' defense held the Tigers to a three-and-out on their next possession. A bad snap that sailed over the CCHS punters' head and out of the end-zone gave the Cowboys a two-point safety. The score at halftime was 21-20, still in favor of the Tigers.
The second half began with Travis Jay at quarterback for the Cowboys in substitution for Tre Adams, who suffered an arm injury late in the first half. Jay quickly connected with DaQuarius Thompkins for a 47-yard pass, putting the Cowboys in scoring position. Then Cowboy running back Teryon Henderson surged across the goal line for a Cowboy TD. The two-point conversion was no good, and the score was now 26-21 in the Cowboys favor with 11:29 left in the third period. The Cowboys blocked a punt on the next Tiger possession, giving the ball to the Cowboys on the Tiger 20-yard line. Jay found receiver Ken Hawkins in the end zone for a Cowboy TD. The following two-point conversion was good, and the Cowboys were ahead 34-21 with 9:43 remaining in the third quarter. On the Tigers' next drive, CCHS received a gift from the officials when a very obvious holding call was missed, and a Cowboy defender juggled the ball trying for an interception. However, the ball fell into the hands of a Tiger receiver, and the Tigers had the ball deep in Cowboy territory. The score was 34-28 with 6:58 still to go in the third period. On the next Cowboy drive, all those grueling summer work-outs paid off when the Cowboys began to impose their will on the weakening Tigers. The Cowboys' obviously superior physical and mental conditioning was on display as the Cowboys drove the ball 67 yards down the field. Henderson capped off the drive with his second rushing touchdown of the evening. The third quarter ended with the Cowboys ahead 42-28. The fourth quarter became a game of attrition as one-by-one, the once brash and braggadocios Tigers threw in the towel. The game ended with the Cowboys ahead, 42-28.
Henderson led the Cowboys' rushing attack with 84 yards on the ground on 22 attempts and two touchdowns. Adams went 4-6 passing with 119 yards and one TD. Jay was nearly perfect in his back-up quarterback role, completing both of his pass attempts for 67 yards and a TD. Staten had 215 total return yards with two kick-off TD returns. Jonathon “Bulldog” Alexander led the team in tackles with 14 total tackles and three tackles for loss. Jay was named the Offensive Player of the Game. Alexander was named the Defensive Player of the Game. Staten was the Special Teams Player of the Game. The entire starting offensive and defensive lines were named the Offensive and Defensive “Hawgs” of the game.
Next up for the Cowboys, now 5-0, will be a trip to Dunellon, Fl. to face the Tigers of Dunellon High School. The Tigers are coming off a 41-3 victory over Trinity Catholic from Ocala, Fl. The game is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 29 at Dunellon High School, located at 10055 SW 180th Ave. Rd., in Dunnellon. Kick-off is set for 7:30 p.m.