Cougar aerial assault tops Southmont in 48-42 shootout
NEW MARKET – Kalib Lawrence got the North Putnam Cougars off to a great start on the opening kickoff of the game Friday night and that was just the beginning of an offensive shootout as the Cougars scored a 48-42 win at Southmont.
The junior returner raced 85 yards on the opening kickoff and it was off to the races for the Cougars who opened the season 2-0 for the third time in the past four years.
Little did anyone know that was just the beginning for these two long-time rivals.
The two teams combined for more than 900 yards in total offense. The outcome was not decided until the final play of the game when the Mounties, who had recovered an onside kick after scoring a touchdown with 11.1 seconds to play, completed a pass but the Mountie receiver was tackled in-bounds and the clock ran out at the Cougars’ 38-yard line.
“It was like a heavyweight fight,” Cougar head coach Sam Carnes said. “We threw a punch. They threw a punch and we traded that back and forth and we were lucky enough to throw the last one.”
For the Cougars’ offense, it was a near perfect game. The team scored on its first seven possession of the game and was heading for a eighth straight score but a fumble at the Southmont 17-yard line stopped that streak.
“I can’t say enough about the way our offense performed tonight,” Carnes said. “Southmont took away what we wanted to do in our running game so we threw the ball pretty well tonight. Last week it was our running game. Tonight it was our passing game.”
Senior quarterback Evan Davies was near perfect on the night. He completed 14 of 18 passes for 269 yards and scoring strikes of 61, 57 and 14 yards. He also managed to score three times on the ground, where he was the team’s leading rusher with 84 yards on 11 carries.
As the teams traded scores, the game turned on the Cougars’ third possession of the evening. In that drive the Cougars went for it on a fourth-and-1 on their own 32. That drive eventually had another big fourth-down play and Davies hit Lucius Alexander on a fourth-and-23 play from the Southmont 30 on a 24-yard pass to give the Cougars a first-and-goal. On the next play Davies carried it in to give the Cougars a 21-14 lead.
On the ensuing Southmont possession, the Cougars’ defense came up with a stop on fourth-and-2 on their own 28. The stop came just inches short of the first down and was the first defensive stop on the game’s sixth possession. Eight plays later, the Cougars were in the end zone again, giving them a 28-14 lead at the half. From that point on, Southmont found itself chasing the Cougars.
“Southmont runs an excellent option offense, and stopping that is not a real strength of our defense,” Carnes said. “We will have to work on that because we will see some more option teams down the road. The thing I love about this team is how they fight. They fight hard and they won’t give up and tonight is perfect example of that. They could have given in but they didn’t. That makes two weeks in a row that they were in a dogfight and come out on top.”
North Putnam will not have much time to enjoy the victory as the Cougars will now prepare for county rival South Putnam.
“The great thing about rivalry week is you know you are going to get their best shot and you have to be ready,” Carnes said.
NP – Lawrence 85 kickoff return (Sabens kick), 7-0 11:45
S – Chadwick 1 run (Stanley kick), 7-7 8:06
NP – Barger 61 pass from Davies (Sabens kick), 14-7, 6:33
S – Giles 13 run (Stanley kick), 14-14, 2:25
NP – Davies 6 run (Sabens kick), 21-14 6;59
NP – Davies 1 run (Sabens kick), 28-14 :23.8
S – Wininger 58 pass from Chadwick (Stanley kick), 28-21 11:08
NP – Davies 53 run (Sabens kick), 25-21 &;31
S – Chadwick 5 run (kick failed), 35-27 4;13
NP – Clifford 57 pass from Davies (kick failed), 41-27 1:59
S – Chadwick 5 run (Chadwick run), 41-35 :29
NP – Alexander 14 pass from Davies (Sabens kick), 48-35 5:54
S – Smith 39 pass from Chadwick (Stanley kick), 48-42 :11
Rushing – North Putnam: Davies 11-84, Baker 8-37, Murry 14-64, Warren 1-4, Alexander 1-(-5). Southmont: Chadwick 12=24, Smith 5-38, Burks 2-12, Winiger 4-44, Giles 13-131, Bushon 1-3
Passing – North Putnam: Davies 14-18-1 269. Southmont: Chadwick 13-21-0 188
Receiving – North Putnam: Alexander 5-60, Barger 2-77, Clifford 4-100, Proctor 1-7, Thorson 1-12, Murry 1-21; Southmont: Winiger 5-88, Bushong 4-22, Smith 2-56, France 1-15, Halton 1-8