The Cougars had much better weather this week as they traveled south to face the Carter Hornets. The skies were bright blue as they took the field. Carter won the toss and chose to receive the opening kick. The Cougar defense, much as it did in game one, got a quick stop.
The Cougar offense handed the ball to CJ Allen who blasted ahead for a nice gain. After a pair of completed passes, Hunter White’s next attempt to Cahron Williams went awry after Williams batted the ball into the air as he attempted to catch it. Carter intercepted the batted pass and ran it well into Cougar territory, setting their offense up at the 31 yard line. Within a few plays Carter was on the move, inside the Cougar 10 yard line. The defense stiffened and forced a 4th and goal from the 1 yard line. It looked as if the Cougars had blown up the Hornet 4th down play in the backfield but the Carter ball carrier managed to escape and just managed the tip of the ball across the goal line. The xp was successful and the Hornets led 7-0.
The Cougar offense took the field again after the Carter squib kickoff to the 20, and this time they came out ready to even the score. White hit Williams for a 23 yard gain on second and 12, then a few moments later White threw a 3rd down and 15 pass to MaKyle Shepherd for another 1st down. Williams and CJ Allen took the Cougars to the 22 yard line, and the Hornets got a late hit penalty to move it half the distance to the goal. Allen took the handoff from White and blasted into the end zone on the 11 yard carry. Thomas Johnson knocked in the xp and the teams were tied at 7.
The Cougar defense led by big plays by CJ Allen, Blake Taylor, Desmond Gilbert, Jadon White and Javan McCulley caused the Hornets to go backwards. The Hornets punted away to the Cougars on 4th and 14.
White had a series of completions to Williams, Shepherd and Devlin Dukes, sprinkled with some CJ Allen ground action. The efforts of Brennan Byrge, Calob Osborne, Chaz Duverney, Ben Conrad, and Carson Meade up front allowed White time to pass and Allen holes through which he could dash.
Allen getting to the linebackers and defensive backs was a bonus for the sophomore ball carrier, as he punished would be tacklers with his grinding gallops. The big play of the drive came as White rolled right and hit Allen for a 21 yard gain on 2nd down and long. Allen rumbled through several Hornets to take the ball inside the 20. Two quick White to Williams competitions later and the Cougars were back inside the 10. Once again the Cougars dialed Allen’s number in the and goal situation and the sophomore delivered touchdown number 2 on the night. Johnson once again nailed the xp and it was 14-7 CCHS.
The Johnson kickoff went deep and a Carter player had a mental mistake, stepping out with the ball at the 6 yard line. It seemed the Cougars had all the momentum late in the 2nd quarter after forcing the Hornets to punt from their own end zone. The punter got off a good punt that took a great roll leaving Campbell County with the ball at midfield, up 14-7 with around 4 minutes to go in the half. It looked even better after a pass interference call gave the Cougars 1st and 10 and the 38. Unfortunately things took and turn for the worse. A fierce Carter blitz got to white on the strip sack and the ball was lost.
The Hornets wasted little time, turning the second Cougar turnover into a second touchdown on a long pass and run on 3rd and very long following a CJ Allen sack. After the 62 yard touchdown it was 14-14 with around 2 minutes left in the half.
Bad fortune wasn’t done with the Cougar offense yet. CJ Allen fumbled the handoff from White and Carter recovered deep in Cougar territory. The defense once again were sent out with the task of stopping the Hornets after a turnover. The Hornets had 18 yards and 39 seconds to make something happen. This time the defense said “no” to the Carter offense and the half hit with the score tied at 14.
There were positives in the first half, the Cougars had made some very good plays in all phases of the game, but they had also allowed a long touchdown, turned the ball over 3 times and gotten a slew of costly penalties. The Cougars had dominated time of possession and seemingly controlled the game but were tied.
To begin the 2nd half CCHS would receive the ball. After the kick sailed out of bounds the Cougars started at the 35 yard line. From there White hit Williams over the middle for 15 yards on 2nd and 12. Once again the ball was spread around with Williams and Shepherd catching multiple passes and CJ Allen coming through with big runs. Williams then caught a side line route at the 12, broke a tackle and stepped out of bounds and the Hornets hit him. The penalty moved the ball to the 6, the Hornets were once again penalized and it was first and goal from the 3 yard line. Allen wouldn’t be denied as he crashed the left side and into the end zone for his 3rd touchdown of the evening. The Johnson xp made it 21-14.
The Cougars seemed to have the momentum once more after Jason Kennedy recovered a Carter fumble at the 50 on the ensuing possession.
The Cougars moved the ball into Hornet territory and then one of the oddest stretches in Cougar football history started. The Cougars had a holding penalty on 1st down, making it 1st and 18, a block in the back on the next play, making it 1st and 28, White was sacked, losing 12 yards on the 3rd 1st down play of the set of downs, making it 2nd and 40, a delay of game made it 2nd and 45, CJ Allen fumbled the next 2nd down play but recovered the ball, making it 3rd and 50. At this point, the Carter announcer, nearly out of breath from calling the many events of the sequence, simply started it was “3rd down and forever”. The ball was snapped to White facing the impossible, but Devlin Dukes broke past two Carter safeties and White arched a bomb in his direction, Dukes made the grab 45 yards from the prior line of scrimmage. The Cougars had gone from 3rd and 50 to 4th and 5, deep in Hornet territory. White threw to Allen on 4th but a jarring hit caused Allen to drop the pass that would have been a 1st down.
As the 4th quarter began, Carter was driving the ball again. The Cougars defense seemed to finally stiffen the Hornets were facing a 4th and 11 from the Cougar 19 yard line, but the shifty Carter QB, Chandler Wilson took off and ran for 13 yards before being forced out by Cobey Raines. This made it 1st and goal from the 6. Wilson then found a receiver in the back corner of the end zone and once again the game was tied at 21.
The Cougars started the next drive in a bad spot as the officials once again tossed a flag, this time on the kick return, meaning CCHS would take the ball at their own 15 yard line. Allen carried the ball out to the 29 for a 1st down, but another penalty, followed by a sack saw the Cougars facing 2nd and 24, Allen had a 2 yard safe play, then a White pass fell incomplete. It was time to punt again, and Allen got off again good one that took a Cougar bounce. Still Carter had the ball at midfield with momentum and 5:45 on the clock.
The Cougar defense said “no”. A Blake Taylor sack on 3rd and 12 forced the punt. The punt was a bad one and it suddenly flipped the field. The Cougar offense managed to move the ball from near midfield down to the Carter 37 yard line before once more having to punt. This time the Cougar punt drove the Hornets down to the 10 yard like.
The Cougar defenders once more rose to the occasion. Taylor and Allen snuffed a wide sprint for a loss. The Cougar front 7 smashed the Hornet run attempt on second down. On 3rd down senior Lawson Shown rushed from the right edge and sacked the Carter quarterback. The Cougars used their 3rd timeout of the possession to preserve time for the offense. They were able to give them 1:13 after the Carter punter hit it from his own end zone out to the 43.
The Cougars would need every second. White got a completion to Shepherd and a CJ Allen run gave the Cougars the first down and all important clock stoppage. After an incomplete pass and exchange of 5 yard penalties White stepped up again and hit Shepherd for a 15 yard gain to the Hornet 18 yard line. Time was scarce, White had to spike it on 1st down. Two more incomplete passes left it 4th and 10 from the 18 with 5 seconds left. The Cougar offense came onto the field. Carter had sent in its field goal defense. The Hornets called timeout. Coach Justin Price had a change of heart during the time out and sent out kicker Thomas Johnson to try the 35 yard field goal. Johnson proved up to the task, his kick sailed cleanly through the uprights as the clock hit zero.
There was quite a celebration on the field and in the stands as the Cougar Crazies went wild. The Cougars moved to 2-0 in 2019.
Hunter White finished up 22-37-238-0-1. CJ Allen had 26 carries for 133 yards and 3 rushing touchdowns, Allen also had 3 catches for 38 yards. Cahron Williams had 10 catches for 98 yards. Devlin Dukes 3 catches for 58 yards. MaKyle Shepherd 6 catches for 39 yards. Thomas Johnson was 3-3 on xp and made his only fg attempt in the Cougars 24-21 win.
Next looms 0-2 Oak Ridge next Friday at CCHS. This will likely be the 1st meeting in the history of the programs that sees an unbeaten Cougar team taking on a winless Wildcat team.