The Campbell County Cougars hit the road last night for the third time in four games, this time they made the trip into Seymour, the school that sits at the junction of Knox, Blount and Sevier counties.
It was a hot and muggy evening and as the sun began to set in the West the game got underway. The Cougars received the kick but weren’t able to get anything going on the first series, going three and out. Seymour took the Thomas Johnson punt and began to work on offense, advancing into Cougar territory. However that drive was blown up when Gavin Newman laid out for a Seymour pass that was heading into the right flat, he snagged the interception and it was Cougar football.
This time the offense began a methodical drive mixed with runs and passes. A failed reverse left the Cougars in a bad spot but Hunter White was able to find MaKyle Shepherd on a 3rd and long for a drive extending 1st down. CCHS got grinding runs from CJ Allen and more completions from Hunter White to the Cougar receiving crew.
Cahron Williams had a big catch and run, Allen ground down several Eagle defenders behind great blocking by the CCHS big men in the trenches and the Cougars had eaten up the field and the 1st quarter clock. Allen punched the ball into the endzone with 4.6 seconds remaining in the 1st quarter. Thomas Johnson’s extra point made it 7-0.
Seymour looked to start the 2nd quarter in great field position after a long kick return but a penalty negated the play and gave the Eagles one of their worst starting field positions on the night. The swarming Cougar defense led by sure tackling Will Lester, Chase Carroll and Wyatt Sharp, unmovable nose guard Josh Moore and great pass coverage by guys like Skylar Clawson and Peyton Fergueson, got the stop.
The offense came out and gave Seymour another dose of CJ Allen and the Cougar offensive line. A calm and collected Hunter White was able to find Mason Shanks, Shepherd and Williams and another rumble by Allen saw the Cougars inside the 10. White was chased down and sacked on 2nd down, leaving it 3rd and goal from the 15. The junior gunslinger proved adept and legwork. He scrambled right and outran several Eagle defenders. He stretched over the pylon as he rolled out of bounds but the officials ruled him down at the two yard line. On 4th and 2 Campbell County went five wide.
Mason Shanks, lined up out to the left of the formation, ran a drag route toward the middle of the field just inside the goal line and White stepped up and hit him in stride. The extra point was no good, but the Cougars led 13-0 and had eaten away several minutes on the drive.
Seymour took the ball and began methodically advancing it towards Cougar territory. However Cougar linebacker Desmond Gilbert was having none of it. The junior, who was quite a pass catcher during his Jacksboro days, snagged an errant Eagle pass near midfield. The Cougars took over the ball in great field position with just over three minutes to go in the half.
They didn’t waste the possession. More CJ on the ground, more Hunter White spreading the ball around to Shepherd, Allen and then to Cahron Williams who sprinted for the right endzone pylon and across the goalline. The Johnson extra point sailed through the uprights and it was 20-0 with 15 seconds to go in the half. There it would stay until the 3rd quarter got underway.
In the second half the Seymour offense finally broke out of their first half doldrums. A good kick return and a big pass play put the Eagles in business and they cashed in their opportunity with a touchdown. They failed to convert the two point try, leaving the score at 20-6.
The Cougars looked like they might be in trouble after a White to Mason Shanks pass was tipped high into the air, and the Eagle defense was in perfect position to take advantage. They got the interception and Seymour was in a great spot, deep in Cougar territory with momentum from having just scored.
The Cougar defense would have none of it. The Eagles bogged down inside the 10 yard line and opted to kick a field goal with around 5 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter, attempting to make it a 20-9 game. The field goal missed low and right. Leaving it 20-6 with the Cougars taking over at the 20.
Another great drive by the Cougar offense wound through the remainder of the third quarter. It was the same story as all game, CJ Allen crunching Eagle defenders. Hunter White being cool and collected in the backfield, finding receivers who were making catches and more importantly, yards after catches. The Cougars found themselves in a goal to go situation once more. This time CJ Allen lined up wide and faced toward the left side of the endzone. White lofted a pass into his breadbasket and Thomas Johnson was on the field kicking another extra point. It was 27-6 CCHS but it wouldn’t stay that way long.
The Eagles got another solid kick return and hit a long pass play that led to 6 more points just after the 4th quarter started. It was 27-12 with just over 11 minutes to go after the Seymour extra point kick bounced off the right upright.
That would be it for Seymour’s offense on the evening. The Cougar offense wasn’t done though. A great catch by MaKyle Shepherd on third down kept the Cougar offense on the field and CJ Allen worked his way into Eagle territory on the next play. Five minutes of game time and 49 yards later Allen followed his linemen into the endzone, Johnson’s point after was good and it was 34-12. Seymour had nothing left to give after the long, humid night.
Allen had 170 yards rushing and three touchdowns, two on the ground and one through the air. Hunter White was cool in the backfield mixing accurate passes with well timed runs that resulted in positive plays that led to three touchdowns to three different receivers. The Cougar defense refused to break in key moments and stepped up big with forced turnovers. They played mostly penalty free football on the evening as well. The biggest need for improvement before Gibbs next week will be kick coverage. Seymour often enjoyed good starting field position due to that.
The Cougars started their fourth different offensive line combination in as many games. But this one featured the return of Calob Osbourne from injury. Osborne had excellent play on the left side and the line in general look more confident on the evening. The same can be said of the defense. The Newman interception seemed to fire them up early and they kept that momentum all game long.
Next week is Homecoming on the Hill with the Cougars taking on rival Gibbs. CCHS had been on top during the rivalry but the last few years have seen the Eagles take the upper hand with their dreaded option attack. With luck the momentum from Friday night’s win will lead to a good week of preparation for the Cougars, who now stand at 2-2 as the midpoint of the season arrives