The Patrick County Cougars won a close, hard fought game in front of the homecoming night crowd on September 15, defeating the Chatham Cavaliers, 17-14.
Chatham came into the game having outscored their opponents 108-52, averaging 36 points a game. “We knew they were going to be dynamic on offense, but we also knew we had a great game plan,” Coach David Morrison said after the game. “We did a really great job. I give all the credit to our players and our defensive staff for that performance. That was fantastic. To come out here and hold that squad that’s so explosive and so talented to 14 points, it’s awesome.”
Offensively, the Cougars looked good from the start. Their rushing attack moved the ball downfield, but like their opponents, couldn’t find the end zone in the first quarter.
Chatham took a 7-0 lead in the second quarter following a long play on 1st & 40, moving deep into Cougar territory. The Cavaliers scored two plays later.
After being forced to punt, the Cougar defense held firm, getting the ball back to their offense, who responded. The Cougars marched down the field behind solid blocking from the offensive line, punching it in on a 4-yard quarterback run by Easton Harris. Then Reyli Martinez-Tejeda’s extra point tied the game, 7-7.
The offensive line was solid all night, creating openings for the Cougar backfield to run through.
Coach Morrison had praise for the defensive line as well, helping to hold the Chatham offense in check. “I can’t say enough about the way those guys stepped up tonight.”
The second half got off to a strong start with the Cougars defense forcing a quick punt. The offense once again looked strong, driving down the field. With 7:52 left in the third quarter, solid blocking broke Jay Howard free for a 37-yard run for a touchdown.
With less than a minute to go in the third, Chatham tied the game 14-14 on a 43-yard touchdown pass.
The Cougars showed their determination and toughness on the next drive. After receiving the Chatham kickoff, Patrick County moved the ball while eating up more than half of the fourth quarter. While the drive stalled in Cavalier territory, Reyli Martinez-Tejeda drilled a 38-yard field goal, giving his team the 17-14 lead with 5:54 left in the game.
With Chatham’s high powered offense hoping to drive the field for at least a tying field goal, the Patrick County defense was outstanding. With the game on the line, the Cougars held on fourth down, ending the Chatham drive.
One of the biggest plays of the game with little time on the clock. Going for it on fourth down, the Cougars drew a Chatham defensive lineman offside. The penalty gave the Cougars the first down, needing only to run out the clock for the hard fought victory.
Offensively, Aden Penn led the Cougars with 130 yards on the ground. Easton Harris had 78 yards and a touchdown. Jay Howard added 68 yards with a touchdown, and blocked a Chatham field goal attempt.
On the defensive side, Joshua Jimrusti had four tackles, three for a loss and two sacks. Seth Geiger led the team with six tackles, two for a loss, with Josiah Spangler chipping in five tackles, two for a loss. Trevor Joyce and Paul Pascale both had a quarterback sack.
Coach Morrison gave credit to his players and coaching staff for the win, adding how getting back some injured players has helped the team.
“We had a lot of early season injuries and they’ve kind of hampered us, slowed us down. We started getting some guys back last week, and we got a couple more guys back this week. That’s really helped us out on both sides, offensively and defensively,” he said.
The Cougars showed determination and grit throughout the entire game, responding to whatever Chatham threw at them.
“That’s something we talk about all the time,” Morrison said. “You can’t ever stop. We don’t have any quit in us. We’ve been in tight games this year, every game but one, and that’s something that’s been a blessing. It’s tough when you have to be in those tough games, and those close games because it wears on you mentally, but it toughens you. It makes you so much stronger, mentally and physically.
“I’m just so proud of these guys, the way they stepped up and stayed true to what we’re teaching these guys all week,” said Coach Morrison. “They’re just tough as nails. We love each and every one of them. These guys are fantastic ball players.”
The Cougars will travel to Carroll County for their next game on September 22, returning home on the 29th to face Floyd County.