Cougars take 24-10 win over Rockets
By By Marty Stamper/The Meridian Star
Sept. 22, 2001
PHILADELPHIA – The unbeaten Newton County Cougars picked up their most impressive win of the 2001 season to date with a 24-10 victory at Neshoba Central Friday night.
The Cougars, 4-0, scored two touchdowns in the game's first eight minutes. The first score came on a 13-yard bootleg by senior quarterback Brian McDonald with 7:18 remaining in the opening period. McDonald faked a handoff to Darryl Mapp, who carried out the fake to perfection while McDonald waltzed into the end zone. The Cougars only had to go 34 yards for the score following a 24-yard punt by Scott Shurden. David McConnell missed the extra point.
Newton County used a 60-yard run by Mapp to the 5 to double its lead to 12-0. Mapp capped the quick four-play, 71-yard drive with a 1-yard run with four minutes left in the first period. McConnell was again wide right with the PAT.
Neshoba found a weakness in the Cougar defense as quarterback Gavin Grady ran for 45 and 24 yards on consecutive carries to put the ball at the Newton County 24. Grady capped the five-play, 93-yard drive with a 12-yard scoring run. Shurden's extra point brought the Rockets to within 12-7 with 1:51 still left in the opening period.
Following a fumble recovery at their 40, the Cougars moved to the Rocket 9 only to have McConnell misfire on a 26-yard field goal try with 3:08 to go before halftime.
The Cougars picked up a safety with 1:42 left in the first half when a high snap sailed over Shurden's head on a punt and he had to kick the ball out the back of the end zone.
McConnell then missed a 47-yard field goal bid with 21 seconds left in the first half.
The Cougars had 207 total yards at halftime to 108 for the Rockets.
Neshoba controlled the third quarter, outgaining the Cougars 63-38 in total yardage and getting to within 14-10 on the scoreboard.
The Rockets marched from their 40 to the Cougar 5 where Shurden booted a 22-yard field goal with 5:55 left in the third period.
Newton County began what turned out to be a 10-play, 63-yard scoring drive following a 16-yard punt by Shurden late in the third quarter. McDonald, who had runs of 21, nine, and four yards on the drive, got the touchdown on a 14-yard run with 10:06 remaining in the contest. McConnell's PAT gave the Cougars a 21-10 lead.
The Cougar defense then held the Rockets to minus 11 yards in the fourth quarter to preserve the win.
McConnell added a 37-yard field goal with 2:03 remaining to conclude the scoring.
Newton County finished with 281 total yards, 225 of which came on 46 runs. Mapp had 107 yards on 18 carries with McDonald adding 88 yards on 14 carries. McDonald completed 3-of-8 passes for 56 yards.
Neshoba, 1-3, had 160 total yards after rushing 39 times for 162 yards. Grady and Josh Palmer combined to complete 3-of-8 passes for minus two yards. Grady had 89 yards rushing on 16 carries with Luke Smith and Andrew Robinson both picking up 37 yards.
Newton County visits West Lauderdale next Friday with Neshoba traveling to Louisville in a pair of region games.
Marty Stamper is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 693-1551 ext. 3234.