Collins knocks Newton County out of playoffs
Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
RUNNING HARD Newton County's Colby Amis gets pulled down by Collins' Corey Clark during playoff action in Decatur on Friday night.
By Marty Stamper/The Meridian Star
Nov. 24, 2001
DECATUR Now the Newton County Cougars know how their Thanksgiving turkey felt.
Collins held the Cougars to a season-low 139 total yards in taking a 19-12 victory in the third round of the Class 3A state playoffs Friday.
Time and time again, the Tigers stuffed the Cougars at the line of scrimmage. Of their 50 offensive plays, the Cougars were held to no gain or tackled for a loss on 21 occasions. Five plays gained just one yard, while six picked up only two yards. Throw in two interceptions for good measure. That's 34 non-productive plays or 68 percent of the night down the drain.
The Cougars did not manage a single first down in either the first or third quarters and had only seven for the game.
It wasn't that the Cougars didn't want to do better. The Tigers just wouldn't let them.
Opportunity struck first for the Cougars midway through the first quarter when Terrance Patrick picked off a Kethone McLaurin pass and returned it 17 yards to the Collins 17. Three plays netted only two yards and the Cougars had to settle for a 3-0 lead on David McConnell's 32-yard field goal with 5:25 left in the opening period.
The Tigers stormed down the field to take the lead for good. Marcus Barnes started the eight-play, 77-yard drive with a 48-yard sweep around right end. McLaurin capped it with an 18-yard touchdown toss to Kenton Davis in the front left corner of the end zone. The extra point failed, leaving Collins with a 6-3 advantage with 1:43 remaining in the first quarter.
Disaster struck on the first play of the second quarter as the Tigers blocked McConnell's punt with Tavares Barnes recovering at the NCHS 14. The Cougar defense stepped up, forcing a pair of incompletions from the 22.
The Cougars then put together a 12-play drive from their 22 to the Collins 6, thanks to a pass interference penalty and a 34-yard pass from Colby Amis to Dusty Rose to the 5. The Cougars got to the 3 only to have Darryl Mapp stuffed for a loss of three on second down. McConnell's 23-yard field goal was blocked with 5:10 to go before halftime.
Collins, 11-2, pulled out to a 19-3 lead with a pair of touchdowns in the third period. The first came on a 69-yard keeper around right end and down the Cougar sideline by McLaurin with 9:26 to go in the third quarter. Two Cougars had a shot at tackling McLaurin for either a loss or a short gain, but he eluded both. A two-point try by Voncarie Owens fell short as Collins led 12-3.
On second down from his 21, McLaurin was chased back inside the 10 where the Tigers were flagged for holding. His pass fell incomplete and the Cougars declined the penalty, leaving third-and-9 at the 21 instead of second-and-27 from the 4. McLaurin hooked up with Davis for a 13-yard gain and a first down on the next play.
The Tigers came back with a 13-play, 62-yard scoring drive with Owens scoring from a yard out with 1:57 remaining in the third period. Brooks Buffington's PAT made it 19-3.
The Cougar special teams got the hosts back in the game when Michael Johnson scooped up a blocked punt and returned it 17 yards to the end zone with 11:04 left in the game. A two-point pass fell incomplete, but the Cougars were back to within 19-9.
Newton County went for an onside kick with Derek Mapp recovering at the Collins 40. Kendrick Windham broke a pair of tackles for a 30-yard gain to the 5, but the Cougars again had to settle for a 20-yard field goal from McConnell and a 19-12 deficit with 7:48 to play.
Once again, McConnell's onside kick took a high hop with David Fielder recovering at the Tigers' 49 and bringing the Cougar faithful to their feet. On third-and-3, the Cougars got their only penalty of the night when offensive lineman Reed Myers jumped offside and Amis' fourth-and-8 pass was picked off by Tony Edison.
Newton County forced the Tigers to punt and Darren Magee's effort traveled only 20 yards to the Collins 45. A facemask penalty moved the ball to the Tigers 33, but four passes from Amis under heavy pressure fell incomplete as the Cougars finished with a 12-1 season.
Newton County had 93 yards on 36 rushes. Windham led the Cougars with 72 yards on 15 carries.
Collins, which had zero yards in the fourth quarter, got 73 yards on four runs from McLaurin, 65 yards on 21 rushes from Owens, and 64 yards on 13 carries from Marcus Barnes.
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. 3235.