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Thanksgiving jinx claims Cougars again

By By Marty Stamper/The Meridian Star
Nov. 25, 2001
DECATUR – Don't blame Newton County head football coach Jeff Breland if Thanksgiving isn't one of his most favorite holidays.
Not that the third-year Cougar head coach isn't thankful for a lot of things. He is. But for the second year in a row, his football team has had its season end with a playoff loss the day after Thanksgiving.
Newton County saw its 12-0 start in 2001 come to a quick 12-1 finish with Friday's 19-12 loss to Collins in the third round of the Class 3A state playoffs.
Newton County was held to a season-low 93 rushing yards and a season-low 139 total yards by the Tigers.
The Cougars also lost to Magee 14-13 for the Class 3A South State championship on Thanksgiving week in 2000.
Getting back to the third round was a big accomplishment for the Cougars, but certainly not the highest on their list which included a Class 3A state championship and an undefeated season.
You've just got to make the plays when the opportunity arises and we didn't make them. In games past we have."
One of the many things Breland is thankful for is his group of eight seniors – Richard Croft, Matthew Boggan, Robbie Carey, Adam Bout, Jared Gallaspy, Kevin Peebles, Mark Walker, and David McConnell who went 33-5 during their careers with undefeated regular seasons in 1999 and 2001. Three of their five losses were in the playoffs.
Marty Stamper is a writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at or call him at 693-1551, ext. 3235.