Leitchfield - The Grayson County Cougars hosted the Daviess County Panthers for Homecoming 2013. The Panthers had faced three tough 3rd Region foes previous to the visit. After two losses to Owensboro Catholic and Owensboro, Daviess County was able to clinch their first victory against rival Apollo.
Hungry for another win to even the season, the Panthers brought their running game and offensive misdirection to Cougar Stadium. Daviess County did not take Grayson County lightly. A considerable amount of scouting went into the game, as Daviess County knew they would have problems with the Cougar defensive line. So they took a lesson from Central Hardin's playbook.
Although Daviess County had utilized 569 yards of passing prior to the meeting with the Cougars, it was the run and gun aspect of their offense which provided challenges for the Cougar defense. Quarterback Luke Bailey, Running Backs Austin LeCroy and Levin Washington were able to get to the corners and gain significant downfield yardage.
Cougar defenders found themselves caught inside and were not able to make stops and tackles. Once LeCroy got into the secondary, his ability to move laterally presented challenges for solo tackles. LeCroy literally ran through the secondary using his angular running style to break tackles and gain big yardage.
The wide receiving corps of Jones and Jones were kept in check on the big reception plays, however they did spread coverage allowing the running game multiple lanes downfield.
The Cougars had their chances…and realized some opportunities.
Penalties, miscues and mental mistakes were really the biggest opponent on the field. The Panthers scored three touchdowns on Cougar turnovers. The Panthers had short field opportunities on almost every series. Defensively, they gave nothing up the middle and brought the heat on the weak side. Talon Gary likes to use his legs and he is an elusive runner. Unfortunately you can't elude guys who are quick enough to run you down from the weak-side and use the sidelines as an extra defender.
Smashback running by Dakota Payton and Thomas Walton didn’t yield many benefits against a defensive line that averaged 245 pounds. When the Cougars started to open up the offense there were opportunities through the air. Dropped passes, tipped passes and route timing neutralized any gains for the Cougars.
Although Grayson County is considered a running team, the mid-range passing game has immense potential. Both elements are necessary components as the Cougars grow into a championship level team. Once you get the ball, you have to hold on to it. Daviess County routinely strips balls from receivers and running backs. They practice it and they proved they are good at it. Make the tackle - Go for the ball.
There were some encouraging moments (even if they were called back or neutralized by a penalties) Dylan Woodcock had some big plays on both offense and defense. The D Line earned the respect of the Panther front and Talon Gary proved that he is willing to do whatever he can to win a game.
I'm sure Saturday's film session was an eye opener for the young Cougars. Coach Smart in the post game interview said, "Although the sun will come up tomorrow, we have a lot of work to do this week. You can't make these kinds of mistakes and expect to win. We will re-group and do a better job this week".
The Cougars are now 2-2 on the season and travel to Butler County this Friday. The Bears are 2-1 on the season. The Bears scored 92 points in their two wins, then were shut out against Russellville. It's time for the Cougar Defense to make a statement.
So where is the silver lining… The Cougars should have and could have beat Daviess County. Instead, they beat themselves. The Cougars have something to prove this week.
Every week in this years schedule is a tough opponent. Every week there will be challenges and opportunities. This week, the Cougars need to make Butler County an opportunity. They need to go into this game expecting to be the spoiler, then most of all, play like it.
Join me for another exciting night of Cougar Football. Bel Brands USA coverage starts at 6:30 with the Locker Room Show live on 104.9 and online at www.k105.com.