The visiting Butler County Bears made last Friday night’s Homecoming a dreary one as they defeated the Cougars 22-18, scoring the winning touchdown with less than three minutes remaining to be played in the game.
The Cougars outrushed the Bears 232 yards to 91, but the Bears outgained the Cougars through the air 194 yards to 49.
Senior quarterback Kaylor Decker did not start in this game, but came off the bench later in the game and finished 5-of-10 passing for 49 yards. Junior Michael Wood started in place of Decker and finished the game with 136 rushing yards on 18 carries with two touchdowns.
Senior Chandler McCrady carried the ball nine times for 63 yards and one score.
The Cougars got on the board first with their opening drive, moving 65 yards in seven plays with McCrady carrying in from nine yards out with 8:20 left in the first period. The extra-point try failed leaving the Cougars in front 6-0.
The Cougars forced a punt on the first Bear possession and took over at their own 46. Ten plays later the Cougars were in the end zone again, this time with Wood carrying in from two yards out. A two-point try failed leaving the Cougars with a 12-0 lead.
The Bears took over with 15 seconds left in the first period at their own 31 yard-line and took 10 plays to score for the first time, with senior quarterback Jagger Henderson throwing seven yards to senior Zack Silcox. A two-point conversion was successful, making the score 12-8 with 7:03 left in the first half.
The Cougars failed to move the ball on their next possession and were forced to punt, with Butler County taking over at the Cougar 47. Nine plays later the Bears were in the end zone once more, with junior Colton Dunnells carrying in from a yard out. A two-point try failed, leaving the score 14-12, which is how the half ended.
The Bears had the ball to begin the second half, but could not move it and punted to the Cougars at their own 31. Behind the running of McCrady, the Cougars moved to the Bear six-yard line, from where Wood ran it in for his second score and an 18-14 lead.
The score stayed that way until the fourth quarter. The Bears took over at their own 29 with 7:03 left to be played. Facing a fourth-and-11 situation at the Bear 41, Henderson hooked up with tight end Solomon Flener for 13 yards and a first down to keep the drive alive.
It was a 26-yard Henderson to Flener pass that accounted for the winning touchdown with 2:49 remaining. An all-important two-point conversion meant the Cougars would need a touchdown to win the game instead of a field goal.
The Cougars had the ball near midfield on the Bear side of the field and quickly moved inside the Bear 20. On second-and-10 from the 13, Decker hit Wood with a pass that would have won the game for the Cougars, but Wood dropped the ball.
On fourth-and-one from the four, Decker was stopped short of the line to gain with less than a minute to play. Three kneel-downs by Henderson then sealed the deal for the Bears.
By Don Brown, Local Sports
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