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Prep Football: Courtland gets sharp for Jackets
BY JIM SWING
On a cool, brisk night in Caroline, Courtland head coach J.C. Hall bounced up and down in the middle of his team, screaming victory chants that were echoed by a crowd of inspired players.
Perhaps it was a way to stay warm, or maybe it was for the fact that the Cougars had just solidified a 36–13 win over the Cavaliers that was important in several different ways.
This was a trap game. With James Monroe—the Battlefield District’s only remaining undefeated team—just a week a way, it would’ve been easy for Courtland to look right past a middling Caroline team. This win also meant the Cougars would capture a winning record for the first time this season.
They eluded the trap and came away with a winning record.
“It was big for us because I told the kids all week, we got to make sure this isn’t a trap game,” Hall said. “Can’t look ahead to James Monroe, we’ve got to get our fourth win of the year and the opportunity for us to have a winning record for the first time this year.”
But at first it was rocky. Caroline quarterback Curtis Leacock hit receiver Bevontae Morris for a 66-yard pass to set the Cavaliers up on the Cougars’ 27-yard line. Just three plays later it was Leacock to Morris again, this time for a 15-yard touchdown to five Caroline the lead.
Then Courtland got a boost, and never looked back.
On the ensuing kickoff Brandon Mason returned the ball 85 yards for a touchdown to tie the game.
Things only went downhill for the Cavaliers from there. Lining up for a punt, the snap sailed well over kicker Richard Williams’ head and into the back of the end zone for a safety.
The Cougars’ offense wasn’t electric, but it was enough. The trio of Brandon Mason, Anton Jenkins and Darien Grant combined for 248 rushing yards and quarterback Eric Washington made the necessary passes to set up kicker Seth Yurgell for a pair of field goals.
Their defense, on the other hand, was stifling. Led by Matt Knowles who recorded two interceptions and three sacks, the Cougars forced the Caroline into -16 rushing yards.
“I feel pretty good, we had a good week of practice and we came out and performed pretty good,” Knowles said. “Overall our defense played very well keeping them out of the game.”
They even forced Leacock, who had 257 passing yards on 18 attempts, out of the game because of inaccuracy and two interceptions.
Midway through the second quarter, Washington hit receiver Zeke Carpenter over the middle for a 62-yard touchdown to put the Cougars up 19-7.
In the second half, Courtland gained some insurance then sealed the win. Jenkins rushed for touchdowns of two and four yards to give the Cougars a 23-point cushion.
Next Friday, Courtland (4-3, 4-2) hosts James Monroe.
“We feel pretty good,” Knowles said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do this week.”
Courtland 9 10 10 7 — 36
Caroline 7 0 0 6 — 13
Ca-B. Morris 15-yard pass from C. Leacock (R. Williams kick)
Ct-B. Mason 85-yard kick return (S. Yurgel kick)
Ct-S. Yurgel 24-yard field goal
Ct-C. Carpenter 62-yard pass from E. Washington (S. Yurgel kick)
Ct-S. Yurgel 20-yard field goal
Ct-A. Jenkins 4-yard run (S. Yurgel kick)
Ca-K. Johnson 3-yard run (kick failed)
Ct-A. Jenkins 2-yard run (S. Yurgel kick)
First downs13 8
Rushing yardage51-248 21–16
Passing yardage136 268
Rushing: Caroline—Keyshawn Johnson 9-5, TD; Brandon Braxton 1-2; Aason Pankey 1-(-1); Curtis Leacock 10-(-22). Courtland—Anton Jenkins 17-94, 2TD; Darien Grant 14-86; Brandon Mason 13-48; Joe Tyson 6-18; Brandon Taylor 1-2.
Passing: Caroline—Curtis Leacock 12-18-1 257, TD; Rasharrd Harris 1-2-1 11. Courtland—Eric Washington 5-11-0 136, TD.
Receiving: Caroline—Bevonte Morris 5-150, TD; JaQuen Monroe 5-89; Mark Rollins 3-29. Courtland—Chris Carpenter 2-80, TD; Zach Braswell 2-36; Tyler Foster 1-20.
Jim Swing: 540/374-5440