September 26, 2002
Putnam County Air Attack Grounds Tigers In 32-8 Defeat
The Scotland County football team witnessed why Ian Gilworth will be named the Tri-Rivers Conference most valuable player when the season is over. It may be a little early to hand the award to the junior quarterback but if he keeps up his passing attack like he displayed September 20 against SCR-I its his trophy to lose.
Gilworth completed 13 of 23 pass attempts for 319 yards and a pair of touchdowns as his Midgets kept Scotland County winless on the season as the Tigers dropped the conference opener. Putnam County, who pounded Clark County a week earlier is 2-0 in league play and now has to be considered a contender for the conference title along with Brookfield.
Friday night's game was a tale of two halves. The teams looked evenly matched through the first 24 minutes as the defenses controlled the tempo.
Putnam County took the opening kickoff and could do nothing with the ball as the Tigers defense did not allow a first down, forcing the punt. Unfortunately turn about was fair play as SCR-I also went three and out on the first possession.
Gilworth went to work from that point, hitting a 15-yard completion to move the chains. But defensive end Travis Onken made a big stop in the backfield to back up the Midgets and stall the drive resulting in another punt.
The Tigers continued to ground it out with the running game, gaining enough on three rushes to move the chains. But there was not another first down to be had and SCR-I punted it away with 2:54 to play in the first quarter.
Putnam County picked up a first down but appeared to be in trouble facing a third down and long. But a middle screen to wide receiver Corey Mason not only picked up the first down it went the distance, 40 yards for a touchdown with just three ticks left on the clock in the first period.
Cornerback Chase Moore came up to stuff Gilworth on an option run to prevent the two-point conversion to keep the score at 6-0.
Scotland County got the momentum back after the kick off. The Tigers faced fourth and inches and gave the ball to tailback Tim Robinson. The sophomore hit the hole quickly and broke through the defense for a 26 yard gain. SCR-I could not move the chains from there as a Curtis Cochran pass fell incomplete on fourth and four giving Putnam County the ball back at the 31 yard line.
Gilworth's numbers were impressive but they likely could have been closer to 400 yards with another TD as he threw a perfect pass to a streaking Mason down the right sideline. The sophomore receiver had burned the SCR-I defender but saw the ball bounce off his hands and fall incomplete.
But that didn't stop the duo as they hooked up for a couple big pass plays to move Putnam down field into striking position.
The Tigers defense bent but did not break. Michael Lodewegen came up with a big tackle for a loss to stop the drive and give the ball back to the Tigers on downs.
Scotland County got another great run from a young back as Jared Shelley broke through the Midgets defense for a gain of 24 yards to fire up the Tigers sideline. Cochran then connected with Clint Cottrell for a 15-yard pass play.
With the drive stalling out once again coach Brent Bondurant made the perfect call, a reverse to wide receiver Moore. The senior, in his first game of the year after returning from injury, picked up 17 yards to put the ball just 22 yards from the endzone.
A pair of runs netted just three yards forcing the Tigers to the air. Cochran hit tightend Eric Long over the middle but the ball came loose as it appeared that the Putnam County defender got away with pass interference. It was a key no call as the next pass play also fell incomplete ending the Tigers best offensive threat of the first half.
Putnam County looked content to run out the clock with only 1:07 remaining in the first half. But an SCR-I timeout seemed to change the team's mindset. The Midgets did not call another rushing play as Gilworth marched his team down field with three consecutive completions of more than 20 yards.
With 12.2 seconds in the half Gilworth found Brad Ryals in the corner of the endzone behind the SCR-I defender for the touchdown. Robinson got through the line to sack Gilowrth on the two-point conversion try, leaving Putnam County with a 12-0 lead at the intermission.
Scotland County started the second half on offense. Cottrell made a bobbling catch to move the chains. Joel Myers then picked up more than enough yards for another first down but fumbled the ball near the end of the play to give the Midgets good field position at the 45.
Gilworth got them much closer as he hit Ryals with a 28 yard pass play. Three plays later it was running back Keith Smith who broke a number of SCR-I tackles and didn't even let a facemask penalty stop him as he rumbled eight yards for the TD. The two-point attempt was again stopped by SCR-I and the score remained 18-0 with 8:22 in the third quarter.
Scotland County again had a good start to an offesive possession but could not deliver the scoring punch. Kiel Fogle got the team off to a good start with a 12-yard run. A late hit by the Midgets defender added 15 more yards to the end of the play to put SCR-I at midfield. The offense stopped there and the Tigers punted.
Putnam County took over and sounded the air sirens again. Ryals made a beautiful diving catch down the left sideline to pick up big yardage. Smith was the beneficiary as he scored from 11 yards out with 6:05 left in the third quarter. Ryals point after attempt kick was good making the score 25-0.
SCR-I went three and out on the insuing possession setting up the final Midgets score.
Puntam County proved if it works, stick with it as they set up the wide receiver screen for the third time in the game and Mason got behind a convoy of Midget blockers to move down the field before Cottrell forced him out of bounds just short of a score. Colby Myers took the ball in from one yard out for the touchdown. The PAT kick by Ryals was good and with 43.6 seconds left in the third quarter the Midgets led 32-0.
Scotland County mounted its lone scoring drive of the night at the start of the fourth quarter. Cochran went to Cottrell for a good gain. He then scrambled for nine yards to set up a fourth down and one. Myers picked up the first down and then some with a powerful run up the middle. A couple more solid runs by Myers set up a four-yard touchdown pass from Cochran to Fogle. The quarterback kept the ball on the option and scored on the two-point conversion cutting the deficit to 32-8 with 5:57 left in the game.
Surprisingly the Putnam County coaching staff left the first string offense in with just five minutes to play and a four TD lead.
Coach Dave Mitchell's heart must have leapt into his throat when Gilworth scrambled down the left sideline and was hit hard by a pair of Tigers defenders. It would be a shame to lose a league MVP with only two minutes left in a game that was well in hand.
Fortunately for Putnam County Gilworth was not injured but he did leave the game after the play as the Midgets finally turned it over to the junior varsity offense.
The Tigers defense held and the SCR-I junior varsity offense ran the clock out to bring the game to an end.
Scotland County picked up 200 yards on the ground in the losing effort. Myers led the way with 55 yards on 10 attempts. Robinson had 39 yards on nine attempts. Shelley gained 27 yards on two carries while Moore had the 17 yard reverse run.
Cochran completed seven of 17 passes for 66 yards. He ran for 21 yards on five attempts. Cottrell had six catches for 62 yards and Fogle had the four yard TD reception.
Eric Long topped the Tigers defense with nine tackles. Brett Masden made eight stops from his defensive tackle position. Aaron Dale, Shelley and Cottrell each made seven tackles.
Gilworth completed 13 of 23 passes for 319 yards. Mason had a huge game with 183 yards on six receptions. Ryals caught four passes for 99 yards. Smith carried the ball eight times for 38 yard as the Midgets ground game was held to under 80 yards.