November 7, 2002

Tigers Continue Drive Towards State Playoffs By Beating Rams

A first half of missed opportunities almost came back to bite the Scotland County Tigers before the defense once again bailed out the team in a hard fought 12-8 victory over Schuyler County to set up next week's district championship tilt against Knox County.

The Tigers took the opening kickoff and moved the ball down field behind tailback Joel Myers. Faced with a fourth down coach Brent Bondurant went for it. The gutsy call paid off as Curtis Cochran connected with Kiel Fogle for a big gain across the middle.

Myers broke the next play up the middle for a big gain. As he was going down at the end of the run the ball popped loose and Schuyler recovered the fumble at the five-yard line.

The turnover ended the scoring chance but the SCR-I defense still had the Rams pinned deep in enemy territory. Schuyler County escaped safety territory and looked ready to get the offense rolling. But the momentum did not stay with the Rams long. Clint Cottrell continued his all-conference caliber season at safety with another interception. The Tigers took over at the 45-yard line with 6:34 to play in the first period.

The two teams traded defensive stops with SCR-I coming out on the better end of the punting game, taking over at the 28-yard line.

A key pass interference call against the Rams kept the Tigers scoring opportunity alive. But the yellow flags evened out with a couple key calls against SCR-I backing the Tigers up past the original line of scrimmage.

A pass from Cochran to Jared Shelley got some of that yardage back before the Tigers ran a reverse to Chase Moore for another big chunk of yardage.

The Tigers still faced fourth down and five yards to go at the nine-yard line. The Rams pass defense appeared to have the play stopped but Cochran scrambled away from the defenders and was able to pick up the first down, being stopped by a trio of tacklers just a yard short of the end zone. Myers took the next handoff in for the one-yard TD. The extra point kick failed leaving Scotland County ahead 6-0.

After the scoring drive both teams traded punts before Schuyler County mounted its one drive of the first half. It didn't last long enough as the Tigers defense held on fourth and one to get the ball back one final time in the first half.

The Tigers looked like they might run out the clock on the first half before Myers broke an 11-yard run. Shelley followed that with a 12-yard gain to quickly put the team in scoring position. Scotland County kept the ball on the ground and with 1:20 left in the second period Myers punched it in from one-yard out. The two-point attempt by the Tigers failed, leaving the team with only a 12-0 lead heading into the locker room.

The second half, particularly the third quarter, looked like a different game for both teams. After racking up some good rushing totals in the first period, SCR-I had the ball for just three offensive plays in the entire third period.

Schuyler County on the other hand managed only 77 total yards of offense in the first half. They backed themselves up with a penalty coming out of the locker room giving them the opening kickoff at the 20-yard line.

The Rams marched down the field eating up 51 yards before a fumble of their own ended the scoring chance. Aaron Dale recovered the loose ball at the 29-yard line.

SCR-I gave the ball back four plays later on the punt. The Rams ate up the third period from here with a long drive before scoring on a one-yard TD run on the first play of the fourth period. A successful two-point conversion had the Rams within striking distance at 12-8.

Scotland County managed a single first down before being forced to punt once again. A nice kick put the Rams at the 20-yard line with 7:55 to play in the contest.

Less than 30 seconds later the ball was at midfield and the Rams were building up steam. The next 30 yards were nearly as easy as the clock read 6:47 when the Rams reached the 20-yard line.

But on third down and one, the SCR-I defense got into the backfield and tackled the Rams runner for a loss. The next play was another defensive stop that got the Tigers the ball back with only five minutes to burn off the clock.

But Schuyler County got a huge break when the Tigers fumbled at the 30-yard line with just over three minutes left in the game.

The Tigers defense then made its biggest stop of the year on the Rams final possession. The defensive lot got good pressure on the Rams quarterback preventing Schuyler County from completing a pass on four attempts as the Tigers took over the ball with 2:18 left in the game.

The offense picked up a big first down as the Rams used up their timeouts allowing SCR-I to run out the clock.

After only 77 yards in the first half Schuyler County opened up in the second half to finish with 278 yards. But the Tigers made the key defensive plays when the team needed them the most. Myers led the way with 11 tackles, including three for losses. Dale and Moore each had nine stops in the contest while Tim Robinson finished with eight tackles and Brett Masden pitched in with seven.

Myers continued his 100-yard game streak, racking up 131 yards and two TDs in the game. Shelley ran for 22 yards and Eric Long added 34. Cochran rushed for 12 yards and threw for 70. He hit six of 10 pass attempts with Fogle accounting for half the receptions. The team did have eight penalties for 85 yards.

Scotland County improved to 5-4 on the season, improving the team's conference record to 4-2.

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