October 23, 2003

Tigers Fail To Deliver Knock Out Punch But Hold On For Victory

What had the looks of a blowout early on had Scotland County fans on the edge of their seats in the final seconds as SCR-I held on for a 20-15 victory at Highland October 17.

The Tigers looked poised to blow the Cougars out putting up a pair of early scores in the first period.

Scotland County took the opening kickoff and quickly drove down the field behind the running game of Joel Myers. The senior back moved the chains on three occasions before Aaron Dale took a handoff for another SCR-I first down.

That set up a pass from Danny Roach to Kiel Fogle that netted 24 yards and got the Tigers to within three yards of pay dirt. Tim Robinson punched the ball into the endzone on the next play. He added the point after attempt to put the Tigers on top 7-0 less than three minutes into the game.

Highland went three and out on the Cougars first possession giving the ball back to the Tigers. SCR-I didnít miss a beat on possession number two as Myers, the freight train, went back to work running over the Highland defense.

A pass interference call against Highland helped keep the drive alive after stalling near midfield. Jared Shelley put the points on the board when he took the ball on a counter trap and rumbled 15-yards for the touchdown. Robinsonís PAT kick made the lead 14-0 with 5:30 still remaining in the first quarter.

The two teams traded punts on their next possessions before Highland finally mounted its first drive of the game midway through the second period. The Tigers defense held but had to come right back out on the field after SCR-Iís first play, a half-back pass from Shelley to Clint Cottrell was picked off by Highlandís Jerrill Humphrey.

That set up Highlandís lone score of the first half. Quarterback Tyler Martin moved the ball down field with some solid pass plays before Daniel Lynn scored on an eight-yard run. The PAT kick was good leaving the Tigers lead cut to 14-7 with 3:48 left in the first half.

Coach Brent Bondurant told his Tigers that he wanted to use those final three minutes to get one final score and they did just that.

Roach hit Cottrell on fourth down with a 17-yard pass in the corner of the end zone. Robinson missed his first PAT of the year to leave the lead at 20-7.

The Tigers nearly left too much time on the clock. With 1:07 left in the half, Martin marched his Cougars past midfield before Cottrell picked off a pass as time expired.

The deciding moment in the game may have come late in the third period. The Cougars took the kickoff and proceeded to move the ball down field. The drive ate up nearly nine minutes of the third period.

But with the ball at the 13-yard line the SCR-I defensive backs stepped up their play. Karl Snyder broke up a pass play with Carl Wittstock making a similar big play on the other side of the field on the next pass attempt. Highland was unable to pick up the first down and turned the ball over.

SCR-I moved the ball out to midfield behind Myers before a series of penalties dug a big hole and forced the team to quick kick on third down and 30 yards to go.

Again it was the defensive backfield that made the plays on another second half drive for Highland. Wittstock had two interceptions wiped away on penalties before he broke up a pass to Humphrey that was snatched out of the air by Cottrell. He grabbed the deflection for an interception in the endzone for a touchback.

Scotland County ate up much of the fourth period on the ground before turning the ball over on downs near midfield with just three minutes left in the game.

Humphrey, one of the top rated receivers not only in the state, but in the nation, finally made a big play as he broke a pair of Tigers tackles and scampered for a 41-yard touchdown play that made the game much more interesting with 2:22 remaining on the clock. The two-point conversion made it a 20-15 game.

Highland had a shot at recovering the onside kick attempt but SCR-I came out of the pile with the ball. But the Cougars got one last shot as SCR-I was unable to pick up first down.

The Cougars completed just one pass play on the final drive as the defense held to preserve the win with a Wittstock interception.

The Tigers improved to 3-4 on the year while Highland fell to 2-5. After racking up 113 yards in the first half, Myers finished the game with 165 yards on 29 attempts. Dale had 14 yards on three carries as he still is nursing a leg injury.

Roach completed four of 13 passes for 57 yards and a TD. Cottrell had two catches and the TD. Shelley and Fogle made the other grabs. The team had 16 first downs in the game but moved the chains just five times in the second half.

Martin completed 18 of 28 passes for Highland, going for 171 yards and one TD. He was picked off three times. Humphrey had nine receptions for 109 yards and a TD and also ran the ball four times for 30 yards. Johnathan Scifres was held to 46 yards on 15 carries. Highland has 20 first downs in the game, 12 coming in the second half.

Fogle led the defense with 13 tackles. Snyder was inserted as the starting cornerback and ended the night with 11 stops. Myers made 10 stops, including two for losses while Shelley added nine tackles. Wittstock made seven stops and grabbed an interception while Cottrell had two picks on the night. Travis Onken and Andrew Bulen had solid games on the defensive line combining for 13 tackles, four for losses.

The Tigers are heading into district play in the final three games of the regular season kicking off on the road at North Shelby on October 24.

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