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Colleton County Cougars lose 34-10 in round 1 against Westwood

The Cougars will return 19 starters next season and boast one of the most talented senior classes in recent history. Photo by Cindy Crosby

The Cougars, seeded 13th, traveled up I-95 and I-77 to Blythewood to battle the #4 seed Westwood Redhawks in round one of the Class AAAA Division II Football bracket. The Westwood football facilities were striking and the field itself looked worthy of a national broadcast. All around, fans for both Colleton County and Westwood streamed into the stadium amid bundles of blankets, scarves, and layers of clothing as the temperatures hovered around freezing.

On the opening kick-off Westwood drove the ball for 87 yards to go up early 7-0. The hearts of the Cougar fans showed clearly on their faces in the opening moments. However, the Cougars kept their focus and scored on a 1-yard keeper by Craig Grant (Riley Downey extra point) to tie the game, 7-7, with 8:38 left in the first quarter. Downey, then executes the nearly perfect onside kick and the Cougars gain possession. It was at this point, that the Cougar Fans could in all likelihood be heard all the way home in Colleton County. However, the possession did not lead to points on the board. With just 36 seconds left on the clock in the first, Westwood took advantage of field position for a field goal to go up 10-7.

In the second quarter, Westwood added another field goal with 9:26 on the clock putting them up 13-7. Norman Hand and Shemar Simmons then had back-to-back quarterback sacks. On the next play, Shemar Simmons recovered a Westwood fumble that bounced several times down the field and the sidelines and the Cougar crowd erupted. The Cougars added a Riley Downey 37-yard field goal as time expired for the first half. The Cougars went into halftime down 13-10.

The Cougar offense struggled to find their rhythm, which in turn put the defense on the field more than they should have been. Westwood, taking advantage of a tiring Cougar defense, added a touchdown with 5:04 left in the third quarter putting the Redhawks up 20-10. As temperatures dropped, so did confidence on the sidelines.

Just into the fourth quarter, Westwood scored again making it 27-10. With 8:51 left in the game, Westwood went in the end zone again making it 34-10 for the final points of the game. The Cougars ended their season 5-7 overall.

“Westwood is a very good team that eventually wore us down,” said Cougar Head Coach Chris Collins. “I’m very proud of our team. They played with heart and had to overcome a lot of adversity this season due to major injuries to several of our players.”

“This year’s seniors can take pride in helping turn the program around,” acknowledged Collins. “We had a winning record at home, won our first region game since 2009, had the best record of any Colleton football team since 2007, and made the playoffs for the first time since 2007.”

Collins is already thinking about next year, and he isn’t the only one. On the way out of the stadium on Friday evening, Cougar Fans were already thinking about the possibilities for next year.

The Cougars will return a large number of starters (19 total) and boast a talented senior class for next season including: Norman Hand, Tyquan David, Nick Salley, Nikeal Simmons, Tykeem Johnson, AJ Bellamy, Trey Murray, Austin Holmes, KJ Levine, Zac Sauls, Denzel Stevens, and Kenyon Richardson.

Juniors for the 2015 football season: Riley Downey, Skye Brown, Germaine Clayton, Kwasi Kirkland, and George Crosby along with experienced sophomore starters Craig Grant and Justin Williams.

“Our expectations are to compete for a region championship and make a good run in the playoffs,” remarked Collins. “We are hoping to achieve even more success next year. Gaining playoff experience is valuable to our program’s growth in the coming years. It is imperative that we develop more overall depth and develop several offensive and defensive linemen to replace our graduating players.”

 

Cindy Crosby (228 Posts)