Cowboys complete dramatic comeback
Published 12:08 am Wednesday, November 22, 2017
By Kevin Eckleberry
With his team’s championship hopes on the line, Noah Outland was up to the challenge.
The Cowboys were trailing 2-0 against the Bulldogs in the closing moments of last week’s Troup County Parks and Recreation 9-10-year-old championship game at Callaway Stadium.
The Cowboys were threatening, though, and they had the ball inside the Bulldogs’ 1-yard-line with a chance to take the lead with a touchdown.
It was fourth down, and Cowboys’ head coach Chris McWhorter called Outland’s number.
Outland responded with the touchdown run, and he also made the extra point to give his team an 8-2 lead with 39 seconds remaining.
Jarden Starling then recovered the ball on an onside kick, and the Cowboys were able to run out the clock and secure the 8-2 victory in the Textile Bowl.
The Bulldogs took a 2-0 lead on a safety with22 seconds left in the first half, and they made that advantage stand up almost the rest of the way.
With 2:38 left in the game, the Cowboys got the ball at the Bulldogs’ 10-yard line following a short punt.
A 7-yard run by Outland and a face-mask penalty put the ball on the 2-yard line.
The next two plays netted a little more than a yard, and the ball was almost touching the goal line on fourth down.
After a timeout, Outland took the pitch and scored easily to give the Cowboys their first and only lead of the night.
“We just went with Noah,” McWhorter said. “He’s the MVP, he’s the kicker, and he’s a great player.”
It was a hard-fought showdown between two unbeaten teams, and the Cowboys made just enough plays to secure the championship.
For the Bulldogs, it was a tough way to close a phenomenal season.
“I told them you’ve got to take the good with the bad,” Bulldogs’ coach Carlos Poythress said. “We were undefeated the whole season, and we came out here and lost the game. But you’ve still got to show sportsmanship at the end of the game.”
With less than 30 seconds left in the first half, it was Zatreyvious Dowell making a tackle in the end zone for the safety to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead.
The Cowboys got the ball first in the second half, and they put together a drive that ate up all of the third quarter and continued into the final quarter.
The Cowboys couldn’t produce any points on that drive that lasted more than six minute, though, with Desmond Dean picking a pass off to keep the Bulldogs on top.
The Bulldogs started the ensuing possession at their own 6-yard line, and they couldn’t get anything going.
On third down, Quendarrious Woodyard made a tackle for loss at the 1-yard line to force a punt.
The punt didn’t go far, and the Cowboys were in business at the 10-yard line,.
The Cowboys scored four plays later.
“The other team had the same record we had,” McWhorter said. “We just won it on field position and ball control at the end of the game.”
McWhorter added that “this is my 19th year coaching, and it’s one of the better groups I’ve ever had.”
Poythress said his hope is that his players will use the loss as a learning experience.
“I told them I know it hurts. I want it to hurt,” Poythress said. “Take it and learn from it.”
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