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Unbeaten Cougars riding high

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

They’re hoping for perfection.

The Long Cane eighth-grade football team can wrap up a perfect regular season with a victory over rival Gardner Newman today.

Those two teams will meet at River Bowl Stadium in West Point today.

First up will be the seventh-grade game at 5:30 p.m., with the eighth-grade game to follow.

Long Cane’s eighth-grade team, which is under the direction of head coach Torre Pike, improved to 6-0 with last week’s 20-6 win over Central-Phenix City.

Adrian Tucker had a big game for the Cougars with three touchdown runs.

“If I’m not mistaken, Long Cane has never had an unbeaten season,” Pike said. “So this is a big thing for us.”

Long Cane has continued to thrive despite losing its starting quarterback to an injury during the season.

O.J. Strozier has stepped and been terrific at quarterback.

“OJ’s done a great job managing what we need him to do,” Pike said. “He’s got a lot of swagger. He’s a player.”

Pike has led some talented Long Cane teams in the past, and he said “this is probably one of the most complete teams I’ve ever had. All the way across the board, they make me look good.”

Today’s opponent will be a Gardner Newman eighth-grade team that has struggled for wins, but Pike is expecting a tough game.

“Their record doesn’t show how good they are,” Pike said. “I’m very impressed with how much better they’ve gotten.”

Gardner Newman beat Central-Phenix City 39-0 for its first win of the season, and it followed that up with a hard-fought loss to Opelika last week.

“We’ve gotten a lot better,” Gardner Newman coach Scooter Weathers said. “We’re playing good. We’re playing hard.”