Cowboys earn hard-earned championship win
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
There are no shortcuts to a championship.
The MC’s Heating & Air Cowboys have spent plenty of time on the practice field the past few months, and they were in fact at Granger Park until dark the day before they played for a league championship against the RT Systems Bulldogs.
That effort paid major dividends for the Cowboys, who beat the Bulldogs 28-14 on Monday night at Callaway Stadium to take the top spot in the 9-10-year-old division in the Troup County Parks & Recreation fall league.
“They work hard, and they’ve learned how to play together as a team,” said head coach Chris McWhorter.
The Cowboys got a big-time effort from quarterback Bear Napier, who scored touchdowns on a run and a kickoff return in the first half to earn MVP honors for his team.
AJ Williams added a pair of touchdown for the Cowboys, and Jax Campbell made two extra points.
Darius Turner, who had a touchdown catch and a scoring run, was the MVP for the Bulldogs, who fought hard and were in it until the end.
“They came in this season and you set a goal,” said Bulldogs’ head coach Carlos Poythress. “Unfortunately we didn’t reach it, but they played from the beginning to the end of the season. They gave everything.”
The outcome was still in doubt in the fourth quarter when the Cowboys opened up the playbook.
On fourth-and-long, Napier handed the ball off to Williams, who completed a 13-yard pass to Sam Burns, and the Cowboys ran out the clock.
“We’ve been calling that play for 25 years,” McWhorter said. “It works if you call it at the right time.”
When the clock struck zero, the players and coaches celebrated a hard-earned championship.
“These kids are special,” McWhorter said. “This joy in their hearts, you can’t take that away. It’s a memory they’ll have from now on.”
While the Bulldogs didn’t achieve their goal of winning the title, Poythress appreciation the effort his players gave throughout the season.
“There are a lot of guys that have a lot of passion for the game,” McWhorter said. “I’m looking forward to seeing what they do at the next level.”
It didn’t take the Cowboys long to put the game’s first points on the scoreboard.
Napier capped an eight-play, 62-yard drive with a 44-yard touchdown run, and Campbell made the first of his two extra points to give the Cowboys an 8-0 lead.
The Bulldogs answered with a touchdown of their own less than two minutes later.
Turner took a short pass from quarterback Carson McGill, and he turned that into a 54-yard touchdown, and McGill’s extra point deadlocked the score at 8-8 with 1:26 to play in the first quarter.
It didn’t stay tied for long, with Napier returning the ensuing kickoff 47 yards for the touchdown, and the Cowboys had a 14-8 lead.
The Cowboys padded their lead in the second quarter.
Williams, the younger brother of Auburn University running back Tank Bigsby, ripped off a 49-yard touchdown run, and the Cowboys were ahead 20-8 with 1:39 to play in the opening half.
The Bulldogs thought they’d gotten closer on a 28-yard scoring run by Turner, but the touchdown was wiped away by a holding penalty.
The half ended with Collin Williams and Gardner Cain teamed up for a sack, and the Cowboys had a 20-8 lead at the break.
The Bulldogs struck quickly in the second half, with Turner scoring on a 34-yard run less than a minute into the third quarter, and the Cowboys’ lead was down to 20-14.
The Cowboys responded with an eight-play, 52-yard drive that ate up nearly four minutes.
Napier had a clutch 3-yard carry on fourth down to give the Cowboys a valuable first time, and Williams scored on a 12-yard run on the next play, and the lead was 28-14 with 56 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs got into Cowboys’ territory on their next drive before a fourth-down play failed when Anquira Cameron got into the backfield and made a tackle.
The Cowboys then put it away with a drive that was highlighted by Williams’ half-back option completion to Burns.