The Cougar freshman football teams traveled to McCollum high school Thursday evening to take on the Cowboys on their home turf. Both teams continued their winning ways, with the A team handing McCollum a 44 – 14 loss, and the B team defeating the Cowboys 22 – 8.
The A team defense carried over the momentum of their shut-out of Lee the week before, when on McCollum’s first drive Jakub Rayfield ran downhill from his safety position to force a Cowboy fumble that was recovered by linebacker Justin Smith. The takeaway set the Cougars up in great scoring position early, and a few plays later, quarterback Truett Heintzelman completed the first of his four touchdown passes of the game when he hit Rayfield on a short fade in the end-zone. Heintzelman carried on the two point conversion and the Cougars led 8-0. The Cowboys answered back on the following drive, but failed to convert to make the score 8-6 early in the second quarter. For the remainder of the second quarter, it was all Clark, as the defense consistently stuffed McCollum’s attack and the Cougar offense ripped off three unanswered touchdowns before the half. The first came with 3:24 left on the clock off of a screen pass to running back Eric Wente from Heintzelman that Wente took 40 yards through the middle of the Cowboy defense and into the end-zone with the help of a host of Cougars. Clark attempted the point after, but failed after an errant snap escaped the holder. The next Cougar touchdown came courtesy of Jared Smith’s one yard plunge with 1:50 remaining in the half, as well as the subsequent two-point conversion to stretch Clark’s lead to 22-6. Stifling defense, and a couple timeouts put the Clark offense back on the field with :37 remaining the half and in scoring position. Heintzelman hit Rayfield again on a vertical route, with Rayfield just getting his feet in bounds in the end-zone, giving the Cougars their final touchdown before halftime. The two-point conversion failed, but Clark had a commanding lead, 28-6 going into halftime.
McCollum managed to slow down the Cougar offense after half, as well as get on the board once more with :17 remaining in the third quarter to make the game 28-14 after their successful conversion. It was a valiant effort, but the 4th quarter belonged to the Cougars who scored on a short pass from Heintzelman to slot receiver Geremy Gutierrez, who took the pass 30 yards to make the score 36-14 after the conversion on the ground from running back Traquan Banks. Eric Wente also had a stellar punt return for 45 yards to the McCollum 7 yard line, setting up Banks for a 5 yard score followed up by Heintzelman on the 2 point conversion to make the final score Clark 44, McCollum 14. The Cougars will meet the Broncos at home this Friday to try to continue their winning ways at 4:30. We look forward to seeing you there.
The Cougar freshman B team took up where the A team left off, handling the Cowboys in a 22-8 victory thanks to an all around effort from the offense, defense and special teams. The Cougars started out with great defense, forcing the Cowboys to go three and out in their first series. On the ensuing punt, quarterback Max Arguello, who is a staple on the Cougar special teams, took the McCollum punt 30 yards to set up Clark’s offense on the McCollum 30 yard line. Running back Ryan Ramirez found the end-zone shortly after, scoring the first Cougar touchdown on the ground and between the tackles. Arguello followed the score with a two-point conversion to make the score 8-0 with 3:29 left in the opening quarter. More stellar defense, where linebacker Carlos Verdin seemed to be everywhere at once, put the ball back into the offense’s hands, and Arguello displayed some great footwork as he danced his way 42 yards to the end-zone for the second Clark touchdown of the quarter. Running back Tre Byrd took the hand off and walked into the end-zone for the follow up conversion, and the Cougars led 16-0 with 1:07 left in the first quarter. The remainder of the half saw both defenses dominate, forcing both offenses to punt the ball away to the opponent, and at the end of the first half, the score stood Clark 16, McCollum 0.
In the second half, the Clark defense stood their ground, and cornerback Hugo Diaz, picked the Cowboy’s quarterback. Unfortunately the Cougars couldn’t capitalize, and the game turned into a defensive struggle. McCollum took advantage of an errant Cougar snap from center, recovering the ball near the Cougar end-zone, and scoring and converting shortly thereafter to make the game 16-8 with 4:36 left in the third quarter. With the Cowboys now within a touchdown and a conversion of tying the Cougars, Arguello stepped up again, taking the ensuing Cowboy kickoff 65 yards for a Clark touchdown to put the Cougars back up by 14 after the failed two-point conversion. The remainder of the game belonged to the defenses, both bent, but never allowed either offense to find the end-zone, and when time expired, the score stood, Clark 22, McCollum 8. This is the third win in a row for the Clark B team freshman, and they look forward to adding the the win column when they take on Brandeis this Friday at Clark, at 6:00 pm. We hope to see you there.