Elk Point-Jefferson piled on the points in the 1st half, but couldn’t keep up with McCook Central/Montrose in the 2nd, losing a home game 36-20 Sept. 10.
The Cougars used a no-huddle offense to speed up the game and kept the Huskies from switching out defenders. Given the heat and humidity, that took a toll on the EPJ linemen.
Both teams threatened to score in the 1st quarter, but the Huskies did with under a second left. They started on the MCM 39 yardline and moved the ball steadily downfield, helped by 2 MCM offsides calls. Lucas Hueser busted up the middle and was stopped just short of the goal. Ben Swatek finished it off on the next play. EPJ’s 2-point try failed.
It didn’t take long for MCM to answer. Their drive took just over 2 minutes, but they also missed a 2-point conversion.
EPJ had to punt on their next possession and the Cougars took over on their own 31. They moved the ball to EPJ’s 31, forcing Husky head coach Jake Terry to call a time-out. EPJ held on 3 downs, but a completion to the 2 put the Cougars in close and they scored on the next possession. This time, the 2-point try was good and they took a 14-6 lead.
Garrett Merkley had something to say on the kick-off return, taking it 82 yards to the house. EPJ ran in the 2-point conversion to tie it 14-14.
The EPJ defense held on the next series and the Huskies got the ball back at their 20 after a punt into the end zone. The offense only went backwards, with intentional grounding called on a 3rd and 29. Devon Schmitz was in the end zone to punt but pounded a beauty out to the 50.
EPJ took the kickoff and tried a reverse to Merkley, but this time MCM was ready for him. A penalties and couple of incompletions put the Huskies in punt formation, but this time a bad snap netted Schmitz only 17 yards.
The Husky defense stepped up again and got the ball back. EPJ scored, but missed the 2-point conversion for just a 20-14 lead at halftime.
The second half was all Cougars. They ran the ball up the gut, had 1 TD called back, but scored on the next play to lead 28-20.
A 38-yard pass from Noah McDermott to Merkley got the ball to the 27, but a Husky fumble turned it over on the 11. MCM drove the length of the field, but the defense came up big. On 1st and goal for the Cougars, Chace Fornia got a big hit, driving the runner back to the 10. Then EPJ broke up 2 passes in the end zone and stopped MCM at the line of scrimmage to get the ball back. EPJ didn’t have much luck moving the ball, but Schmitz’s fake punt went to the 30 for a 1st down. A fumble on the next play gave the ball back to MCM. They worked the ball to the 5, but Carson Timmins intercepted what would have been a touchdown pass to stop that drive.
The Cougars had 1 more successful drive to end the game 36-20.
See full story in this week’s Leader-Courier.