By VAN HOLLAND
Cougars fall to Pam Pack in EPC action
By VAN HOLLAND
PINETOPS – SouthWest Edgecombe had a game plan Friday night, but they didn't execute it. The Cougars allowed Washington to dominate the line of scrimmage and control the Cougars running game. SouthWest turned the ball over three times and the play that changed the complexion of the game was the interception in the third quarter which gave Washington a two score lead and helped them go on to defeat the Cougars 27-14 in Eastern Plains Conference action.
"We got beat on the line of scrimmage and made too many mistakes against a very good team," Cougars coach Jonathan Cobb said. "We couldn't catch a break and they were able to use their stretch play like they wanted to and we couldn't stop it."
SouthWest (4-4, 1-1) was able to stop the Pam Pack's running attack in the first half, despite giving up a 51-yard touchdown run to Markel Spencer on just the Pam Pack's fifth play of the game. Washington led 7-0 at the half and Cobb was pleased with that, because the defense was doing what they had worked on and his offense hadn't been able to move the ball like he had planned.
"We made an adjustment on offense and tried different things," Cobb said. "Nothing between the tight ends would work for us. We just couldn't get it flowing because they stopped almost everything we ran at them."
SouthWest got the spark they needed when Qua Wooten intercepted a Brodie West pass and returned it 40 yards to the Pam Pack 32-yard line. Wooten then connected with Fabrion Bandy on a 28-yard pass play and the next play Devontrell Hyman punched it in from 4-yards out. The Cougars two-point conversion failed and they trailed 7-6.
On Washington's ensuing possession, Spencer and Stevie Green had the offense put in their hands. Green contributed 23 yards on three touches and Spencer hit it big from 47 yards out to give Washington the 14-6 lead with 6:31 left in the third quarter.
"They used the same play over and over on the ground to beat us," Cobb said. "We just couldn't stop the stretch play or their backs and we worked on that this week."
On the Cougars ensuing possession, on 1st-and-10, Wooten tried to connect with Hyman in the flats and the ball tipped off Hyman's fingers and fell into a Pam Pack defenders hands and he returned it 60 yards for the TD and Washington led 20-6.
"That pick six was the game changer that gave them the momentum for good," Cobb said. "It was just a swing pass to our back and they defended it the right way and got the interception. It was just a totally different game from that point."
SouthWest was over powered on the line of scrimmage all night, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Washington had big guys clogging the gaps and had linebackers who stayed in the Cougars backfield all night stopping whatever play Cobb ran at them.
"This isn't the first time we got blown off the ball like that," Cobb said. This is basically the fourth time this season we have been beaten on the line like that."
Cobb decided to go to the air. Wooten was 7 for 15, throwing for 93 yards and had the interception, while Quantelleus Norwood was 1 for 2, throwing for 59 yards and threw an interception as well.
"Our only answer was going to the air, not because we wanted to, but because we had too," Cobb said.
Cobb said he needs some leaders to step up and help guide his team when they face adversity. He has some guys who are capable of being that leader, but haven't stepped up yet.
SouthWest plays at Farmville Central Friday.