PINETOPS – After losing two consecutive conference games, the SouthWest Edgecombe Cougars battled back and played like they did in the beginning of Eastern Plains Conference action this year in what could be head coach Raymond Cobb's last home game coaching as the Cougars head coach. Cobb is retiring at the end of the season after 25 years of being a head coach in Edgecombe County.
With it being senior night, the Cougars responded in a big way for their coach and seniors by blowing out the Greene Central Rams 52-6.
Cobb and his Cougars gathered in the end zone after the game with all the fans listening to his post game speech as he told his team, "This was fun" speaking about the victory. He said he had envisioned them playing like that all season.
SouthWest finishes the season with a 5-5 overall record and are 4-2 in the conference. The Cougars will finish in at least third place in the conference.
"I am very proud of our team for responding the way they did after losing two games in a row," Cobb said. "Everyone played well for us and I was glad that I could get some of the other guys in there and get some playing time for those who haven't played much for us this season."
The only touchdown the Cougars defense allowed was after the opening kickoff when the ball went backwards and gave the Rams good field position. The Rams put a five play, 36 yard drive together and capped it off with an Akeem Bynum one yard touchdown run. Other then that drive by the Rams, the Cougars played solid defense the rest of the game.
"That opening drive for them didn't help out any with that kick we had to begin the game," Cobb said. "They scored on that first possession and boy did our team respond in a big way after that."
The Cougars rushed for 383 yards and threw for 80 for a combined 463 yards, but their defense held the Rams to only 232 yards of offense, which Cobb said was great because the Rams had been averaging over 330 yards a gain offensively.
Cobb was especially pleased with his second group of running backs, because he said they will be the ones that will be depended on next year.
Cougars senior running back Gerald Hinton ignited the offensive spark for SouthWest on their first possession. Facing a second and nine from the Rams 34-yard line, Hinton took the hand off from quarterback Quay Wooten and darted to the left side of the Cougars offensive line where they had a big hole opened for Hinton, but he cut it back to the right and sprinted 34-yards for the TD. He added the two-point conversion to give the Cougars an 8-6 lead.
On the Cougars second possession, Hinton responded for the Cougars again. This time from the Rams 31-yard line for his second TD run and the Cougars led 16-6.
In the second quarter, SouthWest blew the game wide open when they scored 20 unanswered points. Fullback Devontrell Hyman added two scores from three and seven yards, but the biggest play of the quarter came when Wooten hooked up with Anthony Coley on a 55-yard TD pass that Coley leaped above two Ram defenders and caught. SouthWest led 36-6 at halftime.
Hinton added his third TD of the game on a 2-yard run in the third and then in the fourth quarter, backup QB Taquan Battle punched it in from 13-yards out.
Hinton led the Cougars offensively this season. He finished the regular season with 175 carries for 1,399 yards and scored 20 TDs. This was the second year that
Fullbacks Devonte Williams and Hyman combined for 680 yards and five TDs this season.
Wooten added a spark at the QB spot throwing for 461 yards and 4 TDs while throwing three interceptions. He also rushed for seven TDs.
Now that the Cougars regular season is over with, they have to sit and wait to see who they will play in the first round of the NCHSAA state playoffs.
Cobb and his Cougars won't be just sitting and waiting though, because he said they are going to work on themselves this week. He is giving his team Monday off, but they will get back to work Tuesday and go three straight days and work on all three phases of the game.
"We are going to work on us this week," Cobb said. "We are going to try and get better at certain phases of our game and prepare for the playoffs."
Cobb is bringing up 12 players from the JV team that he said could possibly help them out on special teams in the playoffs.