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Staying alive: Cougars earn playoff bid

15-morgan-king

By: Railey Ayers

Most people would say that no one can know the significance of a moment until it has passed, but when senior Morgan King broke up SMCA’s last pass attempt as time expired, he and everyone in attendance last Thursday night knew how much weight the moment held.

In their biggest and oldest rivalry game, the Cougars outscored the South Montgomery Academy Raiders for the 13th year in a row.

Through the four quarters of play and two overtimes, this year’s score of 35-28 was their closest played game yet. Stakes were raised even higher as the game continued, because both the Cougars and the Raiders were fighting for the same thing: a spot in the playoffs.

“This was easily one of our biggest games of the year, and I’m so proud that we could come out with a win. It’s our senior night, it’s our oldest rivalry game- I’ve been at CCA since K-4 and in all my years here we have never lost a football game to these guys-and the winner of this game lives to play another game. There was an unbelievable amount of pressure on all of us, and our defense’s last series on this field was a goal line stand. It was a monumental thing,” said King, the Cougars’ game saving-hero who not only broke up the final pass, and had an interception that ruined the Raiders’ game-winning two-point conversion to send the game into overtime.

“I keep hearing guys talk like they’re not satisfied, like they never play South Montgomery this close, and how bad it is that the game went into overtime. It’s being seen as a letdown by some people in our locker room, but I need y’all to realize that it’s not. South Montgomery only trailed Chambers 20-14 at the half when they played. They only lost to Lowndes 15-2. Honestly, we beat a team that’s probably as good as we are,” said head coach Mike Sims to the seniors in his office after the game.

“They’re not the SMCA they used to be. They played most teams better than we did. This was a huge step, and a huge win that you should be proud of.”

Senior Junior Wright led the CCA rushing attack with 100 yards and two touchdowns, and junior Quashaun LaPrade followed with 98 yards. Senior quarterback Cole Roper completed 12 of 25 passes for 188 yards and four touchdowns, with three interceptions.

Sophomore Logan Johnson lead the defense statistically with 12 tackles, and juniors Tyler Henderson and Gauge Cornelius followed with 10 each.

With the win, Crenshaw earns the opportunity to face the No. 1 seeded, defending 2A state champion Marengo Academy.

“It will be a huge task, but we’re working to win at practice this week. We can’t overestimate Marengo and underestimate ourselves, because while Marengo is the No. 1 seed, they’re also in the weakest region in the state.”

“Don’t count us out,” Wright said, “because I know I’m not. I’m ready to fight another week.”

“[Marengo] is a great team, and it will take near perfect execution and a winning effort to beat them, but there is no doubt in my mind that it’s possible with those things.

The Cougars will travel to Linden to face the Marengo Academy longhorns next Thursday at 7. A spirit bonfire/send off will be held for the team Tuesday at 6 p.m., and is open to the public.