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Cougars surrender to Lee, Hampshire

August 30, 2003|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. - Donnie Tucker probably wished he could have written his debut as Jefferson's football coach the way he scripted his offense.

"If this were a dream, it isn't the way I would have had it come out," Tucker said Friday after his first outing with the Cougars. "I thought we'd have a better showing than this."

Jefferson struggled through a comedy of errors while Hampshire ended any possible drama behind a 146-yard, four-touchdown performance by running back Alex Lee to score convincing 55-22 victory.

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The Trojans poured on 27 points in the fourth quarter as the heat wore down the Jefferson defense. Hampshire rushed for 330 yards and scored the last three times it had the ball.

Meanwhile, Jefferson had trouble executing long snaps on special teams and in shotgun situations, opening the door for many short-field drives for the Trojans.

"We played in spurts, and playing in spurts isn't going to get it done," Tucker said. "We made some special teams mistakes that they ended up scoring on. But we have to move on. This one is done and we can't do anything to change it."

At least the first quarter could have been a keeper.

Jefferson owned a 7-0 lead, using its speed and ability to get outside of Hampshire's containing defense. The Cougars started their second possession with a pair of reverse runs by receiver Jeremy Maley to open up Codie Gustines' pass to Joshua Brown for a 44-yard score.

But Hampshire was able to come back, first with the help of Jefferson's special teams before capping it off with a misdirection play to the right that resulted in five touchdowns.

"That's going to hurt us because other teams are going to see than on films," Tucker said. "They are going to see we are young on defense and that we move to the first motion we see and have the tendency to get out of position."

After Lee scored his first TD to tie the game 7-7, Jefferson answered on the ensuing kickoff, using some razzle-dazzle to show off its speed. Brown received the kick and pitched it back to Jason Reifer, who handed it off to Justin Nelson on a reverse to start a 76-yard return for touchdown.

Hampshire took a 20-14 lead at the half by scoring in the final 17 seconds. After a bad snap on a punt resulted in an incomplete pass, the Trojans took over on the Cougars' 12 and scored on the third play, using a 7-yard scramble by quarterback T.M. Frye.

"I thought we had been playing them even up until then," Tucker said. "That took all the momentum away and it was downhill from there."

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