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Cougars go 10-0

November 05, 2005|By MARK KELLER

keller@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Being a punter, Thomas Teyssier isn't used to basking in the glow of the spotlight.

He took full advantage of the opportunity Friday night.

Teyssier was one of several Cougars to put the "special" in special teams at Rip Engle Stadium, pinning Waynesboro on the 1-yard line late in the fourth quarter to help No. 1 Jefferson seal a 33-22 victory over the Indians and complete the first 10-0 regular season in school history.

Josh Brown also did his part, returning the opening kickoff of the second half 85 yards for a touchdown to give the Cougars the lead for good, 26-22.

"We can thank Coach Davidson and Coach Grantham for that," Jefferson coach Richard Mills said. "They work with the special teams for half an hour to an hour every day. They're the ones responsible for that. It is something that we do take seriously."

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Mills was serious, too, when he pulled Teyssier aside before he went on the field for his kick with 2 minutes, 30 seconds left in the game and the Cougars clinging to their four-point lead.

"He yanked on my helmet and said, 'I want it on the 1,'" Teyssier said.

Teyssier obliged. Kicking from about midfield, Teyssier lofted a beauty toward the right sideline. The ball hit at around the 12-yard line and again at the 5 before bouncing out of bounds just before hitting the pylon at the goal line.

"He's gone to a lot of kicking camps and really has a lot of potential, but sometimes I have to tell him to kick it out of bounds. He wants to go for the distance," Mills said. "He really nailed that one for us."

The magnitude of that kick was shown on the very next play, when Waynesboro quarterback Alex Barone rolled right and threw into double coverage from the back of the end zone. Jefferson's Justin Grantham came down with the interception at the 15 and returned it all the way for a touchdown.

Grantham picked off another pass on Waynesboro's final drive of the night to ice the victory.

The Cougars took a 6-0 lead in the first quarter when Brendan McLaughlin took a reverse 21 yards for a touchdown, getting help on a big block from quarterback Patrick Burns in the process.

Waynesboro (2-8) was able to move the ball on the Cougars, who are rated second in the West Virginia Class AAA playoff standings. The Indians came up empty on their first drive when Zach Settlage's 35-yard field goal flew wide left. But the running combinaton of Barone and Mike McKenzie kept Waynesboro moving down the field.

McKenzie returned a kickoff 35 yards, then broke off a 16-yard gain to get the ball inside the Jefferson 35. After Barone hit Devin Sims with a 17-yard pass, the quarterback kept the ball on an option play and scampered 16 yards for a score and a 7-6 lead.

"We've run the option well all year and it didn't look like they were prepared for it," Waynesboro coach Darwin Seiler said. "It takes real assignment football to defend that well and it's hard for anyone to guess 100 percent of the time where the ball is going to go."

Brown quickly put the Cougars back on top, running a reverse to the left for an 85-yard touchdown and a 12-7 advantage.

McKenzie scored twice in the second quarter, doing a fine balancing act to keep his feet on a 2-yard scoring run and showing a burst of speed on a 22-yard touchdown just 2 minutes later to give Waynesboro a 22-12 lead.

"McKenzie, he's a hell of a running back. I wish him the best of luck in college," Mills said. "Any team would be happy to have a back like him running the ball for them."

The Cougars closed the gap ro 22-19 with 3 minutes left in the first half when Burns hit McLaughlin in stride for a 45-yard touchdown.

Mills said the Jefferson locker room was not a pleasant place to be at halftime. The mood lightened on the Cougars sideline after Brown's electrifying run to start the second half.

It was the kind of shift in momentum the Indians could not afford to give up.

"That kind of play just kills you. It's like you just gave one away," Seiler said. "It put us in a hole and we had to try to fight out of it the rest of the second half. And it pumped them up."

The game was slowed by 21 penalties, including 12 against the Cougars. More than 200 yards in penalties were walked off.

For the second straight year, the Indians held their own against a strong West Virginia team before coming up on the losing side of the scoreboard.

"I'm not saying this to demean anyone, because Jefferson is a quality football team, a very good team," Seiler said. "But maybe we should be playing in West Virginia."

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