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Cougars celebrate playoff game by ensuring another

November 12, 2005|By TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. - Friday night marked the first time an extra week of football was played at Jefferson. Things turned out good enough, there will be yet another week.

Jefferson worked around a bevy of penalties and methodically de-iced the Fairmont Senior Polar Bears 39-7 on Friday in the first round of the West Virginia Class AAA playoffs.

As a reward, the Herald-Mail's No. 1-ranked Cougars will return for a home game against University, a 28-24 winner over Bridgeport, in next weekend's quarterfinals, with the date and time to be announced.

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Jefferson (11-0) was whistled for 13 penalties totaling 139 yards, making it 30 penalties in the last two weeks. However, Ryland Newman and his teammates overcame it with 462 yards rushing on 42 carries, a whopping 11-yard average.

"The penalties keep mounting up, but I really don't know what to do," said Cougars coach Richard Mills. "We see it one way on the sideline and (the officials) see it another way. They're the ones with the flags.

"You want to cut down the penalties, but you can't take the aggressiveness out of the kids."

Newman splurged for a career-high 295 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries, the first coming on the Cougars' third play from scrimmage, as he ran 57 yards after taking a pitchout from quarterback Patrick Burns.

A 1-yard TD sneak by Burns in the first period and an 8-yard scoring pass from Burns to Brendan McLaughlin in the second period opened up a 21-0 margin, and the Cougars went into halftime up, 21-7.

Newman immediately hurt the Polar Bears on the first play from scrimmage to open the second half.

With a huge hole awaiting him, the 5-foot-9 junior waltzed through and outraced Fairmont defenders before he made an unsportsmanlike dive into the end zone for a 28-7 lead.

In the final period, with Jefferson on its own 3-yard line after Christopher Day pounced on a fumble, Newman burst through the middle for a 76-yard score at the 7:42 mark.

"I had big holes from the offensive line and I made good cutbacks," said Newman, whose previous single-game rushing high was 217 yards earlier this year against Fort Hill. "I'm confident in what I can do and I think we've got a good chance (in the playoffs) this year."

The Cougars' offense sputtered at times, failing to take full advantage of five turnovers by the Polar Bears. Day scooped up two fumbles and Tremain Bailey pounced on one, and all-purpose threat Josh Brown had two interceptions.

Brown also had one punt return of 46 yards that helped lead to McLaughlin's TD, and another of 45 yards in the third quarter when he toured most of the field as he dazzled the crowd, and Fairmont Senior, by taking the football at his own 31 and reaching the Polar Bears 24. In between, he went from the Fairmont sidelines, backward, forward, to the middle of the field around the 50, backward again, made a few dazzling cuts and headed toward the Jefferson sideline before he was caught.

"Yeah, it was a great feeling with those punts, but it's a great feeling to get this playoff win," said Brown. "All week coach talked about getting on them early. We just need to work on the penalties."

Jefferson and Fairmont scrimmaged before the start of the season, and Mills said Fairmont had improved.

"Their passing game with the spread offense was very good and (Gerald Kelly) was an outstanding runner," said Mills. "(Chris) Day and the rest of the defense played great football."

The Cougars held Kelly to 22 yards on seven carries, including 15 on one burst, as he managed to climb over 1,000 yards on his season.

All told, Fairmont managed 288 total yards, 219 coming in the second half.

Jefferson's Stephen Gaskins added 60 yards on seven carries and Burns picked up 42 yards, many on bootleg plays. The Cougars' final score came in the last two minutes when Justin Grantham bolted for a 65-yard score.

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