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Cougars' 'D,' weather sinks Hedgesville

October 20, 2007|By John O'Brien / Staff Correspondent

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. - Friday's rainstorm may have delighted almost everyone in the drought-ridden area, but it couldn't have come at a worse time for the Hedgesville Eagles.

Heavy rains led to heavy mud that grounded the Eagles' offense as Jefferson claimed a 15-0 win on its Homecoming weekend. The Cougars' defense allowed Hedgesville only 28 yards as the Eagles' game plan was literally washed away by rain.

Eagles coach Dave Lopez said his team spent the week practicing its four wide receiver offense, preparing to spread Jefferson's defense with a pass-oriented plan of attack. That idea was scrapped once the rain began in the first quarter.

"We thought maybe we'd be able to throw the ball on them a little, spread them out," said Lopez, whose team fell to 2-6. "Once the rain came, we knew we had to do something else. We tried to pound the ball at them."

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Hedgesville finished with only four yards on 26 rushes, including 13 carries for minus-6 yards for tailback Chris Robinson.

"I'm glad the defense stepped up and played that way," Jefferson coach Richard Mills said. "I can't say what (Hedgesville) did or what they planned to do, but our defense played great."

Things went sour for the Eagles from the beginning, starting with the game's first possession at their own 18. J.R. Mayles lost six yards on an end-around play before two incomplete passes by Taylor Hockman forced a punt.

Punter Mo Adams had trouble with the snap, allowing Jefferson's Brandon Hyler to race in to block the punt and recovered the ball eight yards deep in the end zone to give the Cougars (3-5) a 7-0 lead.

"Anytime you give up a blocked punt for a touchdown on the first possession, you're scrambling after that," Lopez said.

Hedgesville's defense actually did its part, allowing only Dewey McDonald's 55-yard touchdown run with 22 seconds left in the first quarter. Hyler ran the 2-point conversion in for a 15-0 lead.

McDonald gained 152 yards on 20 carries, and Hyler ran 14 times for 57 yards. Hyler was 0-of-7 passing, throwing an interception in the end zone to Bryan McIntyre late in the first half.

The Eagles' offensive woes continued in the second half with only one first down coming on a Hockman quarterback sneak. Hockman gained 2 yards on seven carries and completed 5 of 14 passes for 24 yards.

Hedgesville moved for only three first downs and fumbled three times, losing one. Jefferson also had trouble hanging onto the muddy ball, fumbling six times, but only lost one.

Mills said he knew the game was about to get sloppy when the rain started, "especially when I saw the water running off the field like a river and the rest staying in the middle."

Jefferson's six-man front appeared built for that kind of game, which is why Lopez was hoping the rain would hold off.

"All week long we worked on four-wides," he said. "We wanted to try and spread them out and get them out of that six-man line. The weather dictated we'd have to do things different.

"We just couldn't get anything going, get any drives going. That's a heck of a 3-5 football team over there."

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