Cougars Thump The Yellow Jackets

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Sebastian Baliles carries the ball behind lead blocker Addison Hook. Photo by DJ Underwood.


       After a tough loss up the road in Tellico Plains last week the boys in the Basin were back to the grindstone this week. Multiple mental mistakes and a night of struggling to get everyone in sync left much to work on as they readied themselves for this week’s contest. The Copper Basin Cougars went back to it and were ready to prove themselves against Region 3-1A opponent Lookout Valley. Prove themselves they did.

       The Cougars wasted no time making a statement. On their opening drive they pieced together a strong offensive series and crossed the goal line fairly quickly. With a successful two-point conversion attempt the home team was able to jump out to an 8 – 0 lead early. On the ensuing kickoff Basin was able to recover an onside kick and the offense headed back out onto the field. The Cougars would not take their foot off of the gas. A couple of plays into the drive, Sebastian Baliles breaks through the line and skates down the middle of the field for his first of many touchdowns on the evening. With another successful two-point conversion the Cougars were setting the tempo for the rest of the evening.

       Though Basin was red hot on offense, the Yellow Jackets were nowhere near ready to lay down and quit. With Copper Basin kicking off, Lookout Valley was ready for a short kick. The Yellow Jacket return man was able to exploit one of the Cougars coverage lanes and almost took the ball for 6. Sebastian Baliles was not ready to let that happen though and chased down the returner from across the field. Lookout Valley got the ball at their four yard line and after a couple of attempts, Jacob Winchester was able to bulldoze his way across the goal line to put the Yellow Jackets on the board. 

       The Cougars took the ball back and took their time marching down the field. With just over two minutes left in the first quarter, Baliles was able to squeeze into the front corner of the endzone on foot. Baliles’ second score of the night, along with another two-point conversion, brought the score to 24 – 7. This would be the score for the rest of the first quarter and most of the second. With five minutes left in half, Joe Boggs kept the ball and found his way 38 yards down the field to get the Cougars back inside the redzone. Once again, Baliles sniffed out a lane and punched home another score. A failed two-point conversion brings the score to 30 – 13 Basin. Lookout Valley, not wanting to go into halftime with such a big gap in the score, put together a strong offensive drive. With the ball on the Lookout Valley 25 yard line, the Jackets QB threw a laser to a streaking receiver and added to the bounty. Copper Basin held strong and stopped the Yellow Jacket’s two-point conversion. The two teams would head back to regroup for the half with a score of Copper Basin 30 – Lookout Valley 19.

Joe Boggs stiff-arms defender. Photo by DJ Underwood.

       Both teams made good adjustments during the half and came out to battle. It would not be until five minutes left in the third quarter before either team scored. The Yellow Jackets struck and brought the score within five points at 30 – 25 after an unsuccessful attempt at another two-point conversion. Basin would then take the ball and begin their march back to the goal. They were moving the ball well when a Lookout Valley defender was able to get a hand on the ball just enough to cause a fumble and just like that the Jackets were back on the offensive. Being in the position to take the lead for the first time in the evening, Lookout Valley was not timid with the rock. They moved the ball well and put pressure on the Basin defense. The Basin defense was not going to give much ground though. Lookout Valley’s quarterback got just a bit too aggressive and Copper Basin’s Johnathon Johnson was able to make a play on a pass and snatch it out of the air. This thievery gave the Cougars the ball again and took away the Yellow Jackets opportunity to capitalize on the fumble recovery from the previous drive. The Cougars would not waste this opportunity to pounce ahead. After a long drive, Joe Boggs was able to find the endzone on a keep from a short distance. The two-point conversion brought the score to 38 – 25. The two teams spent the next few series trading blows until, with six minutes left in the game, Kadan Williams took his turn at showing his play making abilities with an interception. The Cougars would then put together a two minute series of offensive plays that would culminate in Sebastian Baliles’ fourth and final touchdown of the evening on a nineteen yard foot race. The two-point conversion would be the final score for either team on the evening bringing the total to Copper Basin 46 – Lookout Valley 25.  

       The take-aways from this game were that the defense, though young and still developing, did a better job once the ball got past the front four and with pass coverage. There is still room to grow, but these young men are putting in the work and getting better each week. The defensive ends did a great job as well. Addison Hook collected three sacks on the night and kept pressure on the Lookout Valley quarterback. With Kade Foster bookending the other side of the line putting the pressure on from his side, and the middle men going to war in the trenches against a big, Jerome Bettis-esque running back in Lookout Valley’s Jacob Winchester, the Cougars defensive line made the Yellow Jackets work for their yardage. For the offensive side of the ball, there was no doubt that Sebastian Baliles was able to turn it on. The seasoned ball carrier was able to amass 180 yards on the ground, 28 yards in the air, four trips to Touchdown Town, and some big plays on defense such as keeping a kickoff returner from reaching the goal line. The front five made it happen in the land of giants and were able to get enough movement and create holes for Baliles to take off. Joe Boggs also contributed by keeping the defense honest and not letting them focus solely on Baliles. They also had to contend with Boggs on the ground and in the air to various capable receivers in the Cougar Air Corps. Thanks to this and Baliles ability to get major yards after contact, the Cougars were able to put the claws to a region foe and clinch a spot in the playoffs. The Cougars will be on the road for what could pan out to be another tough cat fight in the Meigs County Tigers this coming Friday. Get out and soak up the fall weather and the fleeting minutes under the Friday night lights as you support your Copper Basin Cougars!

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