Cougars take 4th straight title win
By By Jeff Byrd/staff writer
November 2, 2002
HEIDELBERG An overflow crowd of 4,500 came to Jones Field to see if the Heidelberg Oilers could wrestle away Newton County's grip on the Region 5-3A football title.
Try as they might, the Oilers couldn't overcome the balanced offensive attack and solid front seven of the Cougars. Newton County remains unbeaten moving to 10-0 on the season and in the process wins its fourth straight division championship with the 24-6 victory.
Heidelberg, who had won seven straight games since a loss to 4A power Noxubee County, falls to 8-2. For Oilers head coach Larry McGill, the difference came up front.
What Heidelberg wanted to do was control the ball with an option attack. They had a promising opening drive of 53 yards but it stalled out the Cougar 12. From there on, the Oilers would gain only 103 more yards with 50 of it coming on one big pass play in the third quarter.
Cougar head coach Jeff Breland said his team had to overcome a hostile crowd and a tough Oiler team to win its 10th straight game.
Both teams will be at home for the first round. Newton County will take on North Pike, the No. 4 team from Region 7 while Heidelberg will host the No. 3 team from Region 7, Wilkinson County.
Instead of trying a short field goal, the Oilers went for it on fourth down but Michael Johnson's pass fell incomplete and Heidelberg got nothing out of its best and only sustained drive of the night.
Following an exchange of punts, the Cougars got rolling when quarterback Colby Amis hit Terrance Patrick on a safety valve pass for a 19-yard gain into Oiler territory at the 44.
On the third play of the second quarter, Darryl Mapp broke a tackle at the line and bounced it outside for a 29-yard touchdown run. Taylor Nichols booted the PAT kick for a 7-0 lead with 10:47 left in the half.
On the Oilers ensuing possession, Newton County's Micheal Johnson caught a fumble in mid-air after it slipped out of the grasp of Heidelberg's Johnson. The Cougar tackle rumbled 29 yards to the Oiler 17.
Three plays later, David Fielder cracked in from the eight for the touchdown. Nichols' kick made it 14-0 with 8:02 left in the half.
A lost fumble at the Oiler 10 cost the Cougars some points late in the half. But the NCHS defense forced a quick-three-and-out giving the offense the ball back at the 48 with 1:12 left.
Amis hit a 27-yard pass to Ken Windham to set up a 30-yard field goal by Mylan Anderson. The successful kick came on the final play of the half giving the Cougars a 17-0 lead.
Amis was intercepted by the Oilers' Robert Sanders who returned it 22 yards to the Cougar 43 early in the third quarter.
Johnson then hit Richard Jordan on an out pattern which Jordan broke for a 50-yard gain to the Cougar two. It took two runs by Douglas Ryan to pick up the touchdown. The Oilers tried for two on another run by Ryan but were stopped leaving the score at 17-6 with 6:05 remaining.
Newton County put the game and the region title on ice with a 53-yard drive that started near the end of the third quarter. Mapp got his second touchdown of the game on a one-yard run to cap it. Nichols' kick made it 24-6 with 8:22 to play.
Mapp finished with 127 yards rushing off 13 carries. The Cougars had 218 total on the ground. Amis was 6-of-14 passing for 110 yards. Windham caught two passes for 47 yards.
Johnson was 4-of-15 for 91 yards passing but was held to minus-3 yards rushing. Ryan, who needed 66 yards for a 1,000 on the season, was limited to 42 yards on 16 carries. Twelve of his carries went for two yards or less against the rugged Cougar defense.