Newton County ready to face Collins, again
By By Marty Stamper / EMG sports assistant
Nov. 27, 2002
Ever since losing 19-12 to Collins a year ago in the third round of the Class 3A state playoffs, the Newton County Cougars have made getting a rematch with the Tigers their top priority.
Not only did the loss spoil Newton County's perfect season in 2001, but the fact that Collins went on to win the 3A state title had several Newton Countians thinking that title could and should have been theirs.
Kickoff at Collins' Jack Bailey Stadium is set for 7 p.m. Both teams come in with perfect 13-0 marks. Collins has a 25-game win streak, while Newton County has won 13 in a row and 25 of its last 26 with Collins being the lone blemish. The two have been ranked Nos. 1-2 in the state in 3A for the entire season.
The Newton County-Collins winner will play the Corinth-Amory winner for the 3A state championship a week from Saturday.
That was the undoing of the 2001 Cougars as they were forced to settle for field goal attempts.
Collins head coach Bruce Merchant is all-too-familiar with the Cougars. While his Tigers have a tremendous quick-strike potential, he says the Cougars rely on another strategy.
Merchant doesn't think playing at Collins will be much of an advantage for his team.
The Cougars are led offensively by senior running back Darryl Mapp's 22 touchdowns. Senior running back David Fielder has nine, senior wide receiver Delvion Merrell has five, senior running backs Derek Mapp and Terrance Patrick and sophomore running back Willie Windham each have four, and sophomore quarterback Colby Amis has two. Junior kicker Taylor Nichols has 33 extra points, while senior kicker Mylan Anderson has four field goals including a long kick of 50 yards.
Leading the Cougar defense are Terrance Patrick, Trellis Skinner, Derek Mapp, Josh Avant, Michael Johnson, Dexter McCune, and Fielder.
The Cougars are averaging 30.6 points and giving up just 2.6. Collins puts up 38.7 points per contest and allows 8.7. The Tiger starters have surrendered just 3.8 points per game.
Leading the Collins offense are quarterback Kethone McLaurin, who has passed for 1,702 yards and 26 touchdowns; running back Voncarie Owens, who has over 1,100 yards and 20 touchdowns; and wide receiver Brandon McDonald, who had 41 catches for 982 yards prior to last week's 17-8 win at Greene County.
Four of last year's starting offensive linemen are back and none of the players go both ways for the Tigers.
Back in the lineup last week after missing nearly the entire season after breaking his toe against Quitman is wide receiver Chris Grantham. He caught touchdown passes of 48 and 8 yards against Greene County.
Leading the Tiger defense is Dandy Dozen lineman Corey Clark (6-3, 285).
Merchant did have some advice for those traveling to the game at the 3,500-seat stadium. "Get there early."
The series is even at 1-1. Newton County won 7-0 in the 2000 playoffs with Collins winning last year. Both of those games were played at Decatur.