Cougar JV Finishes Off Another Winning Season on Gridiron

Cougar JV Winds Up 7-3 on the Season
by David Grindstaff

Finishing off another stellar season on the football field has become old hat for the Heritage junior varsity football team.  The Cougars completed the 2013 campaign with a show of strength on both sides of the football in a wild shootout with Madison in the season finale this past Thursday night in Burnsville.
The win allowed the Cougars to finish the season at 7-3 overall, near the top of the standings in the Western Highlands Conference.
“This year has truly been a team effort and I am proud to have been associated with such a great group of young men,” Cougar JV Coach Ronnie Randolph said following the game.  S
The Cougars received the opening kickoff and Justin Keener) gave Heritage good field position at the Madison 40. Two plays later Maleek Smith) raced for a 33 yard t TD  run and along with the two point conversion run by QB Bryson Cooper Heritage was in business leading 8-0.
The Cougar defense allowed Madison to run 6 plays before the Patriots turned the ball over on downs at Heritage 45.
On first down Maleek Smith showed why is is considered s force to be reckoned with in the WHC when he slipped through a hole and out ran everyone 55 yards to pay-dirt. Keener’s 2 point run allowed Heritage to take a seemingly commanding 16-0 lead with 5:41 left in the opening stanza.
The Cougars went up top to increase their lead to 24-0 before quarters end. Bryson Cooper and AJ Hensley will be two names long remembered in Cougars JV football lore. The two have hooked up for numerous TD toss and catch plays this season.  The two did the dance again just before the end of the first quarter, this time traveling a distance of m43 yards for the score.  A two point grab by Michael Austin finished off a near perfect first quarter for the Cougars.
The Heritage lead swelled to 30-0 in the second quarter following a 15 yard TD jaunt by Justin Keener. the scored was set up by a pass from Cooper to Tyler Holcombe.
Madison finally got on the board with an 85 yard kickoff return. But Heritage quickly countered when AJ Hensley returned the ensuing Patriot kickoff to the Madison 23 and on the next play the sophomore wide out took a reverse 23 yards to the house.  Heritage led 38-6 following Bryson Cooper’s two point run.
Another long kickoff return by the Patriots set up a short TD run to trim the Heritage lead    midpoint of the second quarter.
But the Cougar offense was not finished.  On the heels of Mike Bingham and Josh Meadows, Heritage drove down and scored again just before the intermission when Maleek Smith slipped in from a yard out. The two point run by Josh Meadows was good and the Cougars were cruising 46-14at the half.
Heritage, playing mostly reserves in the second half, added a touchdown run by Maleek Smith   in the 4th quarter while Madison made the score look much more respectable with 30 points in the second half.
“My coaching staff (Coach Bell Coach Barnette and Coach Flynn) and managers (Alex McMahan and TJ Cook) have been great this year.,” Coach Randolph said.
We have asked a number of players to play key positions for the first time in their careers.  Each and every one of that player accepted this task and performed above expectations.” Coach Randolph added.
He pointed to defensive leaders on the team on defense this year were (Alex Welsh, Tyler Holcombe, Adam Shuford, Devon Woody, Cory Presnell, and Justin Keener) as key to the team’s success. 
“Our offensive line did a great job providing pass protection and opening running lanes for our backs all season long.  All of them (Lochlin Austin, Tim Edwards, Jacob Morgan, Adrian Boone, Bubba Seaton, and Michael Austin) were1st year starters, Randolph said. 
The Cougar ground attack was lead by Maleek Smith, Justin Keener and Josh Meadows).
Randolph thanked all of the player’s parents who supported the effort all season and all of the young men who worked hard to be successful and represent Yancey County as gentlemen both on and off the football field.

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