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By Mike Scott
The 2021 Highland Cougars brought their arsenal of experienced players to Kahoka on Friday, as the Clark County Indians and Cougars opened their Clarence Cannon Conference season.
The high-scoring Cougars tallied 111 points in their first two games of the season, and allowed only 14 points. The Indians had a solid win on the road Wright City, but were hobbled by a strong Priory Ravens team in game two.
The Cougars won the coin toss, and elected to receive to open the game. Highland used a mix of strong running and quick passes by quarterback Drew Mallet to methodically drive 73 yards to score first on a pass play from Mallett to Devin Stutsman. The two-point run by Mallett gave the Cougars and 8-0 lead with 8:31 on the clock in the first quarter.
Clark County gained a first down on their opening possession, but then had to punt the ball away.
Clark County’s defense forced Highland to punt on their next two possessions, and the Indian offense got the ball with good field position. Indian quarterback Noah Ferrell went long, but was picked off, giving Highland the ball at their own 11-yard line.
A big run by Robert Goehl pushed the ball into Indian territory, and Highland to gain two first downs before Goehl powered his way into the end zone with a 14-yard run. Goehl capped the scoring, adding the two-point conversion, and Highland led 16-0 late in the second quarter.
The ensuing kickoff went into the end zone, so the Indians started their drive at the 20. A solid effort by Wyatt Randall gave Clark County a first down, and a Drew Holsted run moved the chains again. A third-and-14 pass to Randall moved the ball across midfield, but the Indians could push farther, and turned the ball over on downs at the Cougar 42-yard line with less than a minute remaining in the half.
Mallett connected with Brandon Holder with a bomb pass down the sidelines, and Highland had a first down at the Indian 20-yard line. The Cougars couldn’t get much closer, and lined up for a field goal attempt with just seconds remaining. The Indian defense blocked the kick, and at the half, Clark County trailed 16-0.
In the second half, the Indians gained a pair of first downs, moving close to midfield before stalling. The punt by Jonny Shinn was downed on the Cougar three-yard line, Highland went to work. A pass interference penalty gave Highland the ball at the 18, giving them some working room. Eight plays later, Mallet would score on a 37 yard run. A two-point pass attempt to Cameron Bringer was knocked away, and Highland led 22-0 with 4:41 left in the third quarter.
A third down Clark County pass was picked off by Bringer, setting up. 36 yard, one-play drive by the Cougars, and Mallett connected with Bringer. A two-point pass to Goehl gave Highland a 30-0 lead with 3:01 left in the third.
The Indians would drive into Cougar territory on their next possession, with Randall taking a pitch out from backup quarterback Callan Wheeler, then hurdling a Cougar defender. Shinn moved the ball to the 26 with a nice run, but Clark County would turn the ball over on downs.
The Indian defense wasn’t ready to give up, and they held their own on the next series, blocking a Cougar punt and getting their best field position of the game. But Clark County would turn over the ball on the Highland 8-yard line.
Mallett broke through the Indian line for a 92- yard touchdown run. A two-point pass to Goehl gave Highland the 38-0 win.
Clark County had a total of 193 yards of offense, 145 on the ground and 48 passing yards. The Indians turned the ball over three times. Wheeler threw for 34 yards, and Ferrell had 14 yards passing.
Wyatt Randall led both rushing and receiving, with 70 yards on the ground, and 24 yards receiving. Other rushing totals were: Shinn-26, Adam St. Clair-15, Holsted-14, Ferrell-6 and Wheeler-3. Other pass reception yards were: Holsted-10, Briston Kirchner-9, and Lucus Eddleman-5.
Highland had 232 yards passing and 263 on the ground.
Clark County will travel to 1-2 South Shelby next Friday. Highland will be at home versus the 1-2 Macon Tigers.