The Conner Cougars trounced defending 2A champions the Holy Cross Indians 67-21 Friday night. Conner distanced themselves late in the first half with a couple of big plays on both offense and defense.
Conner (2-0) led 7-0 after the first quarter, with a 34-yard touchdown run by Cameron Fogle, but the Cougars threatened twice in that quarter as well with two drives ending on downs deep inside Indian territory. Conner Standout quarterback Drew Barker added the teams second rushing touchdown in the second quarter this time from 39-yards making the score 14-0
Holy Cross (1-2) would answer that score and with just over five minutes remaining in the first half they had cut the deficit to 14-7 when Travis Gabbard hit Vinnie Pangallo on a 17-yard touchdown pass. The game would go back and forth for the next few minutes, Fogle added another touchdown run, two yards that time, putting the Cougars back ahead by two scores at 21-7. The Indians answered with less than two minutes to go in the half on another Pangallo touchdown catch, Mitch Trail threw that one as Holy Cross was utilizing two different quarterbacks in their offense, and the score was 21-14.
Conner would start the blowout on the next play from scrimmage as Cameron Fogle burst through the line going for a 72-yard touchdown run. Holy Cross tried to match the score before halftime, but in their attempt to hurry up the offense the game’s first turnover occurred. Andrew Way picked off a pass inside Cougar territory giving his offense one more chance in the first half. Drew Barker led his team swiftly down the field and from 15 yards out Conner looked to have one play left. Barker dropped back to pass and after finding no one open scrambled those last 15-yards to the end zone, and then added a two point conversion run. The half ended after the kick off on the next play and Conner was up 36-14 when only two minutes before it was a seven point game.
The Cougars pretty much cruised the rest of the way opening the second half with a 49-yard touchdown pass from Barker to Fogle making the score 43-14. Conner would get their total to 53 before the Indians would strike again early in the fourth quarter. Vinnie Pangallo caught his third touchdown pass of the evening, his second from Gabbard, but at 53-21 it was too little and too late for Holy Cross. The Cougars would score two more touchdowns bringing the final score to 67-21.
Standing out on the Conner side of the ball was their quick strike ability, as they held a 22 point lead at the half while the Indians had the ball for nearly seven more minutes of that half. The Barker to Fogle connection could have added one more long pass touchdown if not for an illegal man down field penalty, and of course the two didn’t see very much playing time late in the game either.
Holy Cross deserves some credit here as they were playing up several classes, and really held their own in that first half before the wheels fell off. At a few points late in the first half Indians head coach Bruce Kozerski really started steaming, between his players and the refs it was evident in those times that no one wants to be on the wrong end of one of his angry moments, as the former NFL player showed that he still has that kind of intensity for the game which surely also helped guide his team to the title last season.
Next up for the Cougars is a trip to Dixie Heights to face the rebuilding Colonels, who are coming off a bye week and will surely be ready for Conner with two weeks to prepare. Holy Cross will face Beechwood next week, who is 0-2 on the season. That should be a solid contest as both teams come in with losing records and are expected to be playing some desperate football.
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