The varsity football game last Friday night was a tale of two halves. In the first half of action, the Cougars came out a bit flat against a fired up North Raleigh Christian squad and surrendered 17 unanswered points before JD Wimbish found paydirt on a 43 yard scamper. But that would be all the excitement the offense could muster in the first 24 minutes of play as the teams went into half-time with the score at 24-7. After some half-time adjustments, the Cougars came out in the 2nd half with a new attitude and began to take control of the contest. Early in the 3rd quarter, JD Wimbish forced a fumble that was recovered by Jake Marchant, the Cougars took over at their own 40 yardline and never looked back. After two tough runs by Mason McClanahan down to the Knight 44 yardline, Jason Willix took a pitch from Justin Redfern around the left end of the line made one cut and sprinted into the endzone. After the stingy Cougar defense forced a three and out by the Knights, the Cougar offense struck gold again five plays later on a 54 yard run by Justin Redfern bring the Cougars within 3 at 24-21. After a short drive by the Knights was stalled by the Cougar defense, the offense took over at their own 16 and 4 plays later, Mason McClanahan took a hand-off up the middle, kept his feet moving, found daylight and galloped 64 yards into the Knight’s endzone to give the Cougars their first lead of the evening at 28-24. On the Knight’s next drive, Justin Redfern separated a Knight receiver from the football and the fumble was recovered by Jason Willix, putting the Cougars back in business on their own 24 yardline. On the first play, Justin Redfern started left, cut back to the right and sprinted 76 yards down the Knight’s sideline into the endzone, stretching the Cougar lead to 11 at 35-24. The next Knight drive was thwarted by an outstanding defensive play by Jason Willix who deflected a pass that then ended up in the hands of Justin Redfern. The Cougars quickly converted the turnover into points 5 plays later when Jason Willix took a handoff from Myles Martino and quickly covered the 46 yards to the endzone bring the score to 41-24. The Knights would eventually get back into the endzone with just under 4 minutes remaining in the contest to bring the score to 41-32. The Cougars fumbled the ball back to the Knights giving them some hope, but on 4th and 1, defensive lineman Jake Marchant made a beautiful play, deflecting a screen pass from the Knight’s QB and giving the ball back to the Cougars. Cannon took over at the Knight 47 and handed the ball to Myles Martino. Myles put on a show, breaking through the line and breaking numerous tackles en route to a 44 yard run down to the NRCA 3 yard line. Justin Redfern finished the scoring for the night with a 3 yard run bringing the final score to 48-24. The Cougar offense ended the night with 617 yards rushing on 49 attempts for an average of 12.6 yards per carry. Justin Redfern led all rushers with 212 yards on 16 carries (13.25 yds/att and 3 TDs). Mason McClanahan carried 12 times for 118 yards (9.8 yds/att; 1 TD); Jason Willix carried 6 times for 109 (18.2 yds/att; 2 TDs); JD Wimbish carried 12 times for 103 yards (8.6 yds/att; 1 TD); and Myles Martino carried 11 times for 75 yards (6.8 yds/att). Defensively, the Cougars were led by John-Morgan Wilson with 16 tackles, followed by Jason Willix with 8 tackles, three defended passes and a fumble recovery. Julian Nunez had 4 tackles, one fumble recovery and a sack; Ryan Creuzberger had 3 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble; Justin Redfern had 3 tackles, a defended pass, a forced fumble and an interception. The Cougars are at home this Friday against last year’s state runner-upWestminsterCatawbaChristianSchool.