CCA edges Lakeside, 8-7

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 8, 2004

Coach Roland Jones’ Crenshaw Christian Academy Cougars opened the 2004 gridiron season with a close 8-7 verdict over the Lakeside School Chiefs last Friday night in Eufaula.

Senior tailback Bubba Faulk was the workhorse for CCA as he led all rushers with 193 yards on 32 carries.

Junior fullback Sloan Carter recorded the Cougars' lone score on a two-yard touchdown plunge and his two-point conversion proved to be the difference. Carter finished the evening with 29 yards on nine totes.

&uot;I was proud of the way we stepped it up when we had to," Jones said. "The defense played great and we did a good job on our tackling, but we still need to do some more conditioning."

The Cougars displayed sound tackling and the line dominated the Chiefs throughout the contest.

&uot;We’re not going to be a flashy team, but this bunch can go as far as they want to," Jones said. "Anytime you keep a quarterback that led a 5A school (Eufaula High) to a 13-1 record and the playoffs in check, you know you played a good game."

The Cougars' defense was led by a trio of linebackers including senior Foster Carpenter, who finished with five solo stops and three assists and juniors Andrew Armour and Sloan Carter with 5-1 marks.

Also turning in fine performances were senior Corey Walden with four tackles, junior Shawn Nelson with three stops and sophomore Jon Grayson with a 3-1 card.

Turnovers were almost extinct in Friday’s bout. Each team had one interception in the closing minutes.

Crenshaw mounted a drive from its own six-yard-line following a Chiefs punt and had penetrated inside the Lakeside 20-yard-line before an infraction backed them up. On the next play the Chiefs stopped the Cougar threat with an interception in the end zone.

With two minutes left on the clock and the Chiefs, poised to mount a comeback, Carpenter dropped back and tipped a pass into the waiting arms of sophomore Caleub Mount to seal a Cougars victory.

Field position played a big role in Friday’s bout, as CCA began play twice inside their own 10-yard-line (3 & 6) and only once in Chief territory at the 41-yard-line.

Lakeside scored first in the opening stanza to take a 7-0 advantage.

CCA countered two possessions later on a 59-yard, seven-play drive with Faulk churning up real estate. Carter’s two-yard touchdown plunge and conversion lifted CCA to an 8-7 margin with 7:29 left before intermission.

Lakeside bounced back to set up shop at the Cougars’ 6-yard-line. But a determined Cougar defense snuffed out the threat as a fourth and inches pass sailed incomplete to preserve a Cougar halftime lead and eventual margin of victory.

The Cougars' offensive line comprised of Wallace Kelley, Parker Wallace, Andrew Powell, Jon Grayson, Foster Carpenter, Zach Williams and Russell Pettis rose to the occasion in the second half to open holes for the Cougars' backs as they used a ball control offense to milk the clock.

Crenshaw will play at home next week against Class AAA powerhouse Pike Liberal Arts School. &uot;We step out of our class next week," Jones explained. "We have a few players banged up and we’ll have to get them ready for Pike. Winning our first game was big, especially since it was an area game. Although Pike is not an area game, we need to keep the momentum going in the right direction. It should be a good game."

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Cougar Stadium.