So very, very close

Published 1:51 am Saturday, November 21, 2009

Straughn High School’s Tigers held Cordova to its fewest points all year, but it wasn’t enough to clench a spot in the state 3A semi-finals.

“For our kids to play like they did on defense against that kind of talent and that kind of speed and that kind of size is just unbelievable,” Straughn coach Trent Taylor said. “They had a great scheme offensively. You’ve got to dance with what brought you. For us, it was the option and they did a great job of playing that.”

Cordova ended Straughn’s seven-game winning streak in the Class 3A quarterfinals of the state playoffs, winning 13-7.

Cordova’s Ryan Smith rushed 123 yards on 22 carries and had one TD to help lead his team to a semifinal berth against Luverne.

Luverne beat Trinity at home, 34-28.

Cordova had 278 yards on offense for the night, while Straughn had 68.

Friday night’s game for Straughn was an impressive one because the average number of points Cordova has scored in a game is 36.6 points.

Straughn (9-4) had strong drives on defense, holding Cordova (12-1) to six three-and-outs for the game.

With the score at 0-0 at the start of the third quarter, Cordova’s Jacob Howton connected with Julian Harris from 63 yards out to take the first lead of the game. The extra point was good.

Straughn fumbled the ball on its first possession of the half to give the Blue Devils another chance at a score.

With 9:19 on the clock, Harris scored his second touchdown and team’s last score on a 33-yard rush. The extra point was no good.

Cordova coach Reginald Bush said it was a hard-fought win for his team.

“That was a fight from the first snap to the last snap,” Bush said. “We started running the counter to the weak side.

“Straughn is a good football team,” he said. “They have some great players and I knew it was going to come down to who would have the ball last.”

Straughn’s next possession was an easy one. Eric Samuel ran the ball back 86 yards for a touchdown, bobbing and weaving through defenders. It was a key block from senior nose guard Dale Johnson that opened his path to the end zone. The extra point was good.

Straughn’s Josh Dewrell rushed 33 yards on 13 carries; and Eric Samuel rushed 14 yards on 10 carries.

“That is without a doubt the most talented team we’ve played all year,” Taylor said. “I think when you look at the whole year, you can say that our defense played outstanding all year long. You can’t find any stars on this team. This team is a team.”