Prep Football: Comeback 'Cats do it again as Newnan tops TroupBy DOUG GORMAN
LAGRANGE—The Newnan Cougars must like comebacks.
Trailing 14-0 heading into the final 12 minutes, Newnan finally answered the wake-up call, turning a two-touchdown deficit into an offensive explosion and a dramatic 21-14 come-from-behind victory. The Cougars scored three touchdowns in less than three minutes in the final quarter to complete the comeback.
“It looked bad, but our defense just kept fighting,” Newnan head coach Mike McDonald said. “Our coaching staff made some adjustments in the second half and we finally got our offense going.”
The Cougars won the battle of field position in the second half with several defensive stops to force punts.
“That was big,” McDonald said.”That helped get our offense on the field and get things done.”
Newnan now takes a dramatic win and a 3-1 record into next week’s bye.
“It was really just a good win for us,” McDonald said.
After Quinton Dix scored the Cougars’ first touchdown of the game on a 3-yard carry, Troup turned the ball over twice to keep momentum in Newnan’s favor.
It wasn’t the last time he found the end zone as the Cougars running back also struck paydirt with what turned out to the game winner.
Dix says the team never gave up even down two touchdowns.
“We just had to stay focused,” Dix said. “We just kept working and our offensive line did a great job of opening up the holes.”
Rodney Tennie’s interception set up the Cougars’ second trip to the end zone. After the turnover the Cougars showed they could also move the football through the air as sophomore quarterback Bailey Bryant hooked up with Traon Moss on a 46-yard touchdown pass to tie the game.
The pass to Moss turned the tide for the Cougars.
“The coaches just believed in me and I was wide open,” Moss said.
On the ensuing kickoff Troup fumbled the football back to Newnan as Tonaris Portress recovered it for the Cougars. It was the junior linebacker’s second fumble recovery of the season.
A long quarterback keeper down inside the five by Bailey set up the third score as Dix rolled into the end zone to give the Cougars the lead for good.
“Bailey really did a good job on that run,” Dix said. “That made my job easy.”
Troup took advantage of a muffed punt return and personal foul by Newnan right after Cougars third score, but Tray Matthews ended the Tigers’ scoring opportunity when he blocked a field goal attempt with about four minutes left.
The Tigers had one more chance when two more personal fouls against Newnan had the Tigers knocking on the door late in the game. However, a fourth-down stand by the Cougars gave them the football back with a little over a minute left to play and they were able to run out the clock.
The Tigers owned the momentum in the first half, taking advantage of Cougars. Still, the Tigers only found the end zone in the first half twice.
Troup only had three positions in the first half, but converted a 39-yard drive into a 7-0 halftime lead when it scored on 15-yard run with a little more than a minute left in the first half.
Newnan had a chance to add points to its side of the scoreboard on its ensuing drive with a six-yard pass to Tray Matthew and a 17-yard run by Bailey Bryant moved the ball down the 28-yard line of Troup County, but and interception ended Cougars’ scoring hopes.
Newnan appeared to gain the momentum midway through the second quarter when it came up with a defensive stand on fourth down.
Facing a fourth and less than a yard, Troup was unable to convert after the Cougars’ defensive line got a tremendous surge, stopping the ball carrier short of the first-down sticks.
Newnan’s next series went backwards, forcing a punt from deep in their own territory.
Troup took over at the Newnan 39-yard line with 5:28 to go and punched the ball into the end zone when helped out by a pass interference call against the Cougars on third down.
Two plays later Lamonte Truitt was in the end zone for the only score of the first half when he rolled 15-yards into the end zone.
On the opening series of the game, Newnan took over at the 35-yard line and moved picked up big gains of 27 and 11 yards on runs by Quinton Dix.
Newnan was able to move the ball to the Tigers 28, but the drive ended when Darryl Dumas intercepted the pass.
Troup built a 14-0 lead in the third quarter when it turned a fumble by Newnan into the second touchdown of the game.
Newnan coughed up the football on its first series of the second half when Darryl Morrow caught a pass from Bailey Bryant on third down, but fumbled the ball into the waiting arms of Ricky Frazier who raced the ball down the Newnan four.
Darrly Dunlap gave the Tigers a 14-0 lead when he scored a 1-yard run. The Tigers miscues turned out to be costly, sending the Troup team – that went 9-3 last year – to an 0-3 record this season.
After opening a week early and playing four games, McDonald said his team is ready for the week off.
“It’s coming at a really good time,” he said “We have played a lot of football. We thought playing early was going to be good, but looking back, we are really ready for time off.
Newnan will host Hardaway when it gets back to action in its last non-region game before opening up the Region 3-AAAAAA schedule against Tri-Cities.
SCORING SUMMARY – Newnan 21, Troup 14
Newnan 0 0 0 21 – 21
Troup 0 7 7 0 – 14
T – Lamonte Truitt 15-yard run (kick good), 1:16
T – Darryl Dunlap 2 run (kick good), 6:20
N – Quinton Dix 3 run (Tyler Mulvenna kick), 11:06
N – Bailey Bryant 46 pass to Traon Moss (kick good)
N – Dix 4 run (kick good), 8:20