Eagles make progress, but Quitman is too tough
Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Oct. 21, 2006 - COMO - For the first 24 minutes of Friday night's contest against the Quitman Bulldogs, the Como-Pickton Eagles saw signs of their first win of the year.

The final 24 minutes was a different story.

Down 21-7 at the half, the Bulldogs outscored CPHS 21-7 in the second half as the Bulldogs remained undefeated on the season with a 42-14 win at Ron Heflin Field. But, CPHS coach Joe Ryzman said his team made progress.

"I tell you what worked for us was not only the game plan but the fact our kids came into practice on Monday and really had a good practice all week long," the coach said. "That right there set the tone for tonight's game and they came out fired up and ready to play."

The Eagles (0-7, 0-2) jumped out to an early lead - their second of the season - after recovering a fumble by Doug Carden on Quitman's opening possession.

With 9:05 remaining in the first quarter, sophomore quarterback Austin Darby scored his first touchdown of the game on a quarterback sneak from a yard out. Noe Tellez booted the PAT for a 7-0 lead.

The Eagles' defensive line played tough throughout the first quarter as the Bulldogs (7-0, 2-0) were held scoreless for the first 15:57 of the contest before Carden rumbled 41 yards to paydirt to tie the score at 7-7 in the second quarter.

Ryzman said the offensive line and the defensive line played well against Quitman - even though they gave up 462 yards of offense, while having 151 yards in the game.

"I was very impressed with our line, and Quitman came out with 24 kids and we had 15 kids suited up tonight. For the first half, while our kids were fresh, we were toe-to-toe with them," Ryzman said. "I think we started to run out of gas later in the game, but our kids never gave up and they played with heart the full four quarters and played well."

Carden came back later in the second quarter with his second rushing touchdown as he scored from a yard out for the 13-7 lead. On the PAT, Quitman fumbled the snap with 4:55 remaining in the quarter.

Quitman went into the locker room with a 21-7 lead as Colten Peek found Quentin Richardson in the back of the end zone on a 24-yard reception with just over a minute remaining in the half. Carden ran in the two-point conversion.

In the first half, the Eagles relied heavily on the power pitch and Alex Williams rushed for 39 yards on 19 totes before being taken out of the second half due to an injury suffered in the first half.

"Alex is continuing to make gains as a running back and he is only a sophomore. He has really had to learn how to play at the varsity level and he is starting to learn that," Ryzman said. "Alex got hit pretty hard and was shaken up and our athletic trainer thought that it would be best to keep him out of the second half. "

In the second half, the Eagles went back to their power pitch play and this time, freshman James Carter found an opening around the left side of the offensive line and went 69 yards down to the 1-yard line. Carter finished with 113 yards rushing on 16 carries - all in the second half.

Darby then scored his second touchdown of the game on a 1-yard run to put the Eagles within striking distance at 21-14 with 10:44 remaining in the third quarter. Tellez booted his second PAT good.

Later on in the quarter, the Bulldogs put the game out of reach as Lucas scored from a yard out for the 28-14 lead with 6:46 remaining as he then booted his second PAT good.

Quitman cashed in with two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter as Peek scored from 4 and 10 yards for the 42-14 finale.

QHS had three 100-yard rushers in the game as Carden had 14 totes for 139 yards and two touchdowns, Peek had 11 carries for 127 yards and two touchdowns, and Chris Bennett ran 11 times for 111 yards. Peek also was 2-for-6 for 27 yards and one touchdown passing.

The Eagles face the Winnsboro Red Raiders (6-1, 2-0) next Friday night in Winnsboro, and Ryzman said the team will be working on stopping the option game this week in practice.

"I haven't seen Winnsboro on film yet this year but I do know that they are a good option team offensively and they run the option about as well as anyone can at the varsity level," he said. "We are going to really work on stopping Winnsboro's option game from our defensive side of the ball."

Notes: The Eagles found out on Wednesday senior linebacker Reece Caddell will return to the field against Winnsboro, while senior Kenny Turner may have about two weeks before returning from his injury suffered against Celeste. ... CPHS has one more home game, Nov. 3 against the Alba-Golden Panthers for Senior Night.

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