Clarksville, TN – The Clarksville Academy Cougars football team had the momentum of a six-game winning streak coming in to their senior night home game against the Houston County Fighting Irish Friday night. That momentum helped the Cougars pounce on an Irish team with a small, young roster and maul them 50-6 for their seventh straight win.
It was clear from the kickoff, the Cougars were not looking ahead to their bye next week and were more than ready to handle the Irish. The Cougars scored 29 unanswered points in the first quarter. It was the beginning of a complete performance by all phases of the Cougar’s team: offense, defense and special teams.“We came in here to play, to have a chance for the district championship,” Cougars head coach Todd Hood said. “We have to make sure we take care of business. We never take anybody lightly. I think our players just really stepped up and got up early. We blocked very well. We tackled very well.”
The Cougars superior blocking opened up the ground game for their running back Jaleel Stubbs and the quarterback, Michael Conn. Conn had six rushes for 116 yards, including two touchdown runs over 25 yards, all in the first half of the game. Conn also completed four passes for 102 yards and one touchdown.
Stubbs was equally impressive with 12 rushes for 80 yards and two touchdowns. While the offense seemed to sprint to the end zone at will, the Cougars defense kept the Fighting Irish off the score board.
“Defense played really well. I thought our kids stepped up when they had to and made the plays. I am very proud of them,” coach Hood said. “Offense has really been gelling lately. Mike and Jaleel are a great one-two tandem. Our line has been in sync now for a few weeks and they have been healthy. That has been good for us of course.”
In addition to their offense, the Cougars special teams contributed to the lopsided score. Stubbs scored on special teams with a 61-yard punt return. Connor Thomas ran back the second half kickoff 85 yards to the end zone.
“We have worked very hard on our special teams this week and I think it showed a little bit tonight,” coach Hood said.
Thomas’ kick return for a touchdown made the score 50-0 less than a minute into the third quarter. The Cougars first score was a 28-yard scramble to the end zone by Conn at 11:58 in the first quarter. Conn followed up his first touchdown with a 60-yard score on the Cougars next offensive possession. Conn rushed for 88 yards and two touchdowns on his first two runs.
On the ensuing Irish punt, Stubbs made his 61-yard punt return touchdown. After making an 18-yard reception to convert fourth down and 15, Stubbs capped off a five-play drive in Fighting Irish territory with a 9-yard touchdown run to make the score 29-0.
The Cougars scored twice in the second quarter. Stubbs rushed 39 yards for his third touchdown of the game. Conn completed a 60-yard pass to Thomas for the other touchdown.
Thomas’ kick return for a touchdown was the Cougar’s last score of the game. Despite being down the whole game, the Fighting Irish continued fighting the whole game.
Freshman Irish quarterback Drew Crook failed to complete any passes. However, he rushed for 41 yards including the Irish’s only score- a 10-yard touchdown run in the last seconds of the game.
Irish running back Nolan Seay rushed for 73 yards. Freshman Arturo Zarzana also rushed for 45 yards.
The win improves the Cougars to 7-2 and sets up a showdown in two weeks with Nashville Christian for the District-10A championship.
Coach Hood plans to take full advantage of the extra time to get ready for Nashville Christian.
“Basically, the thing we’re going to do is work on fundamentals,” coach Hood said. “Coach Patterson taught me a long time ago, when you get into the playoffs, you forget the little things sometimes. We tried to work on that a lot this week. We will continue that next week. If its our steps, our blocking, our tackling, how we run routes and where we are throwing the ball- we will go back and work on every single little thing and break it down.”