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Cougars earn win despite mistakes

Countryside allows Palm Harbor U. to hang around until the second half, when it seals a 21-6 victory.

By BOB PUTNAM, Times Staff Writer
Published September 17, 2005

CLEARWATER - By the measure of high-quality football, Countryside's 21-6 victory over Palm Harbor U. wouldn't win any awards.

The Cougars screwed up blocking assignments, dropped passes and missed tackles. Hardly the kind of performance expected from an undefeated team receiving votes in the Class 5A state poll.

But it was a win.

"I'll take it," Countryside coach John Davis said. "Wins are always tough to get, and I always tell my kids to enjoy them. We beat an improved Palm Harbor team that came here ready to play."

The Cougars (4-0) can be a frightening team to play when all of their cylinders are in synch, and they can put points on the board as fast as anyone.

It appeared as if they would continue to roll after L.D. Crow dropped back and hit a wide open Matt Mooney for a 63-yard touchdown early in the game. After that, Countryside never found its groove. The Cougars were hurt by dropped passes and breakdowns in protection that resulted in sacks.

The only other first-half scoring drive came late, when Crow and Mooney hooked up on their second touchdown, a 6-yarder that put Countryside ahead 14-0.

In the second half, the Cougars' depth paid dividends as they wore down the outmanned Hurricanes. Greg Meyer scored on a 34-yard run to make it 21-0.

About the only excitement after that was to see if the Cougars could preserve a shutout. That didn't happen as PHU (1-3) blocked a punt and used a halfback pass to set up Marc Wachtler's 4-yard run with 4:36 remaining.

"I was pleased with the effort," Hurricanes coach Dustin Bengston said.

"There are a few things we need to shore up, but overall, this was a confidence-builder for us to hang with a team as strong as Countryside."

[Last modified September 17, 2005, 02:15:31]

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