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Late TD boosts Cougars

Published April 28, 2006

DUNEDIN - Following in the footsteps of two dramatic semifinal games, there was no letup in Thursday night's district championship between Countryside and East Lake.

The fourth-seeded Cougars, who were 3-4 during the league season, knocked off second-seeded East Lake 7-6 for their first district title.

Countryside had to defeat No. 1 Palm Harbor University on Wednesday, then foil the Eagles.

"I heard the girls behind me saying, "We can do this,' " coach Pierce Brunson said.

East Lake (9-3) had control most of the game thanks to one big play in the second quarter.

Senior receiver Kailyn Burns caught a 45-yard touchdown pass from Nina Brojan and the Eagles led until 3:45 remaining.

East Lake was driving toward the end zone and was only 20 yards from padding its lead when Cougars defender Chelsea Buck intercepted a pass and returned the ball to the 30-yard line.

From there, Countryside quarterback Tarryne Rogers completed three passes to drive down to the 2, then Jessica Appelt covered the remaining yards on a rushing play to tie it. Rogers then completed a huge pass to Amber Latham for the conversion and the Cougars led by one point.

East Lake tried one last drive to regain the lead, but the Countryside defense held. The end result was a big celebration.

"We were the last seed, so the odds were against us," Rogers said. "No one thought we could do it."

"As long as you keep improving and keep working, anything can happen and that's why we have playoffs," Brunson said.

Rogers completed 19-of-33 for 170 yards. Latham had 10 receptions for 77 yards and Alexix Neu had six catches for 36 yards. Brojan was 8-for-22 for 145 yards. Burns had five receptions for 98 yards.

The Cougars (8-4) will host Lakewood in regionals on Tuesday. [Last modified April 28, 2006, 02:18:49]


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