Prep football: Cougars muzzle ’Dogs

NEW MATAMORAS – The Frontier Cougars celebrated their homecoming in grand fashion Friday night with a convincing 53-0 victory over the Bridgeport Bulldogs in a non-conference contest at Frontier High School.

Junior Rodney Barnes paced the Frontier attack with three touchdowns and a tenacious Cougar defense limited the ‘Dogs to just 84 total yards to snap a two-game losing streak and secure their second victory of the season.

“It was just a great team effort tonight,” said Cougar head coach Todd Bradford. “From the youngest freshman to the oldest senior our kids played their hearts out.”

The Cougar’s won the opening toss but elected to defer, putting their defense on the field first and setting the stage for what was to come for most of the game by forcing Bridgeport to punt after going three- and- out.

Frontier methodically marched the ball down the field on its opening possession as they drove 76 yards on 10 plays with senior Jared Howell busting into the end zone from 1-yard out for the game’s first score.

Bridgeport moved the ball to the Frontier 40- yard line late in the first quarter and that would prove to be as deep into Cougar territory as they would get the entire game.

After the Bulldog drive stalled, forcing them to punt for the third time in the first quarter, Barnes fielded the punt just outside of the goal line and with the help of a few key blocks from his teammates raced 98 yards down the sideline for a touchdown and a 13-0 Cougar lead.

“I’m still not quite sure why I picked that punt up but I am glad I did,” said Barnes who fielded the ball after it had just about finished bouncing near the goal line. “My teammates made some great blocks and I just took off.”

The Cougars would score twice more in the first half to increase the lead to 26-0 at intermission.

The first of those two came on a 26-yard Barnes scamper to the end zone and the final score of the half came with less than 20 seconds to play when quarterback Mitch Reynolds hooked up with sophomore wide out Damon Metheney on a four-yard touchdown pass.

The Cougars wasted little time breaking things wide open in the second half when Reynolds connected on a beautiful 53-yards touchdown strike with Nick Camino to make it a 33-0 game.

In a very athletic play Camino went over top the Bridgeport defender to pull down the perfectly thrown Reynolds pass and then won the foot race into the end zone.

“That showed great focus on Camino’s part,” said Bradford of the pass play. “We talk all the time about not being afraid to go out there and make a big play and both of them did on that play.”

Barnes added an explanation point minutes later when he intercepted a Bailey McGrath pass near mid field and raced 50-yards for his third touchdown of the game.

“He’s brought a lot to our team and he is an excellent young man too,” said Bradford of Barnes, who transferred back to Frontier this season after spending the 2012 season as a member of the Warren Warriors. “He’s a hard worker and he’s given us that little bit of confidence and I think that helps quite a bit.”

Barnes paced the Cougars in rushing as he gained 63 yards on 121 carries while also catching two passes for 56 more yards.

“Our line did a fantastic job tonight and we were able to run the ball,” said Barnes, who accounted for 267 total yards in the game counting his return yardage. “We were able to execute on all of our run plays and our pass plays as well.”

Reynolds had his best game of the season for Frontier as he completed 9-of-15 pass attempts for 180 yards to go along with the two touchdowns.

Fourth quarter scoring runs by freshman Derrick Heddleson and junior Donavon Boley capped the scoring for the blue and gold.

Bridgeport slipped to 1-3 with the loss, while the win evens the Cougars season mark at 2-2.

“I can’t say enough about how proud of our kids I am,” said Bradford. “I thought we were much more prepared this week and we might of got a little better understanding of what were supposed to be doing out here.”

The Cougars will travel to Beallsville next Friday night for another non- conference tilt before embarking on huge conference games against Fort Frye and Caldwell.