Cougars coming off another milestone win
By Jim Turner

Posted on October 23, 2020 7:50 AM

In the five years (four-plus to be precise) that Todd Adler has been head football coach at his alma mater, victories have piled up impressively, especially in the middle three years. Yet some of have been monumental milestones.

His Logan County Cougars’ eye-popping 31-7 win over perennial powerhouse last Friday was certainly one of them.

The biggest wins—in my mind—have included 1) that four-year-plus losing streak season-ender at Todd Central in the final game of 2016, 2) a 28-21 win over Russellville in 2017 that proved the Cougars would no longer give in to talented opponents with great traditions, 3) a 13-12 win over Hopkinsville later that season which continued the theme of not bowing to history and paved the way for an undefeated Class 4A district championship season, and 4) in 2018 when star quarterback Tyler Ezell was injured during the game the Cougars gutted out a 10-6 win over Hoptown behind backup Nate Woodall.

Milestone win number five came Friday.

The Cougars began this season with significant personnel losses through graduation. Most notably absent are four-year starting quarterback Ezell and running back Gary Hardy.

Ezell piled up 9,342 yards total offense in his career. He completed 500 passes in 928 attempts for 7,457 yards and 81 touchdowns. He also ran the ball 383 times for 1,885 yards and 26 touchdowns.

Hardy rushed on 572 snaps for 4,192 yards and 41 touchdowns. He not only used his quickness for some long runs, but he also bulled his way for some tough, tough yards.

For the first time in four years, Adler’s team started the 2020 season without an experienced quarterback and a dominant running back. Optimism remained because a talented senior athlete who had paid his dues, Braxton Baptiste, was ready to take Ezell’s place.

Then in the second game of the season, Baptiste went down with a season-ending leg injury. His replacement, sophomore Corbin Rayno, showed promise, but he was injured quarterbacking the junior varsity during a time the varsity’s games were being canceled or postponed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The number three quarterback on the depth chart, Davin Yates, is a freshman. His only experience had come in the late going of a win already clinched against Russellville in the season opener.

Coach Adler made a big decision. The receiving corps is Logan’s deepest and most athletic unit. Adler took two super senior athletes and converted them into quarterbacks for the game. Wyatt Blake and Anthony ‘Rooster’ Woodard took the snaps when the game’s outcome was on the line, and they responded beautifully.

Blake ran the ball 27 times for 250 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Woodard. Additionally, Woodard rushed on 9 downs for 55 yards and a touchdown. He didn’t play on offense in the second half because he was banged up in the first half and wasn’t needed in this rout of Hopkinsville.

Maurice Gordon contributed 60 yards on seven carries, and fullback Zach Yates was a dominant blocker on virtually every play. The offensive line kept the Tiger defensive line away from the ball carriers.

Senior Lucas Arevalo, who now is concentrating on football with the soccer season ended, kicked a field goal and all four of his conversion attempts.

Woodard made two key interceptions and returned them for 46 yards.

That freshman quarterback who didn’t get the start on offense, Davin Yates, responded by tying for the team lead with 9 tackles, 6 of them solos. Tying him was Jacob Moore with 9 tackles (7 solos), 3 tackles for losses, and 2 sacks.

The older Yates brother, Zach, had 8 tackles with 3 TFLs and 2 sacks. Logan Gipson, Cade Johnson and Blake also had tackles for losses, and Clifton Faughn added 5 tackles.

The gamble paid off big time.

“It was the most complete game we’ve played in my five years as coach,” Todd Adler told WRUS’ Andy and Zack Woodall after the win.

The Cougars will work at adding another district win tonight at Calloway County. WRUS will record the game and air it Saturday at 1 p.m.

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