Cougars Down Patriots in Defensive Southwestern Conference Battle 17-6

Cameron Kromah looking for a receiver downfield. (Photo by Ron Morris)
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MINT HILL, NC – The Independence Patriots football team went on the road Friday night to take on the Charlotte Catholic Cougars in an important conference game. The Cougars came out on top with a solid 17-6 win. However, this game was dominated by defense.

Jimmy Brewer is scoring TD for Charlotte Catholic. (Photo by Ron Morris)

The Cougars defense held the Patriots scoreless for three quarters. While the Patriots defense gave up two touchdowns that were earned in the first half. Then shout-out Catholic in the third quarter to only allow a late 43 yard field goal by Cougar kicker Jack Rouse with 5:19 remaining in the football game.

The Cougars scored first when FB Jimmy Brewer would punch the ball in from the two-yard line and the PAT was good by Rouse to take a 7-0 lead with 13 seconds remaining. But what set up this scoring drive by Catholic was a Patriot drive stalled by a block in the back penalty wiping out a beautiful 42-yard gainer by Amari Hakeem that would have put the Patriots just outside the Red Zone with a first and 10 situation. On the next play, Jaylen Springs would fumble giving the Cougars a first down on the Patriots 48 yard line in good field position to start their scoring drive.

Flying Patriots defense with LB Tayor Russ making a big hit. (Photo by Ron Morris)

In the second quarter the Cougars would score again on a nice drive when FB Jimmy Brewer would score from 3 yards out with the PAT going through the uprights by Rouse to take a 14-0 advantage with 7:05 remaining in the first half.

The Patriots would take possession on their own 24 yard line after the kickoff.  Cameron Kromah connected with Jaylen Springs for a 21 yard gain. Then found Sincere McIntyre for 11 yards, followed with a nice run by Hakeem for 12 yards for a Patriot first down. Kromah then found WR Joe Moraglia for 10 yards, and on the next play for 21 yards giving the Patriots a first down on the 40 yard line. Hakeem picked up another 5 yard gain, a penalty on the Cougars would give the Pats a first down on the 27 yard line. Just when Indy was on the move, Tyler Mills sacked Kromah for a 12 yard loss backing the Pats up to the 39. On a fourth and 8, Thomas jumped for a false start making it 4th and 13. Kromar dropped back to pass, but Tyler Mills was all over the QB sacking him for the second time with 24 seconds on the clock. The Cougars took over on downs, they would take a knee to end the first half up 14-0.

Jeremiah Palmer runs out of bounds after nice kickoff return. (Photo by Ron Morris)

In the third quarter the teams fought to a standstill with no points being scored. The defense on both sides of the ball was now in control of this football game. The teams were flying around making key stops forcing the other to punt. While both punters Indy’s Diego Barahona and Catholic’s Jack Rouse were kicking high punts with good hang time pinning their opponent with poor field position.

However, in the final quarter the Patriots put together a scoring drive. Indy QB Kromah located Palmer for 16 yards, then found Moraglia for 10 yards, putting the Patriots in good field position. On a 3rd and 6 from the 47 yard line, Kromah connected with Thomas for 7 yards and a first down on the Cougars 40. On the next series of plays he had a completion to Moraglia for 17, Khalil Morrison for 11 yards, followed up with Morrison for an 8-yard reception, Thomas for 3 yards, then Thomas would rumble in from the 1-yard line putting the Pats on the scoreboard with a TD. The PAT was missed due to a poor snap and the kick went wide left. The score was now 14-6 with plenty of time on the clock.

Jaylen Springs fights for extra yardage after catching a pass. (Photo by Ron Morris)

However, with 5:19 remaining in the football game, the Patriots made a huge stop when Diego Barahona dropped the Cougars QB for a loss forcing a 4th down and long. The Cougars kicker would line up and drill a perfect 43 yard field goal through the uprights to give Catholic a 17-6 lead putting the game out of reach making it a two-possession game with the clock running down against the Patriots.

The Cougars had 274 yards of offense, 92 passing 182 rushings. While the Patriots accumulated 196 yards, 205 passing and -9 rushing against a tough run defense. Both teams had 1 turnover, and the Cougars were 4-9, while the Pats were 3-9 on third-down conversions.

The Patriots will play Providence next week on the road, while Charlotte Catholic will visit the Ravens at the Rock. Both contests are Southwestern Conference 4A matchups.

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Ed Berti
Ed is retired and remains active as a freelance writer, local journalist and independent contractor. He is engaged in print and electronic media writing stories covering business, sports, hometown news and veteran's affairs including articles of interest to various media outlets. Ed is a graduate of Wagner College where he earned an MBA and holds a BBA from Pace University.
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