Cougars dominate non-conference


Nick Fekaris

Senior receiver Gunnar Carrigan attempts to gain yards against Rolesville.

Noah Pittarelli, Staff Reporter

This year’s expectations for the football program are no different than the previous years for coach Reggie Lucas.

Lucas strives for his players to be strong on and off the field.

“Our goals for the players are the same during the off season.  We expect them to work hard in the classroom, weight room and be the best person they can,” Lucas said. “Areas we can improve on are the basics.  We can always get better.”

Looking at the non-conference schedule, there doesn’t seem to be much the Cougars need to improve upon with exception of game two against Southeast Raleigh on a rain make-up Labor Day Monday.

The Cougars outscored their non-conference opponents 159 to 19 during the four-game stretch, but only defeated the SE Raleigh Bulldogs 12 to 6.

All four teams, however, have posted losing records through Sept. 30. The team will face stiffer competition in its final year in the Cap-8 conference.

Lucas wants a well-rounded team to be able to take on competitors.

“I’m expecting our conference to be very competitive and we will need to be ready each week,” Lucas said.

Through the end of September conference rivals Heritage and Wakefield are both having winning seasons. The Huskies are undefeated, including conference wins over Leesville and Sanderson.

The Wolverines are also undefeated, having outscored opponents 192 to 51, including two shut outs.

For the players, they feel conference and non-conference games are equally important.

“We treat every game like it’s a championship game. We don’t take any teams lightly,” senior linebacker Darius Hodge said.

Hodge has three sacks, four interceptions and 27 total tackles on the season.

Even the younger players take these games seriously.

“I just want to do my job, and I hope my team does theirs,” sophomore full back Demarcus Jones said. “If we execute our plays, we should have a clean slate going into our conference games.”

Jones averages 44.2 yards per game and has seven touchdowns on the season.

With Dexter Lawrence being a huge figure for the program last year, fans wondered how the defense would perform this season.

Through two conference games against Broughton and Millbrook, the team has yet to give up any points. The Cougars defeated the Caps 35-0 and blanked the Wildcats Sept. 30 37-0.

The defense held the Wildcats to just 89 yards of offense. Hodge intercepted a pass in the 4th quarter to set up a two-play TD drive late in the game.

Among those filling the vacancy left by Lawrence is defensive tackle sophomore Jadacus Logan.

“Coach Brooks has influenced me to have Dexter’s mindset on the field, and to fill in those giant shoes,” said Logan.

Logan has 13 total tackles and, regardless of the opponent’s record, sets the same goal for each game.

“I want the whole team to play like it’s their last game, to dominate each opponent,” Logan said.

Helping Logan is senior defensive end Xach Gill. Gill leads the team with 12 sacks.

Powered by the Wing-T running attack, the offense gives the defense plenty of time off the field. Jones, who played JV last season is getting used to the offensive scheme.

“It’s a working progress,” Jones said. “You just got to get in the flow of the system.”

Junior running backs Devon Lawrence and Marquis Dunn continue to power the running game. Both had big games against Millbrook.

Lawrence had 14 carries and accounted for three second-half touchdowns, while Dunn rushed for 133 yards and accounted for the game’s last touchdowns.

The Cougars will need both sides of the ball to post similar performances in the next two weeks as they face the Wolverines and Heritage Oct. 7 and Oct. 14.