Cougars flex muscles, keep Spartans at bay

Doug Boock
photos by doug boock
A slow camera setting shows Mid-County’s Don Elston causing a blur as he scoots through the line during a carry as Ridgewood’s Ty Waugh moves in Friday. Elston and his mates controlled the ball for 69 plays to just 29 for Ridgewood, to win 20-0.

Mid-County controlled the ball – running 69 plays to Ridgewood’s 29 – and shut down the Spartans offense most of the night to pitch a 20-0 shutout in Lincoln Trail Conference football action in Galva on Friday night.

The Cougars, now 4-3 in the LTC and 4-3 overall, exhibited the kind of offense that Tom Buck’s found successful in his three decades of coaching.

“That’s the way it’s supposed to work,” Buck said of the wing-T which the Cougars used to churn out 397 yards – 267 on the ground.

The Spartans, who slip to 1-6, all in the LTC, hung close throughout the first half, trailing only 7-0 at halftime.

But the Cougars had the upper hand offensively, including taking their opening possession on a 7-minute drive that ended with running back Jesse Humphrey lowering his head and bulling his way into the endzone on a five-yard TD run with 4:49 to play in the opening quarter. Jake Warner’s PAT kick made it 7-0.

“He’s been one of our most consistent players,” Buck said of Humphrey, who Buck says works very hard in practice.

Alternating several players on offense through most of the first half, the Cougars continued to move the ball and had a chance to pad their lead just before halftime. Mid-County moved the ball to deep into Spartans territory, but simply ran out of time.

But the Cougars came out strong in the second half. They struck paydirt again at the 4:25 mark of the third quarter, with senior tight end Coleton Kelly and quarterback Kenny Fogerty connecting for a 40-yard TD strike.

“(Ridgewood) got the one long pass (a 53-yard Ty Waugh-to-Kevin Miller play), but we still got the shutout and I think anytime you do that, you’ve got to feel good about it,” said Buck.