SCA Cougars fall 33-32 in title game

Simpson Academy came up short in the MAIS AAAA DII State Championship game, losing to Lamar School by a score of 33-32 in overtime.

The Cougars received the opening kickoff and drove the ball to the Lamar 48 yard line, where they turned it over on downs. Lamar took advantage of the good field position and scored a touchdown on a Joseph Hutchinson to Parker Neal 19 yard pass. The PAT was no good and with 4:36 left in the first quarter Lamar led 6-0.

Simpson had a time-consuming drive on their next possession and scored on an Ethan Flynt 1 yard run. Caleb Garner ran in the 2 point conversion and with 10:37 left in the first half Simpson led 8-6.

Lamar answered back quickly and scored on a 1 yard Parker Neal run. The 2 point conversion pass was no good and with 8:37 left in the half Lamar led 12-8.

The teams went back and forth the rest of the half and at halftime Lamar led Simpson 12-8. Lamar received the second half kickoff and drove to the Simpson 9 yard line. The drive ended when Caleb Garner picked off a Joseph Hutchinson pass. Simpson’s drive stalled when a fake punt attempt deep in Simpson territory was stopped by the Lamar defense.

Lamar took over on the Simpson 30 yard line and once again took advantage of the good field position when Parker Neal scored from 1 yard out. The PAT by Davis Thames was good and with 5:18 left in the third quarter Lamar led 19-8. Simpson and Lamar traded punts on their next possessions. Simpson scored quickly on their next possession on a Dylan Hallman 65 yard run. The 2 point conversion pass from Ethan Flynt to Thomas Pepper was good and with 2:58 left in the third quarter Simpson cut the lead to 19-16.

The Cougar defense forced a punt late in the third quarter and Simpson started their drive for the lead on their 15 yard line. The Cougars had a long drive capped off by a Dylan Hallman 13 yard run. Hooks Harvey added the PAT and with 7:49 left in the game Simpson led 23-19. Lamar drove down to the Simpson 11 yard line, but the Cougar defense forced a turnover on downs. Simpson took over with 5:48 left in the game and on third down and 6 yards to go Ethan Flynt’s pass intended for Cook Weathersby was picked off by William Lamar and returned 20 yards for a touchdown, Davis Thames added the PAT and with 4:20 let in the game Lamar led 26-23.

Lamar chose to squib kick the kickoff and gave Simpson great field position at the Simpson 39 yard line. Simpson drove to the Lamar 21 yard line, where their drive stalled and Hooks Harvey came on to nail a 38 yard field goal to tie the game 26-26 with 1:28 left in the game.

Lamar took the kickoff back to their 44 yard line giving them great field position. Lamar drove quickly down to the Simpson 14 yard line, but the Cougar defense once again held tough and with 19 seconds left in the game Davis Thames’ 43 yard field goal attempt came up short. The Cougars tried two plays but did not produce any yards and on third down kneeled on the ball and the game was headed to overtime.

In overtime the Cougars were on offense first and on the first play of OT Ethan Flynt scored from 10 yards out. The Cougars elected to go for a two point conversion but Cook Weathersby was stopped inches from the goal line.

Lamar went second in overtime and on their third play Parker Neal raced in from 4 yards out. Davis Thames’ PAT was good and Lamar won the ballgame 33-32.

The loss dropped Simpson’s record to 9-5 on the season.

Leading the Cougars offensively in the rushing game were Dylan Hallman, 28 carries for 221 yards and two touchdowns; Cook Weathersby 18 carries for 83 yards; and Ethan Flynt 10 carries for 37 yards and two touchdowns. In the passing game, Bryce Caughman had 1 catch for 9 yards and Ethan Flynt completed 1 pass for 9 yards. The Cougars were led defensively by Daniel Pepper in on 10 tackles, Zach Ainsworth, Thomas Pepper and Corbin Hosey in on 7 tackles, and Hunter Cline and Caleb Garner in on 6 tackles. Thomas Pepper had two sacks, Daniel Pepper and Cole Weeks one sack for the Cougars. Daniel Pepper and Corbin Hosey had two tackles for loss. Hunter Cline, Thomas Pepper, Austin Creel, Cole Weeks, and Michael Winstead had a tackle for loss for the Cougars. The Cougars forced one turnover, and Caleb Garner had an interception.

In team stats Simpson had 353 yards of total offense, 344 yards rushing, 9 yards passing, and picked up 18 first downs. Lamar had 359 yards of total offense, 128 yards rushing, 231 yards passing, and picked up 22 first downs.

The Cougars came up one point short of winning a State Championship, but this season has been a great success. These boys laid it on the line each and every Friday night. They never quit no matter how much adversity they faced. This season has made all Cougar fans proud, and this team has made our school and community proud. Coach Napier and his staff did an excellent job with this team this season. On behalf of all Cougars, can’t wait till next year for another great season!