Even though the sun was hot enough to fry an egg on their helmets, the HFL Cougar B-Team took to the field at James Dollard Stadium determined to continue their winning ways against the visiting Wayne Eagles. After winning the coin toss, the Cougars deferred possession until the 2nd half and kicked off to the visitors from Wayne. A quick 4 and out by the Eagles left the Cougars with great field position at the opposition's 22 yard line. The Cougars pounded the ball forward as far as they could, only to come up short of a first down … handing the ball over to Wayne at their own 2 yard line! On the very first play of their drive, the Wayne running back took the ball 98 yards for the first score of the game … the young Cougar squad was stunned (to say the least). With a failed extra point attempt, the score was 6-0 in favor of the visiting Eagles. After receiving the kickoff following the score, the Cougars finished off the quarter with back-to-back 12 yard runs by Drew Angelo and Carson Joint to place the ball at the opponent’s 36 yard line. The second quarter looked to belong to the Cougars as a few hard running plays and a 16 yard pass from Joint to Nolan Smith turned into a first and goal opportunity at the 6 yard line! On the very next play, Donnell Hall darted through a hole in the line to tie the game at 6-6. The extra point was no good and it was now up to the HFL defense to get the ball back. A sack by Austyn Crego and a bad snap from the Wayne center contributed to an eventual 4th and 16 for the visiting Eagles. Jack Harvey immediately wrapped up the Wayne runner to take over on downs at the Wayne 40 yard line … then things got interesting! An HFL fumble gave the ball right back to the Eagles. A 60 yard TD run by Wayne was nullified by a holding penalty. The HFL defense stiffened and gave the offense the ball at the Wayne 30 yard line. Another HFL fumble, this time on a pass completion, gave the ball back to Wayne on their own 2 yard line. Finally, with very little time left in the half, Wayne tried to answer with another 98 yard run … only this time, HFL would have none of that! Landon Hammond burst into the backfield, ran down the runner and wrapped him up as Crego helped bring him to the turf for a Safety and an 8-6 halftime lead!
The rejuvenated Cougar squad fielded the second half kickoff and wasted no time driving deep into Wayne territory. A 21 yard run by Joint followed by a 13 yard run by Hammond set up an eventual 2 yard touchdown run by Joint to put the Cougars up 14 to 6. The extra point was no good, but things were looking up for the boys from HFL … or were they? The ensuing kickoff was taken at the 28 yard line by Wayne’s speedy return specialist and he wasted no time turning it into 6 points on a 72 yard touchdown run. The failed extra point attempt left the score HFL-14, Wayne 12 half way through the 3rd quarter. Once again, the Cougar return team fielded the kickoff and put the offense at mid-field … first and ten. Two plays later, as if shot out of a cannon, Smith exploded through the defensive line, into the secondary, and left the Wayne defenders in the dust with a 48 yard TD. Smith tacked on the extra point to put the Cougars up 21-12 nearing the end of the 3rd quarter. HFL seemed to be in the driver’s seat with a two score 9 point lead … but it didn’t last. Déjà vu struck as the Eagles fleet-footed returner AGAIN scooped up the ensuing kickoff (this time at the 31 yard line) and quickly placed it in the HFL end zone for another 6 points … cutting the lead to 3 as the 3rd quarter came to an end. Cue the HFL defense! A big stop on the extra point attempt was foreshadowing of things to come. The 4th quarter was all about chewing up clock and stopping the Wayne Eagles from scoring. On the first possession of the 4th quarter, the offense did their job by pounding the ball down the field slowly and methodically … with 8 consecutive running plays. When they did eventually turn it over, the Defense stepped up with big tackles for losses by Hall and Harvey to bring up a 4th and 27. No ground was given up as the “D” did their thing and got the ball back in the hands of the Cougar Offense … 1st and 10 at the Wayne 22 yard line! Unfortunately, the Wayne Defense had also decided to step up their game and after 4 runs and a couple of well placed time-outs by the Eagles, they got the ball back deep in their own end with 1:30 left to play in the contest. Gut-check time for the HFL Defense … would they rise to the occasion or wilt under the pressure? On Wayne’s first play, Hammond, Hall and Giovanni D’Anna kept the runner in bounds on a jet-sweep right to keep the clock running! Smith then dragged down the running back in the backfield for a 6 yard loss! Harvey hammered the quarterback on a keeper for no gain! Finally, on 4th and long, Hall drove the Wayne ball carrier out of bounds short of the line of gain … the score remained HFL 21, Wayne 18! HFL took a knee to end the ball game and start the 2016 season undefeated in their first 2 contests. The boys will be looking for their third win in a row as they head to Gananda on Sunday September 11th to take on the 1 -1 Panthers.