Sports

Cougs can play football

Langley Middle School eighth-grader Aaron Mannie tries to get a hand on a Lakewood runningback in the first half of the Cougars’ 14-13 win Thursday. - Matt Johnson
Langley Middle School eighth-grader Aaron Mannie tries to get a hand on a Lakewood runningback in the first half of the Cougars’ 14-13 win Thursday.
— image credit: Matt Johnson

It was as pure as football can get.

With the sun casting long shadows of trees across a grassy field at Langley Middle School Thursday afternoon, a couple dozen eighth graders picked up a ball and started to play. In pads that seemed to large for them, players from Langley Middle School and Lakewood Middle School grabbed a ball and started playing the game they way they dream they can.

There were no specialty players, no one perched atop a grandstand with binoculars and a radio to advise on strategy, and almost no time outs. It was just straight-ahead, gonzo football.

For the Cougar boys, the day brought vindication. After losing every game they played as seventh graders in 2002 and having lost their opener 29-0 to Granite Falls last week, this team was ready for a win. Two touchdowns and a lot of defense was what it took.

The Cougar varsity team did all its scoring in the first half, with Taylor Bjork and James Sousa each running the ball into the end zone. Two Patrick McClain PATs gave the team a point total of 14, which was just enough to stay ahead of Lakewood, which managed 13 points in the half. The lead held, barely, when a Lakewood touchdown was called back at the end of the first half on a clipping call. Neither team scored in the second half.

“This is a very big day for these kids,” said the Cougars’ coach, Bill Patterson.

Giving LMS its first football win of the season was the seventh-grade junior varsity team. In a low-scoring game on the road against Lakewood, the Cougars won 8-7 on the strength of a Trapper Rawls touchdown and a third-quarter safety by John Caron.

Team coach Steve West credited his boys for their solid work on defense.

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