Cougars claw 47-36 win over Cloudland for first varsity victory

Published 11:29 pm Friday, August 21, 2015



ROAN MOUNTAIN—  It may have been Northview Academy’s first official varsity game in their history, but the Cougars came out growling when they visited Orr Field in Roan Mountain on Friday night.

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Scoring on their first five possessions in the first half, the Cougars took a 33-22 lead at the half and translated that into a 47-36 final.

The Cougars wasted little time getting on the board on their first possession, taking only two plays to reach paydirt as quarterback Justin Howard launched a 57-yard touchdown pass to Haiden McGee to take a 6-0 advantage with only 45 seconds off the game clock as the kick failed.

Cloudland answered quickly on their ensuing drive, going 57 yards on six plays with quarterback Austin Whitehead punching the ball over the goal line from 22 yards out.

The two-point conversion by Whitehead was good and the Highlanders led 8-6.

Northview took the kick from its own 36 and marched straight down the field to go back out in front on Cade Barnes’ eight-yard burst up the middle. The two-point attempt failed as the Cougars regained the 12-8 advantage.

After Cloudland went four and out, the Cougars once again wasted no time in adding to their advantage.

Howard ripped off a 62-yard touchdown scamper, upping the lead to 19-8 after the extra point by Joshua Gomez was true.

That’s how the first period ended with Northview up 19-8.

Cloudland once again struggled to move the ball into the red zone on their possession and was forced to punt back to the Cougars.

Northview continued to move the ball effectively on the ground as Howard called his own number once again and bolted in from five yards out, extending the Cougar lead to 26-8 after Gomez’s boot.

The ‘Landers finally put together a drive to cut down on the Northview momentum as Whitehead had a hand in every play on the seven-play drive, capping it off with a three-yard touchdown run with 6:43 left in the half.

Whitehead scored the two-point conversion to cut the score to 26-16.

Once again Howard led his team down the field for another score as Jeff Maples finished the 65-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown plunge.

Gomez converted the PAT for a 33-16 Northview Academy lead.

Cloudland received a break right before the half. On a fourth and goal with only 7.3 seconds showing on the clock, Whitehead ran around the right end and fumbled the ball on the two-yard line.

The ball rolled into the endzone where an alert Josh Blair pounced on the pigskin for a Cloudland score. The two-point conversion failed and at the half the Cougars led 33-22.

Cloudland came out of the locker room and Coach Brock Pittman’s team responded, quickly taking the opening kickoff 51 yards for a score.

Colby Birchfield found a running lane and scooted 36 yards for the score to cut the lead to only three after Birchfield bulled in for the two-point conversion, 33-30.

That would be as close as the ‘Landers would get, however, as the Cougars answered with a 65-yard scoring march as Maples again crossed the goal line from one yard out to push the edge to 40-30 after Gomez’s PAT.

The Cougars weren’t done yet.

Northview didn’t want to take any chances as Howard took off to the races once again on a 30-yard scamper with 6:07 left to play in the contest. Gomez was right down the middle on the point-after for a 47-30 Cougar lead.

Cloudland showed resilience by getting one more score on their side of the board with 1:30 left to play in the contest.

Whitehead rolled out and found Blair open in the middle from 18 yards out to cut the gap to the final margin of 47-36 after the two-point conversion failed.

The ‘Landers will now go on the road to take on Happy Valley next week.