Cloudland ground game propels ‘Landers over Cosby
BY ALLEN LAMOUNTAIN
COSBY – Cloudland struck like the lightning that would delay action in the second period and the Highlanders ground game took over in a 36-12 victory.
Junior Seth Birchfield intercepted a pass by Cosby senior quarterback Hunter Workman and returned it 26 yards to the Eagles nine-yard line.
From there Cloudland junior fullback Coy Laney finished the drive with a one-yard run for a 6-0 ‘Landers lead. A sack on Cosby’s next possession by Maverick Simerly forced an Eagles punt and Cloudland took over at the 37-yard line.
Birchfield capped a 10-play, 63-yard drive with a 2-yard run and junior quarterback Chase Shell cashed in the deuce to make it a 14-0 game. On the ensuing kickoff, Cosby’s Dominic Cowles fumbled and Birchfield returned the loose ball 39 yards for the touchdown and along with running in for two gave Cloudland a 22 -0 lead with 1:19 remaining in the period.
The ‘Landers forced a three and out to end the first period and were driving to the Cosby 19 yard line when lightning and rain poured down. Cloudland started at the 36-yard line and nine plays later were in the shadow of the Eagles end zone. Birchfield rushed for 130 first-half yards on 21 carries as the ‘Landers main ball carrier.
Birchfield finished with 150 yards on 25 carries with three touchdowns and two big plays on defense – an interception and fumble return.
“He’s the hardest working kid,” ‘Landers head coach Scott Potter said. “They all work hard but Seth gives 150 percent. Coach Puckett, coach Oaks and coach Barnett work with the line. I had them in junior high and they just have that work ethic, that tradition, and it carried over from there. It was great to bounce back from last week. The effort was there, we just had to shake it off and come to play this week.”
Play resumed an hour later and on the first play Cloudland fumbled the wet ball but once again the defense held steady and forced a three and out. Taking over at the Cosby 40 yard line after a shanked punt the ‘Landers drove that yardage in seven plays with Birchfield scoring his third touchdown of the game to give the ‘Landers a 28-0 lead.
Cloudland made it a 36-0 contest in the third period with Caleb Sluder lugging it in from three yards out to cap a 12-play drive.
Sluder finished with 50 yards on 11 tries. Cosby did not quit however as Workman threw two late touchdown passes – a 24 yarder to Trestan Packwood and one yarder to Logan Cline – but failed on both two-point tries.
Cloudland 22 6 8 0 – 36
Cosby 0 0 6 6 – 12
CL – Laney 1 run (pass failed) 8:14
CL – S. Birchfield 2 run (Shell run) 1:37
CL – S. Birchfield 39 fumble return (S. Birchfield run) 1:12
CL – S. Birchfield 1 run (run failed) 1:44
CL – Sluder 3 run (Shell pass to McKinney) 5:47
C – Workman 24 pass to Packwood (pass failed) :50.6
C – Workman 1 pass to Cline (run failed) 4:19