By Timothy Threadcraft
ALBANY — Miscommunication, missed opportunities and lopsided field position crippled Dougherty on Friday night as the Trojans (0-4) suffered another tough defeat, this time at the hands of the previously winless Crisp County Cougars, 28-8.
Each team had been reeling coming into the matchup. The Cougars had been shutout in each of their previous four games, while the Trojans at least managed to keep things interesting in a 49-32 losing effort against undefeated Lee County in the season opener.
Crisp got things going early, forcing a Trojans’ three-and-out on the first possession, then capping off an 80-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run by senior Roy Hamilton. Kauun Daniel and the Cougars’ defense gave the Trojans’ offensive line fits all night.
Shortly after Dougherty got the ball back, Michael Whatley threw an incomplete backwards screen pass, which was ruled a lateral and returned by senior defensive back Sherrod Ruff for a 31-yard TD.
Crisp County never looked back, scoring on a 38-yard Davion Harvey touchdown reception from Witt Campbell, and a Kevin Mygrant 1-yard run to take a 28-0 lead into halftime.
Cougars head coach Lee Campbell admitted the game was a bit more competitive than the score indicated.
“The defense and special teams did a good job for us, they gave us good field position. Offensively, I thought we did OK in the first half, we made a few plays here and there, but Dougherty was getting after us,” he said. “But in the second half, we couldn’t get anything going.”
Fortunately for the Cougars, the Trojans weren’t able to put much together Friday. Up until the second half, they punted on every possession.
The Trojans have looked a little shell-shocked all season. Last Friday, they gave up seven turnovers in a 35-8 blowout at Worth County. Coach Corey Joyner has had to deal with injuries all season, the latest of which sidelined backup quarterback Chris Thomas with an arm injury, prematurely ending former starter Michael Whatley’s own rehabilitation efforts.
The struggles continued Friday night. None of the Trojans’ first half drives started past the 35-yard line, and the offensive line was once again rendered virtually unable to protect Whatley.
“Point-blank (this is what happened Friday): Kids have got to listen to what we tell them during the week in practice, then apply it on the field,’’ Joyner said. “We just didn’t execute. We didn’t do what we needed to do offensively, and it put us in a bind on defense.”
Whatley engineered the Trojans’ only score when he urgently moved the Trojans down the field with a seven-play, 45 yard scoring drive, capped by an 8-yard Madarious McWhorter touchdown reception.
But that was it for the Trojans.
"The offensive line let too much penetration through,'' said a frustrated Joyner. " We said all week that they were gonna blitz one guy off the edge all week, and we weren't able to pick it up. We weren't able to complete the short passes and make them play zone until the second half, when it was too late.''
Dougherty and Crisp are both on byes next week.