Cougars claw to first win

Nick Smith/PrepsKC

By Nic Reese PrepsKC staff writer
Posted: September 11, 2015 - 11:52 PM

Shawnee Mission Northwest running back Xavier Perry proved to be too much, as the Cougars took down district rival, Shawnee Mission North, 44-29 on Friday night.

Playing in its own stadium as the road team, North was able to move the ball on offense, but couldn't get out of its own way for too much of the night. A couple of red zone turnovers - one by fumble, one on downs - along with several costly penalties, which kept them in 3rd and long situations for most of the night, helped build the early deficit.

And every time it did look like the Indians might make a game of it, there was Perry, a junior, who made sure that wouldn't happen. He had two touchdowns on the night, one rushing and another receiving, along with multiple two point conversions.

"All I gotta say about XP, is he is a tough son of a … (pauses) gun," said Cougars' senior QB Ron Kopp, with one of the better catches of the night.

"At the same time, some of those holes, I might've been able to run through. I thought our offensive line played really well," Northwest head coach, Bo Black, added later.

Once the running game had been firmly established, Kopp was able to find a few receivers over the top for big gains. His favorite target was 6-foot-4 wide receiver Gerrit Prince, who caught a couple 50+ yarders on the night, one for a touchdown, and another that led directly to a Perry TD.

Kopp also found Hayden Goodpaster, who had a monster game last week, and Brian Morelan for scores, as well as ran one in himself.

"I thought our offense played really good," Black gushed after the game, "we only punted one time all night and that was on two miscommunication calls from the sideline."

However, the biggest story of the night may have been on the other side of the ball. After allowing 62 points to Blue Valley in a rout last week, the Cougar defense tightened up this week, allowing only 14 points through 3 1/2 quarters, before giving up a couple late touchdowns late in the 4th.

It wasn't all doom and gloom for North, who had my personal favorite play of the night - a 30 yard scamper by team captain, Andrew Gonzales, who plays right guard, on every Nebraska fan's favorite play - The Fumblerooski. That wasn't the Indians' only trickery of the night. The Indians ran modified reverses on kickoff returns and half-hearted onside kicks following scores.

Their most dynamic player in the game was junior Danny Bradley, who popped a few big plays as both a returner and a receiver. He saved all the end zone glory for his teammates though, with quarterback Will Schneider, wide receiver Brendon Henderson, running back Marcos Garcia, and sophomore running back Reese Sila, who had a solid night on the ground, each scoring one.

But it was all Cougars in this bout, as they improved their record to 1-1 on the season. After the game, the team's focus had already shifted to next week with defending state champion, Shawnee Mission East, up next.

Asked if his team was ready for the Lancers, Black told said, "We're not good enough to talk about the opponent yet, we need to concentrate on us and how we can get better. They're not handing out any medals or cookies for beating East next week, but getting better is our top concern."

I, for one, am a bit disappointed there won't be any cookies.