By Thomas Sellers Jr.
CORDOVA — The season of uncertainly took the Munford Cougars to the home of the Division II-AA State champions ECS Eagles.
Before finalizing the 2020 schedules, both the ECS Eagles and Munford Cougars didn’t have Oct. 23 circled on the calendar facing each other. But Cougars Head Coach Slade Calhoun knew his squad was in for a tough challenge traveling to take on ECS Head Coach Trey Adams’ crew.
Calhoun knew the Eagles featured a discipline defense, sound quarterback in Bennett Brady, top-flight running back in Jaylen Greenwood and high-level line prospect in Dietrick Pennington.
Those elements accompanied by Munford turnovers led to ECS prevailing 28-6.
“They’re great,” Calhoun said. “They just don’t hand you State championships. They’ve got a tailback with several D-I offers. I think he’s a two-time defending State 100m champion. He can fly. The left tackle is committed to Clemson and they’re the No. 1 team in the country. And they have a lot of over great players.
“We learned a valuable lesson,” he added. “The second quarter is what killed us. We gave up two touchdowns there in the last five minutes. But I was proud of the way our guys fought there in the second half. We shut them out in the second half. You’ve got to find a positive.”
The positives started for the Eagles early Friday night with a 75-yard drive being capped off by a Greenwood 4-yard touchdown run at the 10:11 mark.
ECS went ahead 14-0 late in the first quarter when Caiden Hill snatched a 20-yard TD pass from Brady.
The final 4 minutes and 23 seconds of the opening period when scoreless. The Cougar offense found some success setting up a 24-yard field goal try early in the second quarter.
The attempt was blocked keeping Munford at zero on the scoreboard. Looking like the halftime score would be 14-0 at least, the Cougars suffered two big blows courtesy of the ECS running game.
The tally increased to 21-0 in favor of the Eagles when Anderson Smith broke loose for a 38-yard touchdown run at the 3:39 mark.
The Eagles picked off a Munford pass with a minute and two seconds left in the first half. Moments later Greenwood displayed his vision and breakaway speed with an 85-yard TD run up the middle of the field.. After Greenwood’s untouched touchdown run, ECS went into the locker room ahead 28-0.
In the second half, the Munford defense kept the Eagles out of the nest. The Cougars finally ended their drought in the fourth quarter when signal caller Jaxon O’Neal reached the end zone from 7 yard out.
With the challenge of the Eagles in the rearview mirror, both teams prepare for the stability of November and the playoffs. The final week of the regular season is scheduled for Oct. 30.
As they left the field, the Cougars had no game scheduled.
“I think we already know who we’re playing (in the playoffs),” Calhoun concluded. “It’s going to be Clarksville High School if everything unfolds like we think. We can start getting ready for them. We’ve got to get some guys healthy. We’ve got a couple of guys nicked up. It gives us a chance to focus next week on us and maybe dedicate a day or two to playoff prep and next week really get ready. A week’s head start is really huge.”