BLOOMFIELD — It was an old fashioned slug fest and when it was over the North Daviess Cougars were on the losing end for the second straight week courtesy of a relentless offensive attack by the Eastern Greene Thunderbirds.
Junior running back Colton Lengacher ran for 279 yards and five touchdowns in the 42-39 defeat Friday evening at Eastern Greene. North Daviess had defeated the Thunderbirds six of their last seven meetings, Friday’s victory was Eastern Greene their first of the season.
The Cougars (1-2) seemed to have complete control in the first half, but they couldn’t get their defense off the field in the fourth quarter. Thunderbirds running back Jarred Goomer seemed to match Lengacher with every big run in the second half finishing with 178 rush yards and three touchdowns. It was a performance that head coach Scott Helms has come to expect from his running back.
“He’s a power back,” Helms said. “He’s one of those backs that if he can get into the linebacker box he has enough power and speed to finish it off.”
North Daviess led 20-8 with less than four minutes to play before halftime, but they allowed 22-yard third down conversion on a pass from Martindale to Frye, which led to a Goomer rushing touchdown to cut the lead to only six at halftime.
Goomer put his team ahead for good with a one-yard touchdown with 66 seconds remaining in regulation and Logan Frye intercepted Chandler Brinegar on a flea flicker at the Eastern Greene 20 as time expired.
The Cougars hurt themselves dearly on their final defensive possession with 15-yard penalties on back-back plays, the first a pass interference call on Doug Bays defending Logan Frye on a third and seven and the following play a late hit.
“The player who had the penalty had a difficult night,” Helms said. “He got beat defensively a couple of times, I told him you can’t dwell on the bad things that happen. You have to think about all you have done for us this year.”
Goomer put the Cougars defense on their heels all night and quarterback Briar Martindale made big throw after big throw finishing with 138 yards and one touchdown and a rush touchdown. He found Frye four times for 110 yards and his lone touchdown.
“I give the Martindale kid a lot of credit, because every one of those passes we had a defensive back right there and he was right on the money,” Helms said. “I don’t know how we could have defended it any better. I thought our kids had excellent coverage, he hit us for big plays.”
The Cougars now head into next week’s game at Washington with a two-game losing streak and questions on defense. In the last eight quarters they have surrendered 84 points.
“We just got to keep getting better, we’re a very young team and we knew that coming in,” Helms said. “We’re going to have to take the bad with the good and our kids are doing a lot of good for us. Defensively we’re getting after it and it seems we miss a player every drive that just kills us. We have to be more focused.”