Getting knocked down doesn’t define you. Getting back up does.
And the Foothill Cougars responded to their 20-14 opening-week loss to West Valley by getting up, dusting themselves off and regrouping for a 14-10 home win over Eureka on Friday at Bill Johnson Community Stadium.
The loss to the Eagles was tough given that the Cougars allowed the visitors to score 20-unanswered, fourth-quarter points.
But Red Thunder, facing a similarly tight game against the Loggers, found a way to come away with a victory.
“A W is a W right now,” Foothill coach Joey Brown told Shasta County Sports after the game. “I thought we played well tonight, but turnovers and penalties just kind of killed drives. So we had moments of glory and moments of lack of discipline. Last week that happened in an entire quarter and tonight it was in a few bits and pieces, but we saw the flash we’ve been looking for in more situations.”
The Foothill offense did enough to put points on the board as quarterback Brandon Merryman, the Shasta County Sports Player of the Week, scored twice on 108 yards rushing. He took the second play to the house on a 77-yard keeper and finished the Cougars’ scoring on a 17-yard TD run late in the third period.
“I took it and it was daylight,” he said of the game-winning run.
And while Merryman and the offense – playing the second half without Chris Ostergren, out with concussion-like symptoms – did their part to gain the lead, Matt Diskin’s defense finished the task.
The Cougars sacked slippery Eureka quarterback Trevor Bell on the game’s final play to cement the victory. Before that, the defense led by Cody Cisco and Dylan Weigand, forced the Loggers to punt or turn the ball over on downs on each of their final four possessions. In fact, one of those stands led to Merryman’s TD run as the Loggers tried to punt deep in their own territory. A bad snap forced the punter to try a desperation throw only to be intercepted by Wylon Bell and set Red Thunder up for the winning score.
“We worked hard all off season to be better in the fourth quarter. Last week, we were just undisciplined and this week we stayed disciplined,” Brown said. “I was proud of how our guy played and really proud of how they rallied at the end.
“Those fourth down stands were amazing.”
Team of the Week
Week Zero — Burney Raiders
Week 1 — Foothill Cougars
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