10/23/05 — Red zone woes haunt Cougars again

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Red zone woes haunt Cougars again

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on October 23, 2005 2:18 AM

FARMVILLE -- On a night where Goldsboro outgained and physically outplayed its opponent, Farmville Central, in the second half, a familiar nemesis hurt the Cougars late in the game -- trouble inside the 20-yard line.

One week removed from squandering five chances in the red zone against Greene Central, Goldsboro had two turnovers -- including one critical interception -- inside the Jaguars' 15 in the final eight minutes.

With Goldsboro trailing 18-14, Farmville defensive lineman DeVaughn Gibbs picked off a screen pass from Adrian Lewis at the Jaguar 10 and rambled all the way across midfield to the Cougar 40. Four plays later, Farmville's Darrell Davis rushed in from 26 yards out to push the score to its final margin at 24-14.

The Cougars, which had nine more first downs in the second half than the Jags, drove again on the ensuing possession but lost a fumble on the Farmville 5-yard line with one minute left.

The Jags (4-5 overall) ran out the clock and survived to improve to 2-1 in the Class 2-A Eastern Plains Conference. Goldsboro (2-7 overall) exited at 1-2 in league play.

"Two more letdowns inside the 20. We just didn't finish the job," Goldsboro coach Maurice Jackson. "It hurts when you know you are a better team. But, Farmville played exceptionally well. That play on the screen pass was a big game-breaker for them."

After falling behind 12-0 in the first half and getting outgained by 140 yards, Goldsboro came out strong after intermission.

Set up by a big kick-off return by Hykeen Coley and a 33-yard gain on a fake punt by Treme Boone, the Cougars cut the deficit to 12-7 after a 10-yard scoring jaunt by Boone and Monaquavius Edwards' point after.

Farmville quickly answered on its first play from scrimmage with a 63-yard run to paydirt by Darrell Davis, who combined with Quintrell Cotton for over 200 yards of rushing. After the third-of-four failed conversion attempts by the Jags, the score stood at 18-7 with 9:43 left in the third.

The Cougars got back to work on their next drive as Quantterio Battle's 49-yard rush moved Goldsboro down to the Jaguar 23. Seven plays later, Battle plunged in from short yardage and Edwards PAT cut the lead to four.

A Cougar drive stalled on the Jaguar 38, wedged between a lost fumble and a punt on Farmville's next two drives.

Goldsboro took over near midfield with just under 12 minutes left. With more tough running by Boone, who had 182 yards on 26 carries, and Battle (6 rushes, 71 yards), the Cougars advanced all the way to the 14 and faced third-and-eight.

Then, Gibbs grabbed the interception and Farmville turned in the subsequent score that essentially sealed its win.

"We just got started a little late. Right now what is keeping us from being 3-0 in the conference is not converting in the red zone," Jackson said. "I think sometimes we just go for the home-run ball instead of trying to just move the chains."

Both teams did most of their offensive damage on the ground with Goldsboro rushing for 297 yards on 47 carries and the Jags posting 270 yards on 39 carries.

Lewis was just five-for-23 passing for 41 yards but escaped pressure on several occasions to keep drives alive. Farmville quarterback Brandon Austin was 3-of-6 for 54 yards.

Cotton scored both of Farmville's touchdowns in the first half -- a 2-yard run in the first quarter and a 7-yarder early in the second.

Each team had three turnovers.

Goldsboro returns home next week to face North Lenoir (4-5, 3-0), while the Jags host Greene Central (5-4, 3-0).