The McLean County High School football team accomplished a first with a 34-14 win over Allen County-Scottsville on Sept. 30. This was the fourth matchup with the Class 4A Patriots and the first win for the 2A Cougars.

McLean County rushed for 238 yards and three touchdowns. The team was 5-8 passing for 109 yards and two touchdowns. Evan Ward had both receiving scores and a total of 99 yards from four catches.

The Cougar offense had 18 first downs in the game. Zach Clayton led with 102 yards from 24 rushes. Brodie Cline had 86 yards from 18 carries.

McLean County held the Patriots to only six first downs and less than 200 yards of total offense. Will Taylor led the defense with seven tackles, including two sacks. Ward and Coby Dant both had five stops on the night.

The initial kickoff went to Allen County-Scottsville, but the Cougar defense held them to only 20 yards and the series ended with a turnover on downs. McLean County took over on their own 25-yard line and began to work their way downfield with runs by Clayton, Cline, Taylor and Elijah Baldwin. Cline completed a 10-yard pass to Taylor as the game rolled into the second quarter with no points on the board.

The Cougars made it inside the red zone, but failed to score and the Patriots took over. Both teams struggled to move the ball over the next several minutes as possession changed and flags flew. Allen County-Scottsville struck first, but the point after kick was blocked by Dant and the score was 6-0 with 3:22 left in the half.

Baldwin returned the next kickoff 13 yards and Cline moved the chains on the very first play. Cline covered lots of real estate with several consecutive runs before Clayton carried inside the red zone. Baldwin took the snap and went six yards, teeing up Cline for a scoring play from two yards out. Jacob Capps put it through the uprights and McLean County took the lead 7-6 with 18 seconds left before intermission.

The next kickoff went to the Patriots, but Baldwin stripped the ball from the runner and carried it all the way across the goal line. An inadvertent whistle cost the Cougars the points, but they retained possession and set up on the 30-yard line. Cline aired one out from there and Ward snagged it for six with one second left on the clock. Another kick from Capps gave McLean a 14-6 advantage at the half.

The Cougars went right back to work in the second half and started moving the chains. Ayden Rice then threw a 27-yard dart to Ward who fought off several defenders for the catch at the one-yard line. Clayton stepped across on the next play and Capps added the kick to bump the lead to 21-6 midway through the third quarter.

Allen County-Scottsville had a turn again, but penalties and quick stops forced them to try an air assault. A big pass was defended by Baldwin and another failed throw ended the series with a turnover on downs. McLean County took over on their own 42-yard line and the offensive line opened up a hole for Clayton to take it nine yards. Aden Bolden laid the lumber along the far sideline for 10, and Cline finished with a 36-yard pass to Ward for a touchdown. The Cougars were out front 27-6 at the end of the third quarter.

McLean County got the ball back with a forced fumble and recovery by Taylor in Patriot territory. Rice made a six-yard jump-pass to Ward on a fourth down to keep the Cougars alive, but the series eventually ended with a turnover on downs.

Allen County-Scottsville completed a pass for a first down, but the next four in a row fell incomplete with the last defended by Ward. McLean County took over in Patriot territory again and quickly moved into scoring position with several carries by Clayton. Taylor stepped across the goal line with 1:03 left to play and a kick by Capps made it 34-6.

The Patriots answered back on the very first play after the kickoff with a huge touchdown run and successful conversion to narrow the gap 34-14. The Cougars received the next kickoff and went into victory formation to take a knee twice, ending the game with a 34-14 win over Allen County-Scottsville.

“We had a total team effort tonight,” Defensive Coordinator Justin Cook said. “We challenged our kids to toughen up and be more physical and they answered the call. The defense played one of the best games we’ve had all year. The offensive line opened up holes and allowed running backs to get downhill. We have two huge district matchups coming up and really needed some momentum heading into those.”

Head Coach Zach Wagner and Patriots Coach Bradley Hood played football together for one year at Campbellsville College. Hood stayed on as part of the staff at Campbellsville and continued by coaching Wagner.

Coach Hood played football at McLean County under his father, Royce Hood who was the most-winning coach in program history until Wagner surpassed him in the 2020 season. The gridiron at Paulsen Stadium was named Scott-Hood field during last season to honor Bill Scott and Royce Hood, two renowned and beloved Cougar coaches.

“Playing Hood these last two years was great competition for us,” Wagner said. “Allen County is a hard-nosed coached 4A team with 80-plus kids on the roster. I played with and for Brad at Campbellsville; I consider him a mentor and friend. Coach Hood was a big reason why I took the job at McLean County.”

When asked about playing McLean County with the extensive personal history, Coach Hood commented, “I felt like the Cougars had a great game plan and executed it really well. I thought the kids played extremely hard and deserved the win.”

McLean County will host district rival Hancock County tonight, Thursday Oct. 6. Notice kickoff is a day earlier than usual. The crew from 102.7 The Game will be broadcasting live from Paulsen Stadium beginning at 5 p.m. Come out to see the Cougars take the field at 7 p.m.

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