|Published: 12:10 AM, 09/29/2012
Author: Caleb Chrisman
Source: The Newport Plain Talk
ROAN MOUNTAIN-At the end of the day, it was the same old story.
The Cosby Eagles committed five turnovers and couldn't capitalize when they needed to most as the Cloudland Highlanders earned a 35-13 victory on Friday evening at Orr Field.
Taylor Whitehead led the way for Cloudland, rushing for 164 yards and four touchdowns on 27 carries.
The loss drops Cosby to 0-3 in region play and the Eagles are going need a very strong finish if they hope to make the playoffs.
"Execution - we're terrible right now," Cosby head coach Kevin Hall said. "We play our guts out. We play really hard. We find ways to shoot ourselves in the foot every time. It's like we look for a way to lose the game."
"We play so hard. We'll have the momentum and we'll find some way to ruin it," Hall said.
The Eagles actually out gained the Highlanders 320-317, but it was missed opportunities that made the difference once again.
"Again though, even with the loss, we seen some improvements in several areas," Hall said. "I was pleased with how we adjusted at halftime. The kids came back out and fought their guts out in the second half. I'm proud of them for that."
"We've got a lot of work to do. This ain't a bad ball team, but it's one I felt like we could win. That's really frustrating. There's a lot of work to do," Hall said.
Taylor Whitehead punched in a one yard score and a two point conversion to give the Highlanders the early lead, 8-0.
Following a Cosby fumble deep in Eagles territory, Cloudland took advantage and scored again.
Whitehead scored from three yards out with 19 seconds left in the opening quarter, extending the lead to 15-0.
After an Eagles interception on their next offensive possession, Whitehead scored his third touchdown of the day, this time from four yards out to push the Highlanders lead to 21-0.
The Eagles put together a solid drive finally on their fourth possession of the game, but Robert Lehman missed a 37 yard field goal attempt.
Cloudland followed that up with another touchdown as Jeffery Rhinehart connected with Austin Whitehead for a 22 yard score, extending the lead to 28-0.
Cosby put up their only points of the half on an eight yard hookup from Drew Schreder to Kyle Stanton with just three seconds left in the half.
The second half didn't consist of many points. The first score of the half didn't come until the 7:20 mark in the fourth, as Schreder connected with Stanton again, this time for a 15 yard score and cut the lead to 28-13.
After a defensive stop though, the Eagles threw an interception, and Cloudland punched in a score to seal the win, 35-13.
The Eagles will have a tough road to try to get to the playoffs, but Hall's message to his team is clear.
"Don't quit," Hall said. "I don't think this will be a problem with this group because you saw tonight it was tooth and nail to the final whistle. I don't think there's any quit in them. We've got to make sure they don't lay down on us and don't lay down on each other. We need to finish the season strong."
"We can still end up .500 and get in the playoffs. We have to improve and have to get better. We have to focus on execution, especially on the offensive side of the ball," Hall said.
The Eagles travel to Pigeon Forge next week. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
"We have a chance to win the football game," Halls said. "We feel like we can play with everybody left on the schedule so we're going to prepare and get ready to go win a ball game."
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