Catoctin Cougars roar past Frederick in the team’s home opener. The Cougars’ 45-15 tossing of Frederick was in part to an electric offense and a suffocating defense that held the Cadets in check for the majority of the game.
It was all Catoctin early on, as the team opened the floodgates against the Frederick team early and often, punishing turnovers and taking an early lead that the team would not relinquish throughout the rest of the game.
Head Coach Doug Williams attributed the team’s victory to a group of unsung heroes who played a key role in Catoctin’s first home game of the season.
“The offensive line did a pretty good job of blocking,” Williams said. “We had some good running and we mixed in a little passing, but our offensive line was really executing.”
The team stormed out to a commanding 31-7 lead by halftime, looking like a well-oiled machine over the first two quarters. The Cougars pulled off their game plan to keep the Cadets’ quarterback Kisaye Barnes contained, limiting Frederick to just one successful offensive drive without resulting in a turnover or a failed fourth-down conversion.
Barnes and Catoctin quarterback Ryan Orr were both unafraid to let the ball fly, but Orr’s passes were finding Cougar receivers, and the Cougars were finding the end zone. Where Catoctin did run into problems was when Barnes found open space to make a run up the field, which is something Williams and the rest of the coaching staff took note of.
“He’s given us problems every single year,” Williams said. “He can throw the ball, but we were most concerned with his running. Once he gets out into the open, he’s a little bit of trouble, so he was the guy we had to slow down and that’s basically what we did.”
The Cougars had no problem containing the passing game, intercepting Barnes multiple times throughout the game, and that swing of momentum proved to be the backbreaker as Catoctin capitalized and extended its lead.
Key players in the game included RB/CB Carson Sickeri, who punched the ball into the end zone on the offensive and defensive side of the ball, and Ryan Orr, whose consistent decision-making kept Catoctin’s long offensive drives alive.
The Cougars are now 3-0 on the season, but Williams feels there is still plenty more work to be done to get this team firing on all cylinders. “We’ve got a long way to go to improve,” he said. “We’ve got to improve on defense, and we can’t be turning the ball over. We’re not going to win close games doing that.”
Despite some of the ball control issues the Cougars have had, they have out-scored opponents 131-51 this season. There are a few adjustments Catoctin plans to make to keep the momentum and the wins flowing. “I’ve got to do a better job teaching ball security and tightening up our defense and executing the fundamentals,” Williams said.
For the Cougars, the team’s winning is a direct result of the commitment and dedication they put in from training camp until now.
“What I like about our team is our kids are very coachable, and they come to practice ready to work hard every day,” Williams said.
The Cougars are in the midst of a home stand; they were back in action for a home bout against Smithsburg High School on September 27.
The Cougars and Cadets face off at the goal line, primed to punch the ball in for the score.
Catoctin’s Mason Shank picks up huge yardage for his team before slipping out of bounds.