ADEL -- The Cook High Hornets are still breathing sigh of relief after narrowly escaping with a 26-22 win over the Worth County Rams here last Friday night. The Hornets scored the winning touchdown with just six seconds remaining in the game.
It was a contest that saw the Hornets in control for much of the night. However, trailing 18-7, the Rams began a valiant comeback beginning with an 80-yard touchdown return and then another touchdown late in the fourth quarter to take a 22-18 lead with less than two minutes to play.
"We messed up a bunch," said Cook High head football coach George Dean. "We let them return that kickoff and we muffed a punt, both of which led to scores. We gave them two touchdowns."
Worth scored its first touchdown in the first quarter when a Rams punt went off the hands of the Cook return man. Worth recovered and on the next play got on the scoreboard.
Special teams got the Hornets on board at the end of the first period when Blake Mainor fielded a punt and raced in from 45 yards out.
In addition to the special teams fireworks, the Hornet offense was impressive as it gained a combined 300 yards. Senior running back Jaroyce Turner carried 21 times for 123 yards. Sophomore David Arnold had 100 yards on 13 carries, including the winning touchdown.
Michael Henley, the freshman who rushed for nearly 100 yards and two touchdowns against Cairo the week before, was used sparingly in offense. He only carried three times for 31 yards. According to Dean, however, he spent most of the evening on the other side of the ball.
"Michael was on defense all night playing for Thad Williams," said Dean. Williams was out with an illness and Henley recorded five tackles in his stead.
Quinton Stafford was also a force on defense, recording six tackles and bringing his total to 10 tackles on the year. Also with 10 total tackles is Chris Cornelius, who made a vicious stop in the second half that stifled the Rams momentum.
Cook's leading tackler is Arnold with 12. Kenny Tippins has 11.
The Hornets plan to keep the momentum going as they travel to Pelham to face their Hornet counterparts Friday. After playing to 8-4 seasons in both 2001 and 2002, the Pelham squad has struggled going 2-8 in each of the last two seasons. That information is not leading to any sense of security in the Cook camp.
"Pelham is a pretty good football team," said Dean. "They've improved over the past year.
"The run a combination of half wing-T and half Georgia Southern's 'Ham-bone' offense. They'll give you a lot of different looks. They have a lot of threats. They're pretty good on the outside sweeps."
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