Cougars outrun Panthers at homecoming

Prairie City Panther Jake McHatton makes headway as Declan Zweygardt (20) blocks Echo's Kenneth Troxell (34).

Echo received the kickoff and scored on the second play with Cougar Mason Smith rushing nearly 50 yards for a touchdown. The Cougars also added 2 extra points on a place kick.

Panther Opie McDaniel fell on the Cougars’ onside ball, and Prairie City made some short gains, but Echo took over on downs.

On Echo’s next drive, the Cougars were called for a penalty for a backward pitch.

There was some confusion in the first half concerning the rules of six-man football — whether the ball can be pitched back — which was ironed out at halftime.

The rules state a quarterback must hand off, pitch or throw the ball before it can cross the line of scrimmage.

“We use a lot of pitches, so that took away most of our offense,” said Panther head coach Nate Barber. “That’s why it’s called a pilot program.”

Echo scored another touchdown when quarterback Devon Craig connected with Mychael Pointer, the Cougars leading 14-0.

The Panthers made some headway on their next drive with Jake McHatton and Connor Jones rushing the ball and quarterback John Titus connecting with Bladen Burril.

On the next play, Echo intercepted, and Jones made the tackle.

The Cougars scored on the next play, but the Panthers blocked their kick for extra points.

Echo led 27-0 in the first quarter.

Panther Declan Zweygardt gained two first downs for Prairie City in the second quarter, and Titus also connected with Burril on the drive, but Echo again intercepted. Scoring on that drive, Echo led 54-0 at the half.

The Prairie City homecoming court entered at halftime with seniors Kyla Winton and Syd Holman crowned king and queen.

Barber said his team was hampered with starting quarterback Jayden Winegar still out with an injury. Barber said it was still unclear when, or if, Winegar will return.

The coach said his team didn’t execute as well as he would like.

“They (Echo) had some speed, and their line was good at blocking,” he said.

Prairie City now prepares to face the Locomotives at 1 p.m. Friday in Huntington.

“We’ll work on toughening up our defense and secondary,” Barber said. “Hopefully, some kids who were hurt can feel better — some of them are playing hurt.”

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