In the first half of Munford’s first round home playoff game Friday night vs. Clarksville, the Cougars had a punt blocked, lost a fumble, threw an interception and were whistled for unsportsmanlike and an unnecessary roughness penalties.
Despite all that, Munford trailed just 16-8 at halftime.
“I told the guys at the half, even before the half, that’s probably one of the worst halves of football we’ve played all year and we’re only down eight points,” Munford coach Slade Calhoun said.
Munford played better in the second half and the defense did not allow another point, but it was too little too late. Clarksville won 16-14, ending Munford’s season in the first round for the second straight season.
“We just never really got in a rhythm,”Calhoun said. “I felt like we got knocked around a little bit defensively. We only gave up 16 points, but I don’t know. I’d say that was about a C game for us. You hate for the guys you love dearly to go out like that. You’d rather play your A game and just say you got beat. I didn’t feel like it was our best effort. It is what it is and that’s how it goes.”
Clarksville needed a late rally to eliminate Munford (7-4) last year. On Friday Clarksville had to hang on down the stretch.
With 4:13 left in the game, Munford got the ball at its own 30, trailing by two points. Jaxon O’Neal could not connect with Jace Hodgin on a fourth-and-five pass and Clarksville (5-5) ran out the clock from there.
Munford’s passing game never got on track. The rushing attack, led by Auvic White’s 140 yards on 25 carries, produced 191 of the team’s 220 total yards.
Things looked pretty bleak when Clarksville scored with 7:08 left in the second quarter to move ahead 16-0.
Munford answered with a nice scoring drive.
White and O’Neal took turns carrying the ball on an all-rushing drive that covered 66 yards in four minutes. White scored from the two and O’Neal ran for the two-point conversion to cut the lead to 16-8.
With 6:49 left in the third quarter, Munford put together one of its best drives of the season, covering 90 yards.
O’Neal hit Kelton Mason twice and White continued to pick up big chunks of yardage as Munford moved down the field. A one-yard TD run by White finished off the drive. O’Neal’s pass on the two-point play was incomplete.
Munford was not able to pick up another first down the rest of the game.
The Cougars won the Region 8-5A title by virtue of a Sept. 18 win against Brighton and hosted a playoff game for a second straight season.
When asked to sum up the season, Calhoun said, “We won the M and M bowl and beat our rival up the road. People can say whatever they want, but we’ve got a trophy that says we’re region champs. You can’t take anything away from that.”