The McDonogh 35 Roneagles appeared on their way to a season-making victory that also would have dashed the Karr Cougars’ chances for a share of the District 9-4A title.
However, the Cougars would have none of that, surging to a 37-19 triumph on Thursday at Behrman Stadium.
Karr (5-3, 2-1) will end its season next week against Warren Easton, and depending on the result of Easton’s game Friday night against Landry-Walker, could have a shot at a three-way tie for the district title. Easton and Landry-Walker are both unbeaten in district.
“For us, tonight was not about keeping alive any shot at the district title; it was about getting better,” Karr coach Nathaniel Jones said. “We felt we did that. Our kids took some shots from (McDonogh 35) tonight, and they responded to that adversity and were resilient.”
Sophomore quarterback Aldon Clark passed for 199 yards and two touchdowns, and Karr also got defensive touchdowns by defensive back Brennan Lewis and Tyrin Ferguson in subduing McDonogh 35 (1-6, 0-3).
The Cougars, stunned by the Roneagles to start the game, trailed 13-9 at halftime. However, Karr received the second-half kickoff then seized the lead, 16-13, and control of the game with a 13-yard, 76-yard march. Clark completed a 20-yard touchdown pass to Kenneth Simmons in the left side of the end zone with 6:23 showing.
After the ensuing kickoff, the Cougars got a huge play by their defense. Lewis scooped up a fumble by Roneagles quarterback Sidney Wilson and scampered 48 yards for a touchdown and a 23-13 margin at 4:57 of the third.
Leading 30-19 with 7:14 left in the game, defensive end Tyrin Ferguson, an Oregon State commitment, intercepted a pass by Wilson and ran in for the clinching score.
The Roneagles quickly jumped on the Cougars. Karr tried an onside kick on the opening kickoff, but it was recovered by McDonogh 35 on its 48. On the first play from scrimmage, quarterback Sidney Wilson completed a 51-yard pass to wide receiver Torino Minor to the Karr 1. Darius May ran one yard for the touchdown on the next play.
The Roneagles defense then forced a three-and-out, and receiver Omar Spears caught the punt at the McDonogh 35 19. Spears burst to his left, then cut up the middle before outrunning the Cougars to the end zone for an 81-yard touchdown return. Two minutes, 10 seconds into the game, McDonogh 35 had a 13-0 lead.
Karr scored at 11:53 of the second quarter on a 27-yard field goal by Achille Duronslat. It was set up by a 25-yard run by Jurell Dunn to the Roneagles 39 and a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the play assessed against McDonogh 35.
The Cougars further cut into the lead, but not before the Roneagles blew a golden opportunity. McDonogh 35 defensive back Calvin Williams recovered a fumbled pitch from Clark to Nuyjer Refuge at the Cougars 24 at 7:11 of the second.
The Roneagles drove to the 2, but Wilson fumbled on a sneak attempt, and Karr recovered with 6:23 showing.
“That was a big momentum change in the game,” McDonogh 35 coach Wayne Reese said. “Had we gone in for the touchdown, I think their spirits would have been down. Instead, it was a huge break for them. It changed the game.”
The Cougars got the ball back again with 4:39 left before halftime at its 42 after a punt. Five plays later, Clark rifled a pass to speedy receiver Frederick Jordan over the middle at the 20. Jordan turned up field and ran the rest of the way, bringing Karr to 13-9.