Any good sportsman can tell you the value of a good hunting dog. While training always plays a big part, some dogs are just born for it, and you can tell that they live for the joy of the pursuit. This becomes very apparent when a long time passes between hunts. Rather than being coaxed into the back of the truck, they willingly jump into their boxes. Once the truck parks in the woods, you can feel their anxiety as you attach the lead. Man and beast struggle against one another. The dog beckons for the woods, pulling with all their might against the hunter trying to get to just the right spot.
When the hunter finally drops the lead, the dog bolts, the weeks of anxiety and waiting over, and they are free.
Such were the Senators this Friday night. All that was pent up after missing a game last week came pouring out of them as they defeated the North Daviess Cougars 55-14 in the first round of sectional action at Elnora.
“With the elements being what they were, we had to come out and establish the ground game early,” said head coach Keith Nance. “From the first snap we dominated the line of scrimmage.”
And dominate they did.
The Senators received the opening kick off and wasted no time running behind the all senior line of Jacob Strange, Mike Leach, Jerren Roll, Charles Madden, Landon Pearson, Bryce Brown and Glen Rankin. Six plays into the drive, sophomore running back Roper McPheeters would find a crease and scamper into the endzone from 25 yards out.
The Senators were just as dominant on the other side of the ball, as they would force the Cougars into the first of several 3 and outs of the evening.
The Senators would find the endzone again on a 3 yard run by senior quarterback Holden Bowsman, and the rout was on.
Senior linebacker Glen Rankin would recover a Cougar fumble, the first of three turnovers the Senators forced on the evening, and Bowsman would find senior running back Bobby Stevens on a 10 yard pass to pay dirt.
The Cougars would find some room to return the ensuing kick, setting them up with their best field position of the evening at the Senator 33.
However, Senior nose tackle Andrew Lewis would recover a fumble on fourth down, and sophomore running back Landon Roberts would cap off the Senator drive with a 15 yard touchdown run.
Rankin would collect his second fumble recovery of the evening before the wet conditions finally caught up with the Senators. After a misplaced snap lost 15 yards, the Senators would be forced to punt for only the second time this season.
The ensuing Cougar drive would end on downs, and Senators needed only one play to take advantage as Stevens would notch his second touchdown of the game, this time on the ground from 15 yards out.
Before halftime, the Senators would force another 3 and out, and the Senators would score again as Stevens found a hole and ran away from the Cougar defense for a 48 yard score.
The Senators held the Cougars to negative total yards in the first half.
“Obviously, we played well”, said defensive coordinator Mark Gibson. “When they got that short field in the first half and we were able to stop them on downs, I thought that was a big turning point.”
The second half would see a running clock. The Senators would force a 3 and out, and freshman running back Greyson McCoy would weave through the Cougar defense for a 30 yard touchdown to give the Senators a 55-0 edge.
The Cougars would add two scores late as the Senators rotated heavily on defense.
The Senators (8-0) will be back at Art Sanders field to take on the Tecumseh Braves in round two of the sectional.