Meridian Star

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September 28, 2012

Bouncing Back

Cougars look to rebound from first loss, rash of injuries in 5-4A opener

MERIDIAN —     For the first time this season, Newton County is having to overcome a loss.

    But the Cougars are also having to overcome the loss of three players that suffered knee injuries — including one season-ending — against Germantown last week when they open Division 5-4A play tonight at Northeast Jones.

    “We don’t have any time to pout about it, we’ve got to put it behind us,” Newton County coach Jackie Williamson said. “The kids have had a great week. And this week really starts the season.

    “It was a night where anything that could go wrong did.”

    This week the Cougars will be without defensive lineman Demetre McCleon and offensive lineman Brandon Hollingsworth, while sophomore running back Xavier Sharkey will miss the rest of the season. Sharkey had rushed for 155 yards and two touchdowns, one of four Cougars with more than 100 yards rushing.

    Without him, Newton County will look to lean more on top rusher, senior Michael Lee. Lee didn’t see much time against the Mavericks a week ago as he nursed an ankle injury. However, the 280-yard gainer with five touchdowns is expected to carry the load against the Tigers. Newton County also possesses versatile junior Jamoral Graham, who has rushed for 216 yards on 19 carries while also catching 10 passes for 209 yards. Graham has six TDs.

    “I told the coaches, we are going to be creative and figure out a way to get better,” Williamson said. “Northeast Jones is a really good ballteam. They are really similar to us. They have some good athletes at spots.”

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