In a heartbreaking loss, the Capital Cougars, victims of a botched PAT and blocked field goal, fell tonight to visiting O'Dea, 14-13.
The Cougars, powered by Riley Wall's quick feet and an experienced O-line's excellent blocking, were able to keep pressure on the Fighting Irish's bigger, faster squad. O'Dea appeared unfocused and undisciplined; I lost count at 10 penalties, including successive illegal man downfield calls. The only thing that kept O'Dea from blowing it was a lack of turnovers.
The Cougars led 13-7 with 1:29 left in the 3rd quarter, but couldn't keep the Irish from striking back quickly, edging ahead on a long touchdown pass when a Cougar defender fell down. Capital's attempt to come back was stuffed, but the defense held O'Dea in check, handing the offense the ball with just over 3:00 left in the 4th.
The rally was short-lived, as the Cougars marched backward 18 yards on a series of misdirection plays that didn't fool anybody. After a turnover on downs, O'Dea was able to run out the clock.
Last time these teams faced, in last year's state playoffs, O'Dea plowed through Capital's defense, racking up 46 points. To see our guys come within a field goal try of winning was simultaneously refreshing and disappointing. So close.
Up next, the Cougars face their crosstown rival, the vaunted Olympia Bears in a Spaghetti Bowl that promises to be one of the most competitive yet. If the Cougars can keep playing with this kind of fire, they're going back to state. O'Dea, on the other hand, had better get its act together, or there won't be a potential rematch in the playoffs.
Update: The Olympian's recap is now available. Their take is similar to mine, although they don't mention O'Dea's sloppiness, the major reason their offense never got anywhere and their defense couldn't keep the Cougars in check.