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Livingston rallies for first win of season, 36-30 vs. Dallas County

Jerry Hinnen / Sports editor

Down 22-6 at the half against Dallas County, Livingston could have called it quits and moved on to their game against Akron this Friday. But the Cougars pulled together, started pushing a tiring Dallas County side around in the second half, and rallied to claim their first win of the season, 36-30 over the visiting Hornets.

The game was being played Tuesday evening after problems with the Cougars’ field in Livingston in the wake of Hurricane Katrina forced a postponement from the game’s original date on Sept. 2.

Dallas County looked to be cruising early on, building a 22-6 lead at the half. A 29-yard Patrick McGhee pass to Courtney Stubbs on the game’s opening possession put the Hornets in business and McGhee scored himself from six yards out on the quarterback keeper.

After a questionable pass interference call gave the Hornets a third down conversion on their following series, McGhee again found Stubbs for a 34-yard completion to the Cougar 1. McGhee snuck in for his second TD and hit Stubbs a third time for the 2-point conversion.

The Cougars would stay in the game with a touchdown drive of their own on their next possession. A 20-yard pass from senior QB Barry Taylor to Frederick Jones got the Cougars moving, down to the Hornet 40, and from there Livingston kept it on the ground, rushing on eight consecutive plays to put the ball in the end zone. Dominique Childs got the score, carrying up the middle from seven yards out. But the two-point conversion failed, leaving the score 14-6 in the second quarter.

The Hornets would answer immediately. Rafael Miller returned the Livingston kickoff all the way to the LHS 45, and a 20-yard McGhee scramble brought the ball to the Cougar 17. The Hornets would then twice have touchdowns called back for holding calls, but the third time was the charm as Brandon England sliced up the middle from 10 yards out. Another McGhee pass, this time to Miller, put the Hornets up 16 at the break.

But it was a different story from the very beginning of the second half. On the opening possession of the half, the Cougars’ Mario Newell found space along the left sideline and broke loose, going the distance from 67 yards out. Christopher Gaines plowed ahead for the two-point conversion to trim the Dallas County lead to eight.

The Cougar defense kept the momentum going, with Jones intercepting a McGhee overthrow. Livingston capitalized on the turnover, with Newell and big back Rodger Collins doing the duty work. Collins made the biggest play of the drive on third-and-10 from the 12, bowling over Hornet tacklers on his way to the Dallas County 1 and a first-and-goal. Taylor snuck in from there and Collins bulled in for the two to tie the game at 22.

The Cougars were still far from finished, however, as the Hornets made another pivotal mistake by fumbling in their own territory. Jarvis Rice pounced on the loose ball and the Cougars made the most of it. A 33-yard touchdown by Collins was nullified by penalty, but he took it to the Hornet 12 on the next play anyway. Three plays later Gaines punched in from the 2 on the first play of the fourth quarter