Durant fell to 3-1 on the season following the 17-7 loss to rival Newsome.
Durant dropped their first game of the season on Friday, a 17-7 loss at the hands of rival Newsome High School, and moved to 3-1 on the season.
The atmosphere was electric at Newsome for kickoff as the stands were overflowing with cheering fans, both bands echoed through the humid September air and both student sections were ensuring that they made themselves heard. Per usual, the Durant student section was dressed head to toe in camo while Newsome’s was a sea of yellow t-shirts that filled their segment of the bleachers.
Durant fielded the opening kick off and the Alafia River Rivalry began. In a muddy and hard-nosed affair, each team failed to score points on their first two drives of the game, with the Cougars failing to convert on two fourth downs and the Wolves punting twice. But as the second quarter began, Newsome struck first.
From their own territory, quarterback Christian Bishop dropped back and fired downfield to Matthew Connely for a huge touchdown reception. The extra point was no good and left the Wolves up 6-0 with 8:34 remaining in the second quarter.
Newsome forced a turnover on the first play of Durant’s ensuing drive but was forced to punt just a few plays later.
The Cougars took over inside their own 10-yard line with time winding down in the half and running back Alex Daley broke free for a massive 56-yard run that downed Durant inside the Newsome red zone. A few plays later Durant was facing third-and-9 from the 13 yard line with seven second remaining in the second quarter and time for just one more play.
After missing the first two games of Durant’s season, Daley returned to action against Brandon in Week 3. In his second game back against Newsome, Daley totaled six carries for 87 yards.
A few plays later Durant was facing third-and-9 from the 13 yard line with seven seconds remaining in the second quarter and time for just one more play. Quarterback Marcus Miguele was forced out of the pocket and fired to the corner of the end zone for Jeremiah Gines but the pass was intercepted and Newsome would hold on to their one-score lead heading into halftime.
Despite Gines proving as one of the most dangerous athletes on Durants’ offense, totaling 146 receiving yards and four touchdowns on nine receptions this season, the junior wide receiver was held to just one reception for one yard on Friday.
Coming out for the second half, Newsome wasted no time adding to their lead. After a big return set them up in Durant territory, running back J.C. Roque took a screen pass to the house on the first play from scrimmage. The Wolves were successful on the two-point conversion attempt and extended their lead to 14-0.
On the next drive Durant found an explosive play of their own as Miguele dropped back and connected with running back Zaevion Jordan for a 61-yard completion deep down the middle of the field. Jordan was able to keep churning for extra yards after the catch and was eventually brought down at the Newsome three-yard line. Two plays later Miguele punched in the touchdown run himself and cut the Newsome lead to 14-7.
Miguele continues to prove himself as a threat with his legs, as well as with his arm. Miguele paced the Cougars in both carries and rushing yards, totaling 109 yards and the lone touchdown for Durant on 18 attempts.
The Wolves would add a late field goal in the fourth quarter to make it a two-score game and despite a number of chances to potentially cut their deficit, Durant was unable to take advantage and was kept off of the board for the remainder of the contest.
Following a tough rivalry loss it’s sometimes hard to look at silver linings before your head has even hit the pillow that evening, but this young Durant team remains 3-1 on the season and fought tooth and nail against a solid opponent in Newsome on Friday night, a team that is fresh off a Regional Finals appearance in 2020 and moved to 3-1 on the night themselves.
Despite an already tight finish, the game was never out of reach for Durant and even felt closer than the ultimate 17-7 result. If a red zone chance here or there had bounced the Cougars’ way then the result may have been different, but at the end of the day it’s simply a tough loss and a game to learn from.
Newsome had notched two 300+ rushing yard performances over their first three games, averaging 267 rushing yards per game heading into the matchup with Durant. The Cougars’ defense held the Wolves to a season-low 126 rushing yards and their second-lowest point total of the season.
On the offensive side of the ball, Durant struggled through the air but was able to rack up 242 rushing yards and 93 passing yards for an impressive 335 total yards of offense.
Durant will head to Sickles next Friday as they look to rebound and get back into the win column against the 3-1 Gryphons.