By Jeff Rancudo
North Murray High School coach David Gann believes his football team is getting better, and offensive and defensive improvements in recent games back him up.
Special teams, though, may get a little extra work next week.
The Mountaineers held the lead early in Friday night’s Region 5-3A matchup at Adairsville, but defending the Tigers’ kickoff returns proved troublesome in a 31-21 loss.
North Murray (1-5, 0-3) took a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter on a touchdown run by Drake McCowan, who finished the night with 120 yards on 20 carries, including another rushing score. His first touchdown came after the Mountaineers shook off going three-and-out on their first possession by picking off an Adairsville (4-2, 2-1) pass to set up the scoring drive.
But the Mountaineers lead didn’t last long — Adairsville returned the ensuing kickoff to North Murray’s 5-yard line before tying it up with a touchdown and PAT two plays later. On North Murray’s next possession, the Tigers returned a North Murray fumble to the 5 for another short scoring drive.
Adairsville — which led 14-7, 17-7 and 24-14 at the quarter breaks — also returned a kickoff all the way for a touchdown later in the game.
North Murray quarterback Hinton McConkey finished with 125 rushing yards on 17 carries while completing 8 of 17 passes for 120 yards. He completed a 33-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Adams for the Mountaineers’ other score but also had two interceptions.
“We continue to get better,” Gann said. “We’re making fewer and fewer mistakes. Adairsville’s a great football team, we were in it until the end and our kids never quit fighting.”
Outside of the kickoff return touchdown, Adairsville had three rushing scores and a field goal. The Tigers ran for 185 yards on 33 carries and completed 4 of 9 passes for 38 yards with an interception.