Thomas Leads Creek to Jamboree Wins

Jamborees are just that … jamborees.

Glorified scrimmages against another team.

But high school jamborees give coaches one final opportunity to see their teams live prior to the season opener.

On Friday night in Rayville at Mangham Stadium, Cedar Creek head coach Matt Middleton saw his Cougars win a pair of jamboree “games” defeating the host Hornets 6-0 before edging Lincoln Parish neighbor Lincoln Prep 8-6.

Junior AJ Thomas did the bulk of the damage for the Cougars offense, scoring a pair of rushing touchdowns – one in each game.

In the 6-0 win over Rayville, Thomas scored on a 12-yard run for the only points in the ball game. The Cedar Creek defense would do the rest, shutting out Rayville on the Hornets home field.

In the win over Lincoln Prep, Cedar Creek trailed 6-0 until three minutes to play in the game when Thomas scored from six yards out to tie the game at 6-6. Thomas finished the night with 20 yards rushing on three carries on what Middleton called the Cougars “goal-line package.”

Quarterback Caden Middleton then gave the Creek the lead and the eventual “win” with a successful rushing play for the two-point conversion.

Middleton said he was happy with much of what he saw.

“Defensively, we played really, really well,” said Middleton. “I was pleased with us defensively. We also moved the ball on offense. We didn’t punt all night long. The problem is we had two turnovers that ended a couple of drives. But we bounced back. We made some plays. We just have to circle up and clean up a few things offensively before next Friday.”

Middleton completed 11-of-15 passes for 129 yards and one interception in the two games while sophomore running back Lawson Lillo led Cedar Creek with six catches for 45 yards.

“We threw it (a number of) times,” said Middleton. “We threw a couple of vertical balls. We had a couple of 40-yard gains, which is good. We want to stretch the field. So we were able to do that. It opened some things for us.”

Middleton said he was pleased with his entire defense, but specifically praised the efforts of senior defensive back Jed Worthey, who recorded his third interception in two weekends, as well as junior lineman Bryce Rushing, senior linebacker Carson Riley and Thomas.

Cedar Creek will open the regular season Friday night when the Cougars travel down south to Baton Rouge to face Liberty Magnet at Olympia Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

PHOTO:  by Darrell James)

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