By T. Scott Boatright
Big plays by big-time players — that’s all Cedar Creek head coach Matt Middleton needed Friday night as his Cougars roared past Delhi 52-6 at Cougars Stadium.
Those big-time plays included one that made history as Cedar Creek linebacker Quincy Lewis became the all-time tackles leader for the Cougars.
Lewis’ stop of a Delhi ball carrier for no gain midway through the third quarter was his seventh of the game at that point, making him the Cedar Creek record-holder after passing Christian Marcus (315).
The senior linebacker totaled eight tackles against the Bears and now has 317 on his career.
“You can’t ask for a better dude,” Middleton said. “I’ve talked about it before. He’s old school – a throwback to the ‘70s and ‘80s. You can’t ask for a better guy. He just plays ball and gets better and better and better the more he plays.
“It’s special. It’s a big team deal, so I’m happy for him.”
Lewis said he was glad to put the approaching hoopla in the past as he returned to his role as an offensive guard one play after his record-breaking tackle thanks to an interception by the Cougars’ Garrett Garlington put Cedar Creek’s offense back out on the field.
“I’m glad it’s over,” Lewis said. “It’s one of those things where you try not to think about it, but you’re naturally going to be thinking about it. I knew I needed six. I’m glad it happened and I’m glad I don’t have to think about it anymore for sure. I’m moving on now. I don’t want to think about it again. I’ve got bigger things to think about now.
“We’re going to play Tensas next week. We’re on a roll.”
Cedar Creek’s win over Delhi started with big plays by junior defensive back Ladd Thompson.
Thompson turned in a pair of pass breakups on the game’s first two plays from scrimmage before picking off a pass that he returned to the end zone before it was ruled he stepped out at the Delhi nine-yard line.
Two plays later quarterback Caden Middleton rolled right and fired a six-yard scoring strike to Brian Osborne that put the Cougars on top 7-0 only 26 seconds into the contest following Davis Long’s point after touchdown kick.
Cedar Creek scored again on its second possession after forcing a Delhi punt, driving 83 yards on 12 plays with Middleton powering to paydirt on a one-yard quarterback sneak at the 4:17 mark of the opening stanza.
But the Bears battled back early, with quarterback Mason Monroe launching a 65-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Caden Wiggins. Delhi’s two-point conversion pass failed as the Bears cut Cedar Creek’s lead to 14-6 with 2:58 left in the first quarter.
Another one-yard quarterback sneak by Middleton with 1:18 remaining in the first quarter pushed the Cougars’ advantage to 21-6.
Middleton finished the night with three rushing scores on four carries for seven yards while completing 15-of-23 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns,
“He’s big enough to do it, we just have to wind him up to get him going to do it,” Coach Middleton said of his son’s scores. “I’m proud of him. I’m proud of the whole team. We’re 2-2 after starting 0-2. That’s big.”
Austin Webb went high to outjump a Delhi receiver for an interception shortly later and two series later scored Cedar Creek’s fourth touchdown on a six-yard run to put the Cougars up 28-6 with 8:44 left in the first half.
Two minutes later Caden Middleton scored his third touchdown on a two-yard set up by a Lane Thomas interception that he returned 62 yards to the Delhi eight-yard line.
Thompson’s second interception helped set up a 32-yard field goal by Long that put Cedar Creek up 38-6.
The Cougars added another touchdown with 1:17 left in the first half as Landon Amidon blocked a punt in the Delhi end zone with Blake Robinson snatching up the loose ball for the score to give Cedar Creek a 45-6 left at the half.
Thompson’s big night had him totaled two interceptions and numerous pass breakups along with two receptions for 45 yards and 60 rushing yards on six carries operating as quarterback in a “Wild Cougar” formation.
“He’s catching his stride,” Coach Middleton said of Thompson. “A year ago he was real big for us down the stretch. He kind of got off to a little big of a slow start this season but he’s a heck of a player and a guy we’ve got to get going in these situations. And tonight he did. He’s special, no doubt.”
Thomas accounted for Creek’s final score on a 14-yard run with 2:34 left in the third quarter.
Cedar Creek held Delhi to 98 total yards on the night while picking off six passes.
“We knew they were going to throw all night — they didn’t stop,” Coach Middleton said. “Six interceptions in a game — that’s unbelievable. I was really proud of the secondary. They were huge.
“Obviously I would have liked it to be cleaner, because we want to be clean in everything we do, but for the most part I was proud of them. But after a tough start, we’re 2-2, and I couldn’t ask for anything more than that.
Cedar Creek returns to action as the Cougars play host to Tensas, which stands at 1-3 after falling 52-0 at Ouachita Christian Friday night.