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By David Sharp
Highland caused four Putnam County turnovers defensively and held a potent Midget offense to 111 yards rushing during a 50-14 victory at Unionville in August 27, 2021 week one area high school football action.
The Cougars answered a lightning fast two play, 97 yard Putnam County scoring drive with a Robert Goehl 75 yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Alex Oenning ran in the two-point conversion, tying the score at eight all with 9:43 to play in the first quarter.
Putnam County quarterback Blaine Perkins ran the football from his own three yard line 59 yards on the first Midget play from scrimmage. Perkins passed to Jude Watt for a 38 yard touchdown strike for a score with 9:50 remaining in the first period. Perkins ran in the two point conversion for an eight point lead.
The game had every mark of an offensive shootout between two speedy football teams blessed with outstanding quarterbacks and skill position players. Putnam County tried a fake punt play.
The run failed, giving Highland a short field from the Midget 22 yard line. Robert Goehl cashed in the opportunity with a five yard touchdown run with 2:43 remaining in the first quarter. Drew Mallett ran in the two point conversion for a 16-8 Highland lead.
The Cougars stopped the Putnam County offense on defense.
Highland overcame a penalty when Devin Stutsman hauled in a 47 yard touchdown pass from Drew Mallett for a touchdown with 10:52 showing on the second quarter clock. Mallett passed to Stutsman for the two point conversion and a 24-8 lead.
Putnam County lost a fumble on the ensuing series of downs. The Midgets had a touchdown taken off the board earlier in the quarter because of a penalty. The football seemed to bounce halfway across the field on the play. Devin Stutsman caught another touchdown pass from Drew Mallett with 10:16 to play in the first half. The two point run failed for a 30-8 Highland lead.
Zander Johnson caught a seven yard touchdown pass from Drew Mallett with 3:35 in the second quarter. Mallett passed to Devin Stutsman for the two point conversion and a 38-8 advantage.
A bad snap on a Putnam County punt created another Midget turnover. Drew Mallett escaped the Midget pass rush to find Cameron Bringer for a 37 yard touchdown toss on a fourth down play with 29.1 seconds remaining in the first half. The two point conversion failed, leaving Highland with a 44-8 halftime lead.
Cameron Bringer picked off a Blaine Perkins pass giving the Cougars possession on their 44 yard line. Drew Mallett passed to Brandon Holder for a 38 yard touchdown with 8:28 to play in the third quarter for a 50-8 Highland lead.
The clock was set in motion by the Missouri Mercy Rule at the start of the second half. The teams exchanged punts. Both coaches began substituting on a very hot night. Putnam County was playing their first game on their new artificial turf field.
The Midgets drove the football 71 yards for what proved to be the final touchdown of the game. Blaine Perkins raced 13 yards for the score with 7:08 to play in the football game.
The two point conversion failed, leaving the final score at 50-14 in favor of Highland. Putnam County rushed 13 times for 111 yards unofficially. Blaine Perkins was the Midget’s leading rusher with 93 yards and a touchdown. Perkins passed 11- 18 for 195 yards and a touchdown for a total yards from scrimmage of 306 yards.
Putnam County turned the ball over four times to none for Highland. Putnam County had six penalties for 65 yards unofficially.
Gage Duvall had four catches for 44 yards. Jude Watt had two receptions for 79 yards and a score.
Highland rushed 29 times for 116 yards unofficially. Robert Goehl led with eight carries for 40 yards and a touchdown. Drew Mallett was 13- 20 passing for 206 yards and five touchdowns. The Cougars had an unofficial total of 322 total yards.
Highland had seven penalties for 65 yards. “Hats off to Putnam. They came out prepared,” Highland coach David DeGarmo said. “We weren’t prepared for the heat. We had to come out and make some real adjustments.”
“They were able to hit us in the beginning. We were able to respond with the big kickoff return for the touchdown. We were able to settle in and do about whatever we wanted.”
Highland pretty much won the battle along the line of scrimmage. “We had some drives that were sloppy, but they ended up in points,” Coach DeGarmo said. “I call that a win this time of the year.”
Considering the speed of Highland’s opponent, the Cougars took a major step forward in their quest to improve defensively. “Their quarterback is a dual threat. He can run the ball. He can throw the ball,” David DeGarmo said.
“We had to clean some things up. Once we got the right guys in the right spots, we really took over the game on defense. Looking at last year, our offense was putting up points, but our defense was giving up too much,” David DeGarmo said.
“To give up 14 points to that team, I think we will call that a big success.”
Highland returns home to take on the Missouri Military Academy at Mexico in week two high school football action. The Colonels lost to Russellville by a 40-6 margin in week one.