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Two teams looking for a victory

Cougars hope to conquer woes on the road at winless Winnfield
Thursday, September 14, 2023
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Ladd Thompson (7) and Grey Worthey (5) will try to help Cedar Creek notch its first win of the season Friday, when the Cougars hit the road and travel to 0-2 Winnfield. Photo by Darrell James

Motivation won’t be hard to find when Cedar Creek ( 0- 2) and Winnfield (0-2) face off on Friday.

With both teams hungry for a win, Cougars head coach William Parkerson knows he won’t need much of a motivational speech to get his team going as they hit the road for the first time this season.

“Yeah, Winnfield they’re 0-2 just like us, so both teams are going to be super hungry and going to be fighting for that first win,” Parkerson said. “It’ll be all about which team can execute better and play smarter.”

Motivation comes two-fold for the Cougars, who are not only trying to pick up their first win of the season but also the program’s first road victory since Oct. 22, 2021.

The latter element doesn’t play too much of a factor in the mindset of Parkerson going in, who reiterated winning on the road comes down to the same principles and discipline for home games.

“It’s the same thing for us. It’s about us and what we execute,” Parkerson said.

The Winnfield Tigers lost their opener 20-14 to Pineville and followed up with a 46-19 defeat to Caldwell Parish last week, despite impressive performances from their quarterback and running back stable.

It’s started as a sharp contrast from Winnfield finishing at 9-3 overall with a loss in the second round of the Division III Non-select playoffs last year.

Winnfield quarterback Damascus Lewis, a junior, has used his legs more than his arm as weapons this season, leading the team in rushing with 123 yards through two games. In the passing game, he’s 15-32 for 218 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.

At tail back, Jaylen Givens is the primary rusher with 17 carries through two games, but his three fumbles have hurt the Tigers’ scoring chances. Winnfield has seven turnovers through its two losses.

In Creek’s 14-12 loss to Vidalia, the Cougars’ defense swarmed to the ball, with Lawson Lillo continuing his hot start with 16 total tackles and three sacks leading the way.

Defensive linemen Blake Robinson and Alex Simpson had standout performances as well, with Robinson finishing totaling five tackles, two sacks and a fumble recovery and Simpson with seven tackles and two sacks, respectively.

“If we keep that same intensity we got last week then, defensively, I feel really good about it,” Parkerson said. “They (Winnfield) get in different formations and try and get leverage in different formations so we’ll need to be ready for whatever they come with.”

The Cougars will have to keep an eye out for Winnfield linebacker Joshua Hayes, who has 26 tackles, four tackles for loss and a sack through two games.

“They’re still in a good space,” Parkerson said of the Cougars. “They know if we make a couple plays and had executed better we could very well be 2-0. But learning to win is learning how to keep your head up and keep at it. We’ll get it turned around.”

A year ago the Cougars started 0-2 and then handled Winfield 35-20 at home. Cedar Creek (02) takes on Winnfield (02) at 7 p.m. on Friday at Stokes-Walker Stadium.