Late flurry lifts Cougars over Titans

McDowell quarterback Ben Ballew sets to throw during Friday's 55-21 loss to Alexander Central.

TAYLORSVILLE - For about three quarters, the McDowell Titans had visions of pulling out a huge road win against the undefeated Alexander Central Cougars.

It’s what happened in the final 12 minutes of play that the Titans have unfortunately seen too many times this season as Alexander Central scored 29 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to blow past McDowell 55-21 Friday.

Alexander (8-0 overall, 3-0 NW 3A/4A) went 73 yards and scored in the first two minutes of the game and never trailed. McDowell (1-7, 0-4) was able to pull back even on two separate occasions through the first 36 minutes. But the final 11 minutes quickly turned a battle into a route.

McDowell at the 10:50 mark of regulation got back to within 26-21 when Ben Ballew found receiver Trevor Pearson wide open on a 79-yard touchdown play thanks to busted coverage.

It was at that juncture that the Cougars scored 29 consecutive points in four possessions. That, combined with two McDowell fourth-quarter fumbles, sealed the Titans' fate.

Alexander Central compiled 662 yards of offense, more than 400 of that coming after the break.

The tailback duo of Bryson Godfrey (15 carries, 218 yards, 2 TDs) and Devon Weiss (22-168-TD) did most of the damage on the ground. Godfrey compiled touchdown runs of 66 and 23 yards.

The Titans finished with 319 total yards, most of it through the air. Quarterback Ben Ballew (17-of-23, 233 yards, 3 TDs) put together his best outing of the season, orchestrating two long drives of 80 or more yards in the game. 

Seth Phillips had six receptions for 47 yards and one score. Dakota Effler (72 yards) had five receptions and Pearson along with Andruw Randolph caught two each in a losing effort.

McDowell will continue to look for its first Northwestern Conference win next Friday at Watauga. The Pioneers were upset by St. Stephens 26-21 Friday night.

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