From the outset, the Cougars defense was in no mood to let Anahuac spoil its homecoming on Friday night.
La Marque held the Panthers to 104 yards of offense and came within 13 seconds of a shutout en route to a 24-6 win over Anahuac, the team’s fourth straight win after an 0-3 start while improving to 2-0 in District 12-3A-I.
“We played shutout level defense,” said Cougars coach Mike Jackson. “They did a great job of setting the tone for the night.”
The Panthers (2-4, 0-2) were held to just 35 yards and three first downs before a penalty against the Coogs on a 4th and 5 at their own 36 gave them the ball and allowed them to march downfield for their only score of the night, a 1-yard run from backup Foster Kruezer on a 4th and goal that allowed them to escape without being blanked. The game was the third straight that La Marque’s defense allowed fewer than 200 yards.
Cougars senior quarterback Myles Launius helped make the Panthers pay for stacking the line to prevent the La Marque ground game from dictating the contest as he completed 16 of his 22 passes for a season-high 214 yards and three touchdowns while adding a fourth on a 1-yard run early in the third quarter.
Senior Devin Smith provided the electricity for La Marque’s offense, opening the scoring with 5:06 left in the first quarter, a 22-yard catch from Launius that saw him cut through the middle of Anahuac’s defense. He added a second score when he took a quick screen from Launius, juked a defender and went untouched for a 69-yard touchdown that made it 12-0 with 6:01 in the second quarter.
Running back Perry Preston (14 carries, 103 yards rushing) caught Launius’ third score when he reeled in an 18-yard pass that closed out the scoring with 6:22 left in the third.
“Myles did a great job,” Jackson said. “This was a sign of his becoming more comfortable in the offense.”
Still, the Cougars struggled at times, failing to score twice inside the Panthers 5-yard line and were unable to convert an extra point.
“We’re not putting together a full 48 minutes of play,” said Jackson. “We’re playing in spurts. We left too many points out there.”
Jackson made it clear the team will have to step up their level of play when they travel to East Chambers for the kickoff at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
“This will go a long way toward who wins this district,” he said. “We have to have a great week of practice and focus on playing smart on every play.”