Cowboys vs. Laurel
Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6108) 9 years ago
For what they're worth, here are a few of my sleepy-time thoughts regarding the Cowboys' 27-21 loss to Laurel Friday night:

- The Cowboys weren't outmatched, but they were outexecuted. I think the Cowboys are every bit the team the Locomotives are and are possibly better, but Miles City made more mistakes and lost the turnover battle. A couple of dropped passes didn't help, either.

- The Cowboys' offensive and defensive lines need to utilize their size advantage. The o-line pass blocks very well. Drive blocking, however - not good. And the defensive line consistently lost point-of-contact battles, allowing Laurel's runners to gain 4-5 yards before really being touched. And if shoulder tackles don't work against Michael Buster, Mitch Kaufman, and Michael Martinez-Tillman, they REALLY aren't going to work against Holden Ryan on Friday.

- "One More Day" is a really, REALLY horrible song to play during a homecoming fireworks show, which is a shame, because the fireworks themselves were pretty decent. But what drove the powers that be to select that particular tune remains beyond me.

- I love watching Ben Herzog throw to Alec Haughian (more on that later), but I miss the power-I and the option. Teams play to the skills they have, but it's definitely an adjustment to see the Cowboys run the option on only a handful of plays while throwing over 30 times. That's not a complaint - just me being wistful (and while I'm being wistful, bring back the gold pants already!)

- Looking forward, I think Central is beatable. But it will take a near-perfect game. If Miles City plays like Laurel did, the Cowboys will have a chance. The pieces are there. The big guys need to play angry and everyone needs to work on their tackling technique to have a chance, but I don't see that being an impossibility. Central hasn't lost a conference game since 2005, and that streak simply has to end.

- First place in the Eastern 'A' gets a bye and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. Having a shot at those two things are certainly the juiciest plums to be picked by winning the game, but I think that getting the third seed out of the conference would be preferable to getting the second.

The conference's second seed hosts the third-place team out of the Central (which is weak this year), but then gets to travel to Dillon. I don't think anyone really wants that in the second round. The third seed, though, travels to the second seed in the Central (Belgrade or Havre - which the Cowboys have already faced and done well against). The winner then travels to face the champion of the Northwest (probably Columbia Falls).

Columbia Falls has one of the best passing offenses in the state (along with Hamilton and then Havre), but the Northwest is traditionally the weakest conference in the state. CF would be beatable, and then it would set-up a rematch with the winner of the Eastern A.

- I have a bunch of stat updates and records to post, but I'll do that tomorrow night. Bed beckons.
Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6108) 9 years ago
As promised, here are the the stat tidbits from the Laurel game:

- Evan Haughian rushed for 87 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, giving him his third game with at least 80 yards rushing this season. He now has 301 yards rushing this season, giving the Cowboys the production from the tailback spot that was sorely missing last year (the 2012 Cowboys were led in rushing by quarterbacks Ben Herzog (334 yards) and Alec Haughian (324 yards) as the team finished with with the lowest team rushing yards per game (110 ypg) since official stats started being compiled in 1978. RB's Tanner Treu and Evan Haughian combined for 301 yards in nine games last year.

- Alec Haughian finished the game with 13 catches for 180 yards and his second touchdown of the season. His receptions total broke the record of 10 he had shared with Devin Begger and is the most in a single game by any Class A receiver in the state this year. His yardage total broke his own team record of 165 set earlier this season against Belgrade.

To my knowledge, only Hamilton's Kris Cleveland (10-207-1 vs. Libby) and Butte Central's Kale Guldseth (9-198-4 vs. Billings Central) have had more yards in a game this season. Haughian now has three 100-yard games this season and four for his career, both of which are CCDHS records.

- Alec now has 34 receptions this season, just three off the team record set in nine games by Devin Begger last year. His 534 receiving yards this season rank fourth in CCDHS history - the record is 614, set in 11 games by Sam Hould in 1995.

- Haughian is presently averaging 106 yards receiving per game, putting him in decent position to do something no Class A pass catcher outside of Havre has ever done: accumulate over 1000 yards in a single season. To date, only Marc Mariani (48-1237-16 in 2004), Zach Plum (48-1117-9 in 2012), Daine Solomon (72-1039-9 in 2003) and Coda Tchida (34-1010-16 in 2004) have reached the 1000-yard plateau. The list of receivers to crack 800 yards isn't terribly lengthy and I would be happy to post it on here if anyone is interested (it's a hell of a lot more comprehensive than what passes for the MHSA's listings).

It should be noted that Hamilton's duo of Cleveland and Teague Blome are also on pace to reach 1000 yards this year, so the list might be close to doubling very soon (BTC's Guldseth and Columbia Falls' Ty Morgan are also having outstanding seasons).

- But back to Alec ... his 59 career receptions is the new CCDHS career standard, eclipsing the 53 catches of his cousin Brennan. Alec's 892 career receiving yards rank second, just behind Dustin Frize's 908.

- Ben Herzog had 217 yards passing, which ranks 7th all-time in a single game among Cowboy quarterbacks. It's his 3rd 200-yard game of his career, tying Adam Sanchez and Jordan Bryant for the career mark.

- Herzog's 301 total yards (217 passing, 84 rushing) are also the 7th best in team history, giving him three career games with 300 yards of total offense. No other Cowboy quarterback has more than one. He now has 4217 total yards in his career, breaking Shane Cooley's previous record of 4151.

- His 31 pass attempts against Laurel are tied for the 3rd most in team history (the record is 38 by Chris Morford against Sidney in 1998). Herzog, who also had 31 attempts against Laurel last year, now owns six of the top 10 spots.

- His 15 completions are tied for 2nd most in team history with the 15 he completed last year against Laurel. He owns the top spot (17 vs. Sidney last year) and has six of the top seven single game efforts.

- For his career, Herzog has 1433 rushing yards, which is 16th all-time among Cowboys and fourth among quarterbacks. His 611 yards in five games this year already rank ninth among QBs. Everyone ahead of him on the list did so over the course of at least nine games.

- His 19 career rushing TDs rank 12th all-time and are tied for fourth among QBs. He ranks sixth among quarterbacks with his 12 rushing touchdowns this season (Shane Cooley owns the record with 15 in 12 games in 2010).
Posted by Denise Selk (+1671) 9 years ago
Brilliant, as usual.