Christopher L Carter
Special to the Times
The Berrien County Rebels fell to the Cook County Hornets 20 to 9 Friday night. This game is the story of two halves for the Rebels. They looked like a team who knew how to move the chains, but just made mental errors in key situations. It looked as if they could pull away from the Hornets on any drive, but to the Hornets credit, they kept themselves in the game. The Rebels accumulated 55 yards of penalties in the first half.
Cook was leading 7 to 3 with two minutes left and possession of the ball. It looked as if they might put more points on the board before the half; however Deterrion White had other plans. White grabbed a tipped pass thrown by Cook quarterback Connor Hilliard, and took it 70 yards for a touchdown. This made the score 9-7 Berrien after a missed extra point, leaving just under a minute left in the half.
Cook refused to end the half by playing conservative and managed to make it 65 yards down field in 52 seconds. This set up a one yard touchdown run for Cook. This made the score 9-13 Berrien after Cook also failed to convert the extra point.
The second half is where it started to run away from Berrien. The weather was the best player for both teams on defense during the second half. After receiving the ball first, Berrien proceeded to drive down field until a muffed snap caused Blake Guthrie to fumble the ball. Cook was in on the recovery. This was one of Guthrie’s two lost fumbles due to the terrible weather conditions. Isaac Tillman also had a lost fumble in the fourth quarter.
Cook threw a screen pass in the fourth quarter that went 20 yards for a touchdown to almost put the game out of reach. This made the score 20-9 with just under five minutes left in the game.
Berrien just did not have an answer for the weather. After accumulating 99 total yards in the first half, they were only able to gain 18 total yards in the second half. They also had zero turnovers in the first half and three costly turnovers in the second half.
The one thing Berrien did seem to improve on in the second half were penalties…that is until the most inopportune time possible. With two minutes left in the game, Berrien needed the ball back, and fast. They held Cook to a fourth and four. Cook decided to go for it considering if they did convert it, they could just run the rest of the clock out. Both teams lined up for what could have been the most important play of the game for Berrien, but a costly off sides penalty gave Cook an automatic first down and ended the game. An anticlimactic end to the Rebels last home game.
The Rebels will look to rebound next week in their final game of the season against Brooks County.