A 30-point comeback starting late in the second quarter and continuing into the third quarter wasn't enough for Wallowa as the Cove Leopards defeated the Cougs 62-46 in Old Oregon League action on Friday in Wallowa.
Cove came out with a blistering attack, scoring at will on a bedazzled Cougars squad. On second and eight, only 42 seconds into the contest, Cove running back Nate Savage took the hand off from quarterback Josh Pfel.
Savage wove through the Coug defense on his way to a 48 yard score. His brother Cody carried the ball into the end zone on the conversion, giving Cove the early 8-0 lead.
A costly fumble by the Cougs gave the ball back to Cove on the WHS 40. The Leopards wasted little time, taking advantage of Wallowa's miscue as Cody slipped tackles on his way to the WHS one yard line. Nate took a hand off on second and inches in for the score. The conversion was good upping the Cove lead to 16-0.
The Leopards converted for their third score of the afternoon on a short yardage run by Cody lifting Cove to a 22-0 lead.
The Leopard defense showed their muscle late in the quarter with a big hit on Cougar QB Patrick Green resulting in a Wallowa fumble. Garrett Moore picked up the loose ball advancing it to the WHS 28. Pfel rambled on a six-yard keeper with 2:43 remaining in the opening quarter, giving Cove a commanding 30-0 lead after the successful conversion.
Wallowa wouldn't settle for the big goose egg in the first as Jake Redfield snaked his way to the end zone on a 37 yard run with :24 remaining. Green found Kainola Delatori in the corner for the conversion, cutting Cove's lead to 30-8.
The score energized the Cougars as they struck again at the 9:28 mark of the second on a 28 yard run by Redfield. Randy Spaur scored on the conversion narrowing Cove's lead to 30-16.
Spaur kicked in the afterburners three minutes later, after Wallowa forced the Leopards to punt, with an 80 yard run to cut Coves lead to 30-24 after the Ryan Harshfield conversion.
Wallowa successfully went for the onside kick as Delatori recovered the ball on the Cove 49. Green rolled out delivering the ball to Harshfield for a 30 yard gain to the Cove 12. The Leopard defense made a stand forcing Wallowa into a fourth and long situation. Green rolled out of the pocket getting off a last second pass against Cove's blitzing "D" to Harshfield on the one yard line. Spaur blew through a hole in the middle of the line, knotting the score at 30 all with 4:02 remaining in the second.
The teams duked it out defensively in the third. Cove drew first blood on fourth and goal at the 2:29 mark as Jason Hagey scored around the left side from the one. Raage Sofe ran in the conversion putting the Leopards back on top 38-30.
Redfield showed off his talents late in the quarter as he hit Harshfield on an 55 yard option pass play for the score. Harshfield added the conversion for the second tie of the contest 38-38.
Cove recaptured the lead once again early in the fourth quarter as Sofe slipped through defenders on a 20 yard jaunt to score. After the conversion Cove held the advantage at 46-38.
Wallowa's offense drove down field. Green hit Harshfield on fourth and long with a 25 yard shot to the Cove 21 to keep the drive alive. With 7:37 remaining in the contest Green connected with a leaping Harsfield who pulled the ball down between two Cove defenders for the TD. Spaur added the conversion for the third tie of then game at 46-46.
Cove regained the lead two plays later as Andy Altenberg scored on a run. Cody Savage successfully carried in the conversion giving Cove the lead, 54-46 with 5:17 remaining in the contest.
Cove successfully recovered a questionable on-side kick and drove the field for the final score of the game as Pfel crossed the goal line for the 62-46 win.
"We weren't ready to play football and it cost us at the start," said Wallowa coach Greg Oveson. "We made some bad decisions. I think that we should have thrown the ball more to take pressure off of the backs," he added.
The Cougs, now 2-2 on the season, will try and rebound as they make the long road trip on Friday to the southeast corner of the state to face Adrian.
"It's gonna be a tough match-up," Oveson said.