The 28th annual Cook Cup game between Charlotte Country Day and Charlotte Catholic lived up to its hype, as Catholics Elijah Hood scored the game-winning touchdown with 2:59 to lift the Cougars to a 21-20 victory in front of a standing room crowd at John Cook Field.
You know its going to be a barnburner, Catholic coach Jim Oddo said. It was a heck of an effort by both teams. We were fortunate to be able to come out on top.
As usual, this one was close from the beginning. In the first quarter the teams swapped long touchdown drives, but a missed extra point and a Hood touchdown run in the second quarter would give Catholic a 14-6 lead at half.
Late in the third Country Day tied the score when Sheppard Wilson scored from five yards out, and Thomas Jackson carried it in for the two-point conversion and a 14-14 tie.
After a Catholic punt Country Day drove to the 18 where they faced fourth and one. Rather than try a field goal to take a 17-14 lead, the Buccaneers went for it. Jackson took a pitch and ran to the left, where he was met by the Cougars defense seven yards behind the line. But the senior broke free, eventually running down the left sideline for a touchdown with 8:07 left. However, the extra point was blocked and Country Days lead was 20-14.
Catholic (2-1) took over at their 17 and drove, thanks to Hood, who carried seven times on the drive for 65. His final 10 took him into the end zone for a touchdown. Topher Klines extra point gave the Cougars a 21-20 lead.
Country Day (1-1) had one final chance, but on fourth down Jackson took a pitch and tried a pass, but was intercepted by Cameron Roberts near midfield and Catholic would take back the Cook Cup.
This is the way it is every year with these guys, Hood, who rushed for 179 yards on 27 carries, said. Nothing surprises me when we play Country Day because theyre so good. But to be able to win back the Cook Cup the way we did is a real gut check for our team.
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