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South, Southwestern Randolph was back and forth for much of contest

After South Stanly’s 55-38 loss to Southwestern Randolph Monday night in Norwood, Rebel Bulls head coach Ryan Ochier said it is clear what his team has to do next.

“We’ve got to get in shape,” Ochier said.

The Cougars scored three unanswered touchdowns in the fourth quarter to turn a see-sawing 34-32 game into a rare win for Southwestern Randolph. The Cougars finished last season with just two wins and have not had a winning record since 2004.

“We had a lot of people who gave a lot of effort throughout the game. We just didn’t have enough,” he said.

One of those players giving effort for the Bulls was quarterback Jaquez Cooke. The senior ran for 116 yards and threw for 219. His night included five touchdowns, two on the ground and three in the air. Cooke’s three passing touchdowns all came in the first half. Those three scores, combined with a 25-yard scoring run by Darien McKinney, gave the Bulls a 26-21 lead at the break.

South Stanly could not stop the Cougars in the second half. Southwestern Randolph scored touchdowns on its first five possessions of the half. The only thing that stopped the Cougar offense in the second half was clock at the end of the game.

“We made a lot of mistakes and we were tired,” Ochier said. “We started doing our own things and we started making our own plays on the field and weren’t following what was called. There were just a lot of mistakes all the way around. I made some calls I shouldn’t have called.”

Ochier said the fact the Bulls now have a short week before going on the road to face Union Academy Friday night is far from an optimal situation for a team in the early part of the schedule.

“It sucks,” he said. “It’s not something you want to go through. We have first day of school today. We have the game today. We have all this going on at one time. We are not in shape yet to go two games in one week.

“It’s just hard conditioning wise. You don’t get into game shape until three or four weeks into the season. It’s not ideal.”

Monday’s loss is the seventh consecutive loss to open the season for the Rebel Bulls.