MTCS looked to be on its way to a first-round playoff win Friday, but a late fumble on a third-down play proved costly in a 26-21 home loss to the Fayette Academy.
The Cougars drove from their own 30 to the Vikings 2-yard line and appeared to have the game winning score, but the Viking defense rose up to stop Kemari McGowan when they forced a fumble and Bradyn Claunch recovered.
"We battled tonight with a good football team and I could not be more proud of them," MTCS coach Fred Shambaugh said. "We have grown so much this season and the future is bright.
Early on it would appear to be a track meet as the Cougars opened with the football, and on their second offensive play McGowan cut left and scored on a 76-yard touchdown. The point after was missed.
Fayette Academy came right back scoring on a four-play drive keyed by a 53-yard run by Claunch, who finished off the final three yards. The PAT gave the Vikings a 7-6 lead.
Each team score before the halftime break as the Vikings scored on a pass from Rube Scott Rhea to Luke Moore for 39 yards.
The Cougars score on another big play a hitch pass and then a lateral to McGowan, who raced 40 yards for a score. The 2-point conversion made it 14-14 at halftime.
McGowan showed why he is a two-time Mr. Football finalist, rushing for 233 yards on 17 carries, while Rhea threw for 206 yards on 8 of 12 passing.
Moore with three catches for 128 yards, including a 52-yard grab that set up a 4-yard run by Moore. He also had a 32-yard reception that led to a score and a 26-14 victory.
The Cougars (4-7) were done, however, as McGowan had one more play in him as he raced 58 yards for a touchdown.