One play was all it took to shift the momentum from Edinburgh to South Decatur.
With the scored tied halfway through the second quarter, Edinburgh gambled and went for a first down on fourth-and-2. The Lancers couldn’t convert, and the Cougars had the ball in Edinburgh territory, drove down the short field and scored to get the ball rolling toward a 46-22 win Friday night.
South Decatur (2-3) scored four first-half touchdowns, two of them 24 seconds apart.
Prior to that, it looked like Edinburgh (0-4) was in contention for its first victory. The Lancers had stopped the Cougars four times, and nothing South Decatur did seemed to work.
With one play, everything changed.
South Decatur lost a fumble on its first play from scrimmage, putting the ball at their own 26-yard line. It only took five plays for the Lancers to capitalize as Tyson Sackman threw a short pass to senior Zach Murphy, who juked his way into the end zone. The conversion misfired, but the Lancers had their second lead of the season.
It didn’t last long, as South Decatur’s Tucker Bushhorn stepped in front of Austin Streeval to pick off Sackman’s pass. Two plays later, senior Devon Martin walked in on a sweep from the 7 to tie the score at 6-6.
Then came the fourth-down call that doomed the Lancers.
Sackman took the snap in shotgun formation despite the fact Edinburgh moved before the ball was hiked. Instead of calling a penalty, the referees allowed the play to continue and Sackman was sacked.
Dropped passes also were a problem, as Lancers receivers dropped more than a dozen balls that could have kept drives alive and led to points.
Not helping matters was the Cougars’ Martin, who in addition to his score from the 7 found the end zone on runs of 25 and 5 yards and on a 53-yard pass from senior Kordell Meadows.
Tucker Bushhorn, Clayton McNealy and Max Delvaus also scored for the Cougars.
Streeval scored two late touchdowns for the Lancers, including an 82-yard kickoff return.
The road only gets tougher for Edinburgh next week as it travels to Class 2A No. 10 Milan. Worse still for the Lancers, Sackman suffered a leg injury that likely will keep him out at least a few games.