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Simpson Academy traveled to Sunflower County to take on the Indianola Academy Colonels in a semi-final playoff game. Just like the conclusion of the 2014 season, the Cougars hopes of another state championship ended at the hands of the Colonels. Indianola prevailed by a score of 36-7 and remained unbeaten on the Season. Indianola will play the Silliman Institute on Thursday night on the campus of Millsaps College for the championship.
The game quickly got away from the Cougars. With 11 minutes left in the first half, the Cougars found themselves trailing by a score of 19-0. That deficit grew at halftime to 26-0. The Cougars were unable to muster much of an offensive challenge to the Colonels. The Cougars also provided the Colonels with a short field throughout the first half, putting their defensive in a precarious situation.
On the evening, the Colonels had 285 yards of total offense to the Cougars 201. The colonels ran only 11 more plays than Simpson, having short distances to drive for a score.
The Cougars did not quit, however, and came out in the second half and played a much better ball game. The Cougars scored their sole touchdown midway through the third quarter when Kyle Burney took a pass from his brother Matthew 49 yards for the score. The Simpson defense held the Colonel offense to only one touchdown in the second half. Indianola’s only other points in the second half came on a safety early in the 4th quarter.
The Cougars had a successful year, even though they fell short of their goals. The season saw three victories over schools playing in the AAAA division, as well as victories over long term rival schools.
The Cougars lost two district games as well. Both contests were winnable, but 6 turnovers and untimely penalties were the difference between the Cougars winning their district and finishing in third place.
Kyle Burney led the ground attack for the Cougars this year. On the year, Kyle ran for 2,221 yards on 252 carries and scored 22 touchdowns. He averaged 170.8 yards per game and 8.8 yards per carry. Matthew Burney was second with 840 yards on 139 carries and 11 touchdowns. Triston Cowan had 538 yards on 73 carries and 8 touchdowns.
Matthew Burney also completed 41 of his 73 passes (a 56.2% completion ratio) for 580 yards. He had 8 touchdown passes and 9 interceptions on the year. Yardage wise, the passes were evenly dispersed with Aaron Burney gaining 181 yards on 10 receptions, Triston Cowan gaining 177 on 15 receptions, Kyle Burney gaining 111 on 8 receptions and Cullen Shows gaining 110 on 7 catches.
Triston Cowan led the team in total tackles recording 82 on the season. Riley Runnels was second with 61.5, Will White had 48.5, Patrick Zila had 45 and Aaron Burney had 42.5. Will White had 9 sacks on the year resulting in 73 lost yards, Patrick Zila had 5.5 and Austin Teater had 2.5.
Nicholas Broadhead was credited with 44 pass breakups during the course of the season. Aaron Burney, Cook Weathersby and Kyle Burney each had two interceptions. Patrick Zila forced 3 fumbles, which led the team in that category.
Simpson graduates an exceptional class of Seniors. This group excelled both on the field and off. They will be missed. The younger Cougars will take some time to get over their season ending loss, but will quickly begin preparations for the 2016 season. The team, players, coaches and fans should be congratulated on a fun and successful 2015 season.