By Melissa Meador
ABERDEEN – Shannon quarterback Kendall Cox came into Friday night with something to prove.
The senior missed the entire 2012 season with a leg injury, but found the end zone twice with his feet to lead the Red Raiders to a 21-14 season-opening win over Aberdeen.
“We’ve got a lot of kinks to work out and a long way to go, but Kendall came up big for us tonight,” Shannon coach Darryl Carter said. “The kid runs hard, and he’s a warrior. I can’t ask for anything more out of him right now. We need to work some things out on the offensive line and then we can throw the ball more.”
Cox’s 4-yard keeper to close out the third quarter broke up a 14-14 tie that stood from midway through the second quarter on, and Shannon’s defense made a stand in the red zone in the final two minutes to keep Aberdeen QB Josh Williams out of the end zone.
‘A lot of lows’
“We had a lot of lows and mental mistakes,” Aberdeen coach Mark Bray said. “And that’s what cost us the ball game. We made some bad reads and didn’t throw the ball where we should have late in the game.”
Cox led off the scoring, putting Shannon on the board on its first possession with his first TD run.
Aberdeen’s explosive passing game cranked up on its second drive with Williams finding Sammie Burroughs for a 55-yard scoring strike.
The Bulldogs’ defense recovered a pair of key fumbles midway through the half, including one in Aberdeen territory, to keep Shannon from retaking the lead.
Chandler Montgomery’s punt return gave Shannon a 14-6 lead, but the Bulldogs answered back with a 9-yard scoring run from G.G. Blanchard two minutes later. Williams and Burroughs hooked up again, this time for a two-point conversion to tie things up.
Shannon’s Carter complimented the efforts of his defense, who didn’t play a jamboree game last week.
“Those guys bailed us out the entire game. We blew a million opportunities, but with the first game of the year, we’ll take it,” he said.