SHANNON – In a matchup featuring two great running backs, it was Keon McGaughy and Shannon emerging with the season-opening victory.
McGaughy, a senior tailback, scored three touchdowns Friday as the Daily Journal’s second-ranked Red Raiders knocked off top-ranked West Point, 27-20.
“In games like this, you gotta make plays,” said Shannon head coach Chad Cook. “And (McGaughy) did.”
McGaughy scored on a 67-yard run in the third quarter, and on pass receptions of 61 and 29 yards in the fourth. The last touchdown was the game winner with 12 seconds left.
“Coach said in practice all week that it was going to come down to the fourth quarter,” said McGaughy, who rushed for 166 yards on the night.
McGaughy’s performance overshadowed another tremendous performance. West Point senior running back Xavier Hogan rushed for 153 yards and three scores.
“We made too many mistakes,” said Green Wave coach Chris Chambless. “You’re not going to overcome too many mistakes.”
Hogan scored from 21 and 12 yards out to give the Wave a 14-12 advantage through three quarters. However, Hogan’s 12-yard run in the final three minutes of the third period was immediately answered by McGaughy’s 67-yard jaunt on the first play from the line of scrimmage following the kickoff.
The momentum would swing the Red Raiders’ way as they scored first in the fourth quarter on McGaughy’s 61-yard reception from Legilbert Bogan. McGaughy ran in the conversion to make it 20-12 with 2:05 left.
That lead was short-lived as the Wave marched right down the field to tie the game on a 9-yard scamper by Hogan.
Never fear Shannon fans, because McGaughy was there to deliver in the end. Bogan found him down the Shannon sideline for a 29-yard catch and score with 12 seconds remaining.
“We practiced that all week,” said McGaughy, who has been starting games since his freshman year. “I was wide open in practice, and I came out here and did it in a game.”
Shawn Goree had a 49-yard touchdown reception of his own, from Shannon’s other quarterback on the night, Jake Scott, in the second quarter.
“To me, it couldn’t have been any better,” Cook said of his team’s performance.
John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal