Wave keeps it close

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 2, 2006

MOUNT OLIVE &8212; The Cathedral Green Wave knew they would need a perfect game to take seventh-ranked Mount Olive, and they nearly got it in pushing the Pirates to the limit in a 36-21 loss.

Heading into the game, Cathedral head coach Ken Beesley said the Green Wave would have to shut down Pirate running back Jason McNair.

That didn&8217;t quite happen.

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McNair rushed 35 times for 318 yards and two touchdowns to lead Mount Olive to victory.

Patrick McDonough had another solid game for Cathedral with 171 yards on 14-of-31 passing with a touchdown.

After falling behind 6-0 early, Cathedral took a 14-6 lead on touchdown runs of 19 yards by McDonough and 13 yards by Braxton Fondren. Harrison Burns added both extra points to give the Green Wave a 14-6 lead first quarter lead.

That lead held until 16 seconds remained in the first half, when McNair got a one-yard touchdown run to cut the Green Wave lead to 14-12 at halftime.

The momentum shifted in a big way with exactly nine minutes remaining in the third quarter, when Mount Olive quarterback Julius McNair tossed a 26-yard touchdown pass to Diarian Keller on a fourth-and-15 play to give the Pirates the lead. Jason McNair added the two point conversion.

&8220;The first drive of the second half was the turning point of the game,&8221; said Cathedral assistant Craig Beesley. &8220;We had them fourth-and-15 and they completed a touchdown pass. That play changed the game, because not only did they score, they took the lead.&8221;

Julius McNair struck again less than five minutes later when he hooked up with Steve McNair Jr. for a two-yard touchdown pass. The two hooked up again for the two-point conversion to give Mount Olive a 28-14 lead.

The Green Wave answered with a 38-yard touchdown pass from McDonough to Forrest White with 11:37 remaining in the game. Burns&8217; extra-point brought Cathedral within a touchdown.

The Green Wave were unable to get the ball back for a serious challenge, however, and Jason McNair added another touchdown run &8212; this one from 59 yards &8212; with 31 seconds remaining to seal the win.

&8220;We knew going into it that it was going to be hard to shut them down,&8221; Beesley said. &8220;We played good, we played hard. We just couldn&8217;t stop McNair.&8221;

The loss denied Ken Beesley his 200th win for at least one more week.

Craig Beesley said the coaching staff was proud of the team&8217;s effort.

&8220;We told them that they brought everything they had with them and played a great game,&8221; he said. &8220;We told them we know how good they can play now and we expect that from them the whole year.&8221;

Cathedral will host Enterprise next week at 7 p.m.