Darren Doyle, story and photos:
It was opening night for the Edmonson County Wildcat Football Team as they went head-to-head with arch rival Grayson County in the 2018 “Tobacco Stick Bowl,” a long-standing tradition for each team. The stick has remained in possession of the Wildcats since 2014.
Edmonson County’s defense was amped up after the Cougars received the opening kick and forced a turnover on downs. The Wildcats took the ball over on Grayson’s 25 yard line, but were unable to score on the series.
Sophomore Quarterback Jon Smith attempted a deep pass on the Wildcats next possession, but it was picked off by the Cougars’ QDarius McHenry who ran the ball for a Grayson County touchdown. The Cougars’ extra point was good and they took a 7-0 lead with 5:21 left in the first.
The Wildcats were able to get on board on their next possession when Smith connected with Brock Stethen on a 12 yard pass for a touchdown. The two-point conversion attempt was no good for the Wildcats and they cut Grayson’s lead to 7-6 with just over two minutes to go in the first quarter.
Grayson County wasn’t finished in the first. With time winding down in the quarter, Cougar quarterback Noah Bullock connected with McHenry on a 32-yard touchdown pass and the extra point was good. Grayson took a 14-6 lead going into the 2nd quarter.
A sloppy second quarter from both teams resulted in no score and Grayson County led 14-6 at the half.
On third down and 3 during the Wildcats first possession, Grayson County picked another pass from quarterback Jon Smith and ran it back for a 55-yard touchdown. The extra point extended Grayson’s lead to 21-6 with 10:30 to go in the third.
The Cougars weren’t finished by any means as the Wildcats continued their offensive struggles. With 1:13 left in the third, Bullock connected to Andrew Haycraft on a 52-yard touchdown pass. The extra point added to Grayson’s lead and the score was 35-6.
The Cougars struck again in the fourth quarter as they played add-on with another three-yard touchdown run. The extra point extended the lead to 42-6 with 6:27 left in the ballgame.
Edmonson County refused to fold up and got back into the end zone with 1:13 left in the game. Senior Jonathan Hollis pushed through with a 7 yard run. The Wildcats’ two-point conversion attempt was no good and they cut the Cougar lead to 42-12, which would be the final score of the game.
Grayson County finished with 3 out 4 pass attempts for 88 passing yards and 228 rushing yards on 32 carries. Edmonson finished 10 out of 20 pass attempts for 112 yards and 84 yards on 31 rushes. The Wildcats also had 5 turnovers, which included four interceptions and one fumble.
"For the first two and a half quarters, I thought we did an excellent job containing McHenry," said Head Coach Nathan Smith. "We hit him well, but the turnovers...In football, that will kill you more than anything. We had four interceptions and a fumble and that's just really hard to overcome against a good football team."
Smith said the team will work to bounce back as they'll prepare to take on Warren East next Friday on the road.
"We just got to get better. We'll be in here on Monday and labor a little bit on Labor Day. We'll watch some film and get ready for the Warren East Raiders next week."
Edmonson County is now 2-1 on the season as Grayson County moves to 3-0.