EC Athletics Staff
The Edmonson County Wildcat football team lost a tough battle with Hancock County last Friday night in Hawesville 38-36. The Wildcats trailed 23-8 at halftime and stormed back but fell just shy of scrapping out a victory.
The Wildcats struggled offensively early in the game. With both its first series inside Hancock County territory, the Wildcats could not capitalize on the good field position. The Hornets got on the board first with a 19 yard touchdown pass after the Wildcats were intercepted on a pass attempt. The Hornets converted the 2 point conversion for an 8-0 lead with 4:44 left in the first quarter. The Wildcats put together another good drive but penalties forced the Wildcats to punt. The Wildcat defense held the Hornets and forced a punt out of their own endzone. The Wildcat offense got the ball at the Hornet 42-yard line but were forced to punt. The Hornets scored again on a 5-yard pass. The Hornets converted the 2 point conversion for a 16-0 lead with 4:26 left in the first half. The Wildcat offense was yet again forced to punt. The Wildcat defense came up big when junior defensive end Tyler Hayes sacked the Hornet quarterback forcing a fumble that senior defensive end John Finch jumped on at the Hornet 20 yard line. The Wildcats used a 4 play drive and scored on a 3 yard touchdown run by Finch. The Wildcats converted the 2 point conversion with another Finch run off of left tackle. The Hornets used a good kick return to set up the last play of the half. From the Wildcat 45-yard line, the Hornets through a deep pass that was caught by a Hornet receiver for a touchdown. The Hornets kicked the extra point for a 23-8 halftime lead.
The Wildcats used an onside kick to surprise the Hornets and sophomore Dylan Waldrop jumped on the kick at the Hornet 44-yard line. The Wildcats used a 7-play drive and scored on a quarterback sneak from sophomore quarterback Jake Dial from 2 yards out. The Wildcats attempt at a 2 point conversion failed to keep the score at 23-14 with 8:23 left in the 3rd quarter. Both teams traded punts during the remainder of the 3rd quarter. The Hornets began the fourth quarter with the football and the Wildcat defense forced another Hornet punt. After a bad snap, Hayes picked up the loose ball and ran 25 yards for a touchdown. Freshmen kicker Brett Brannon added the extra point to cut the deficit to 23-21 with 11:41 left in the game. The Hornets only needed two plays to score on the next series when a Hornet running back squirted free for a 49-yard touchdown run. They added the extra point for a 30-21 lead with 11:08 left in the game. The Wildcats struck right back when junior Jarod Hines returned the kickoff 65 yards to the Hornet 25 yard line. The Wildcat offense needed just one play when Dial found senior receiver Garry Foley behind the defense for a 25 yard touchdown pass. Hines ran in the 2 point conversion to cut the score to 30-29 with 10:43 left in the game. The Hornets then scored on a 54 yard pass when a Hornet receiver caught a slant and went untouched. The Hornets added a two point conversion for a 38-29 lead with 8:39 left in the fourth quarter. The Wildcat offense then used a 15 play drive and scored on a 1-yard sneak by Dial. The Wildcats added the extra point to cut the score to 38-36 with 1:49 left in the game. The Wildcats tried an onside kick but the Hornets recovered. The Wildcats had two timeouts left and used them to force a 3rd and short, but a Wildcats offside penalty allowed the Hornets to run out the clock with a 38-36 win.
Head football coach Kyle Pierce said he was proud of the way his team fought in the 2nd half. “With the way the 1st half ended and we are going in the locker room down 23-8 and have to kick off to them, I was a little worried with how we were going to respond. We came out and played hard and made some plays in our kicking game, offense and defense. Hancock County just made a few too many plays offensively. We kept fighting. When we got down there at the end, we still found a way to drive the ball all the way down field to cut it to two. We were hoping to either get on the onside kick or get a quick stop and try to move the ball down to attempt a field goal to win the game. Hancock County is 3-1 and there is a reason for that. They are extremely talented. We’ve lost our last two games by a combined 9 points to two teams that are both 3-1. So we are close, but we are not there yet. We’ll get back to work and focus on fixing our mental mistakes.”
The Wildcats will now play at home for two weeks with Friday night being Homecoming at ECHS. The Wildcats will face a Metcalfe County team that Pierce says is eerily similar to his team. “They are 1-3 and have played some tough teams as well. Their defensive line is the biggest we will see all year. Their front four’s combined weight is over a 1,000 pounds. So we will have our hands full. We just need to keep doing what we are doing, keep working together and we’ll be fine.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00. Homecoming festivities will be during halftime.