Cats Fall to Rebels 27-14
Story and photos by Joseph Barkoff:
Edmonson County High School football fell short against visiting opponent Todd County Central on Senior Night, Friday, October 20th in Brownsville.
With momentum of Senior Night, senior Wildcat wide receiver Alex Elkins bruised forward with the opening kickoff for a modest 7-yard gain to start ECHS on their own 30-yard line.
Six plays two minutes and 48 seconds later, senior quarterback Noah Meredith would punch in the ball from one yard after being set up by a 51-yard scramble from senior running back Michael Mills.
“Guys, if you’ll execute what I tell you to do, we’ll just go down and score,” ECHS head coach Zach Vincent said to his team before the game.
After the extra point from new recruit senior placekicker Josh Gates, the score was 7-0 in favor of Edmonson County against Todd County Central with 9:11 left in the first quarter.
Edmonson County was able to hold Todd County Central from scoring and force a punt after over five minutes being eaten off the clock in the first.
When Edmonson got the ball back, at first it looked like they were still riding their momentum of scoring first, despite Todd County Central’s adjustments of stacking the box.
Somewhere along the way, something changed. It was small, but not much is needed.
“I thought we’d come out firing on all cylinders, driving the ball, doin’ our thing,” ECHS head coach Zach Vincent said. “Little mistakes. Little things, it gets us every time.”
The Wildcats and Rebels traded punts and the first quarter ended with Wildcats still ahead 7-0 at home.
Despite taking advantage of some throws, "the penalties killed us," he said.
It wasn’t until 2:35 left in the half there would be another score, this time from Todd County Central on a play action with broken coverage on the streaking Rebels receiver.
With just over 18 seconds left in the first half, Mills, who was playing both ways as a defensive back, made an interception on Todd County Central’s 10-yard line and ran it back to the Edmonson County 47 with 0:7.8 seconds left on clock.
With two strikes toward the end zone, both ended in dropped passes and time ran out on the first half with the score tied 7-7 on Senior Night.
Todd County Central opened the second with the ball and after a missed tackle, 56 yards later, they were on Edmonson County’s 8-yard line with only 12 seconds off the clock.
A couple minutes later the score was 7-13 after a failed extra point kick attempt by Todd County Central.
After trading a series of punts, Todd County Central marched down into Edmonson County’s redzone but would turn the ball over on downs and leave Edmonson County with 0:43.8 seconds left in the third quarter.
Edmonson County was unable to advance out of their side of the field and punted giving Todd County Central excellent field position.
Todd County Central took advantage of the short field and drove down to score with 7:06 left in the game, the score was now 20-7 in favor of Todd County Central.
They would score again leaving only 3:30 left in the final quarter. The score, 27-7, was not what Edmonson County had hoped for.
Edmonson County never gave up.
On fourth-down, 10 yards to go, with 2:26 remaining in some players' last home game as seniors, in brilliant stubborn Wildcat fashion, they went for it.
Meredith took the snap, pitched to Mills, handed back to junior tight end Garrett Lyons streaking back from the right to the left, lateralled back to Meredith with Mills now on a fly pattern, 25 yards further down field for a reception and finally run out of bounds at the 43-yard line.
The Edmonson Voice play-by-play succinctly described it as a “pitch, catch, pitch, catch and a toss to Mills.”
The next play senior right tackle, and now part-time running back, Kasey Webb took a handoff and left a wake of defenders for a 9-yard gain.
It was Meredith’s favorite moment of the game, he said.
“Kasey Webb, our right tackle, I don’t think he’s ever had any rushing yards in probably his whole entire football career, he’s always been on the line,” Meredith said. “He got to run the ball and he got about 8 yards. Pretty cool.”
A couple more hand-offs to Mills set up a play action similar to what happened to the Wildcats earlier with the defender giving up long coverage on the fake handoff to Mills.
Sophomore receiver William Saling made the grab in the 11-yard line with 1:03 still left in the game.
Meredith hurled his body into the defense and brought the Wildcats down to the 2-yard line. Now third and goal on the two and no timeouts remaining. It took what seemed like an eternity where they made two attempts in the same amount of time in the first half, now wasted before spiking the ball with only 0:21.2 left in the game.
From the shotgun, Meredith threw to a wide-open Mills in the flats and just into the front left corner of the end zone.
After the extra point, the score was 14-27 in favor of Todd County Central and with 0:15.7 left in the game, they elected to take a knee to run out the clock after the kickoff.
“The penalties that killed us pretty good,” Meredith said. “I thought the effort was there. I thought we played really hard. I think all the seniors gave it all they could. I really do. It’s just a tough game. It was just one of those games.”
After it was all said and done there were 179 yards gained on the ground, 83 through the air, but it was the 6 penalties for around 55 yards and missed assignments for Edmonson County to seal their fates on the evening.
“It’s a tough loss.” Vincent said. “Any time you lose on senior night when it’s your night it’s tough."
Vincent wishes people could see the young men in practice because they work so hard, he said and it breaks your heart knowing the end result is not what they want.
“Overall, I mean I am proud of my guys,” Vincent said. “I don’t care what the score is. Never care what the score is. I mean that’s a lie, I want us to win, but, end of the night, I want these boys to be healthy. I want them to be competitive and happy with themselves and their performance.”
“Some things are bigger than football,” he said.
“As young men, I think they’ll grow up to be great men in life, and that kinda makes me proud,” Vincent said.
On Breckinridge next week, Vincent feels it looks good numbers-wise on paper and tradition says it will be a good game despite what the standings ever say, he said.
Next week at Breckinridge, it’s going to be a game, going to be brawl, Meredith said.
“Just like they all are,” Meredith said. “Football.”
As a senior, Meredith noticed how it all went by so fast, he said. He is glad he was able to play and gets to play one more time.
He does not plan to play football in college but is looking forward to learning the trade of welding like his dad after attending a local trade school, he said.
Next week, Friday, October 27th at 7 p.m. Edmonson County travels to Breckinridge County High School for the final regular season game.