Cats Earn First District Win Of Season, 23-21
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
Edmonson County football faced their first district opponent tonight at Wildcat Stadium as they took on Metcalfe County for their first win of the season. Clay Walden's late-game 39-yard field goal helped seal the deal in a come-from-behind win.
The Wildcats put the first points on the board as Matt Shaw pushed through for a 6-yard touchdown carry. Clay Walden's extra point was good and the Cats led 7-0 with 2:21 left in the first quarter. The Hornets answered with a solid run that ran into the second quarter and Metcalfe's Gabe Zurmehly made it into the end zone on a 7-yard run. The extra point attempt was no good but the Hornets cut the Wildcats' lead 7-6 with 9:44 in the second.
Momentum would stay on Metcalfe's side as they held the Cats and then answered again on offense on an 18-yard touchdown reception. The Hornets also connected on their two-point conversion attempt and they took a 14-7 lead with 6:53 left in the first half.
Edmonson County's Matt Shaw answered with a 24-yard carry into the end zone and once again, Clay Walden delivered on the kick and extra point, which tied the score 14-14 at halftime.
It was a back-and-forth third quarter, but Metcalfe County found their way back into the end zone with 23 seconds left in the third as Zurmehly scored on a 1-yard push. Their extra point was good and the Hornets were back on top 21-14.
It would be Matt Shaw again for the Wildcats as he scored on a 5-yard touchdown run with 6:27 left in the game. The Cats attempted a two-point conversion but it was stopped by the Hornets and Metcalfe clung to a 21-20 lead.
The Hornets turned the ball over on their next possession during a punt attempt when the kicker actually kicked the ball into one of his own players. The ball was recovered by the Wildcat freshman Noah Meredith on the Hornet's 22-yard line with about 4 minutes to go. Edmonson had little luck making any headway with short runs and an incomplete pass when Walden nailed a 39-yard field goal to put the Cats back on top, 23-21 with 2:46 to go.
The Wildcats held the Hornets on their next possession and were able to hold on in the final minute, going to victory formation for the big district win.
Head Coach Nathan Smith said he was proud of his guys on the night's big win.
"We've had teams before that when they're down in the second half, they just kind of give up, it just kind of goes away," he said. "I was just proud of the way we fought the whole game. Not everything went our way the whole game, but we fought, and I was proud of them."
Smith said in games against Metcalfe in the recent past, it seemed the winner was the team that played most aggressively and he said tonight it was the Wildcats who filled that role.
"It was a great win," he added. "What about Clay Walden?"
Smith joked that Walden's late game heroics should count for the WildcatsLive player of the game, but no one could forget about Michael Shaw's 150-yard rushing night.
"Can we give them co-players of the game?" he asked, as he laughed with broadcasters Scott Lindsey and Granville Meredith.
Not only did Coach Smith discuss Walden's kicking ability, but also the all-around positive results on the field because of his play.
"He's a super-aggressive player and sometimes it burns him a little bit," he said. "But you talk about someone that does a great job of stopping the short game, outside, stopping bubbles, things like that, he did an amazing job there."
The current school record for longest field goal in Edmonson County is currently held by Granville Meredith--46 yards--which has stood for about 35 years. Coach Smith said that Clay Walden has the record in his sights and Meredith said tonight that he'd be happy for Walden to set a new record.
The Wildcats are now 1-1 on the season and is scheduled to take on Warren East on the road next Friday at 7pm. The Edmonson Voice will carry the game live on WildcatsLive, presented by Alford's Pharmacy.