Story and photos by Joseph Barkoff:
It was the final regular season football game in the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Division 2a District 2 for the class of 2023 Edmonson County Wildcats, Friday, October 27th at Breckinridge County High School.
It was Breckinridge County’s senior night. It was Edmonson County’s second win of the season.
Not just a win, though. It was a statement.
“I think this game right here proves what the year could have been,” Edmonson County head coach Zach Vincent said after the game.
In the battle of the big cats, the Wildcats tore the fur off of host Fighting Tigers for a decisive 41-0 win.
“Give them some credit,” Vincent said about Breckinridge. “They didn’t have their starting quarter back.”
They still had dangerous players with the ability to break open the game at any point.
Breckinridge was scouted for double pass plays, and other actions off their flanker, Vincent said. He was proud of his boys for identifying those potential plays during the game and calling them out to each other on the field, which meant the coaches didn’t have to scream from the sidelines. The kids were in tune to the game.
“The kids took charge tonight,” Vincent said.
Having noticed the defense, or offense was keying in a certain way, the players shared their experience from the field and adjustments were made accordingly, Vincent said.
“That’s a fun group to coach when they can do that,” Vincent said.
It’s a fun game to watch for the spectators too, of at least the winning team.
Home team Breckinridge County received the ball first and ended up punting but pinning Edmonson County inside the 5-yard line for their first offensive possession.
Folks from Edmonson County double down on what they know, and the Edmonson Voice is not on the radar for scouting from other teams, or the 3-4 defense Breckinridge set up which would have been stouter to receive senior running back Michael Mills up the middle from a shotgun handoff in the endzone from senior quarterback Noah Meredith.
“It was awesome,” Meredith said. “It was like one of them things that you play high school (football) for four years for. It just felt so good. I don’t know how to explain it.”
It was like a chain reaction, he said. First one play was successful. Then another, and another, and then they were able to have some big plays where there really was no answer from Breckinridge.
“Everything clicked,” Meredith said.
Indeed, it did. Clicked into an over six-minute drive and a 55-yard touchdown run by Mills to take the end of the first quarter 7-0 Edmonson County.
No more spoilers but quarter scores, except senior lineman, both offense and defense, Kasey Webb had another touch on the ball. Replays of the game can be found on EdmonsonVoice.com as well as Facebook @TheEdmonsonVoice.
“It’s just fun because playing line your whole life you never get to run the ball,” Webb said. “Only people on the field who don’t get to touch the ball at all. It’s not a very glorious position. You don’t have your name in the newspaper.”
He thinks it’s the first time they have shut out a team since his freshmen year, he said.
“I felt really good about it,” Webb said. I felt like we played a really good defensive game.”
At the end of the first half, Edmonson County defense had allowed no points from the home team and lead 27-0.
“It feels good to get a win on our last regular season (game) as a senior,” Mills said. “We put the team together tonight and come out and smacked ‘em in the mouth and never let off the gas pedal.”
The end of the third quarter was the final score of the game 41-0 in favor of Edmonson County.
After the game sophomore lineman Hunter Kinser was grateful for his coaches and the win, he said.
“It’s pretty good,” Kinser said. “I enjoyed it a lot. We run the ball good, executed good, not much more you can ask for.”
Edmonson County ended the game with 302 rushing yards and 105 passing yards from Meredith and a “record breaking,” according to Mills, two touchdowns in the air.
“X’s and O’s, we’re fine,” Vincent told his team before they took the field. “It’s just Jim’s and Joe’s,”
They had 10 Jim and Joe first downs and even an interception by Meredith in the fourth quarter where after realizing he had room to run, with a smile he slid down after a couple steps.
Score withstanding, each team helped those around them up when appropriate. Like brothers and brotherhood described last week by Vincent is still present today in the sportsmanship executed from both teams.
“I love this sport,” Kinser said.
Win or lose, it is fun to watch when it is done well.
“This group of men, they played backyard ball,” Vincent said. “They were having fun, sharing the ball and giving me advice.”
There are more games yet to come and perhaps the hardest test yet.
“They were pushing each other, coaching each other, it’s wonderful,” Vincent said. “It made my job easy to do.”
The seniors get better every game, Vincent said. They will need to be their best, which is loose and confident in execution, next week at Mayfield High School in Mayfield, Thursday ,November 2 at 7PM.
The smile on Vincent’s face said it all. His cheeks were flush with color from smiling and glowing with pride in his boys’ win. His win. The win. The second of the season. Now Edmonson County (2-8) is set to face an 8-1 Mayfield, the second-ranked team in the division in the post season.
Some folks have expressed the thought it may be a rough night. If the Wildcats from Oct. 27 show up, who knows what could happen.