Edmonson Voice Sports
The ECHS Wildcat football team secured the #3 seed in the upcoming Class AAA state playoffs as they traveled to Hodgenville this past Friday night and brought home a tough 28-21 victory over the Hawks. The win now gives the Wildcats a 6-3 record overall, with a 2-2 record in Region 1, District 2.
The Wildcats got on the board first as the offense took the opening drive twelve plays and scoring on junior running back Daniel Caudill’s 1-yard touchdown run. Sophomore Brett Brannon added the extra point for a 7-0 lead. The Hawks responded taking their kickoff return back to the Wildcat 40-yard line and scoring on a long run the very first play of offense. The extra point tied the score at 7-7.
The Wildcat special teams responded as sophomore quarterback Tucker Cole returned the next kickoff 68 yards to set up the Wildcat offense at the Larue County 27-yard line. Six plays later, Cole found sophomore running back Brayden Carey out of the backfield for a 15 yard touchdown pass. Brannon’s extra point gave the Wildcats a 14-7 lead.
The Wildcat defense made a huge play on the next series as senior defensive end Tyler Hayes jumped on a Hawks fumble, giving the Wildcats the ball at the Hawks’ 31-yard line. This time, the Wildcat offense used seven plays and finished with a 13 yard counter run by sophomore running back Zack Farmer. Brannon’s extra point gave the Wildcats a 21-7 lead toward the end of the first quarter.
The Hawks answered on their next offensive series with a 9 play drive that finished with a 1-yard touchdown pass. The extra point tightened the game to 21-14 early in the second quarter. After eleven plays, the Wildcats were forced to punt on their next offensive series. The Wildcat defense again came up with a big play when junior linebacker Dylan Waldrop intercepted a Larue County pass at the Wildcats’ 25-yard line. Larue County’s defense answered a few plays later when they intercepted a Wildcat pass. The Wildcat defense was able to hold right before halftime to keep the score at 21-14.
The Wildcat defense forced a quick punt to start the second half. The Wildcat offense used a 10-play drive to move the ball to the 18-yard line. On 4th and long, the Wildcats attempted a 35-yard field goal that just missed wide left. The Wildcat defense stopped the Hawks and forced a punt that pinned the Wildcats deep in their own territory. The Wildcats attempted a fake punt but the Hawks were all over it, giving them good field position. After a run took them inside the 5 yard line, they scored a short pass in the right flat. The extra point tied the score at 21 with about 9 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
The Wildcats then drove the ball down the field using a 10-play drive. On 2nd and goal at the 4-yard line, Cole saw an opening and took it all four yards for a quarterback sneak and a Wildcat go-ahead touchdown. Brannon’s extra point gave the Wildcats a 28-21 lead with about 6 minutes to go in the game. The Hawks moved the ball into Wildcat territory to the 35-yard line. However, the Wildcat defense came up with the play it needed as Hayes hit the quarterback as he attempted a deep pass down the middle of the field. Senior free safety Jarod Hines jumped in front of a Larue County receiver and intercepted the ball giving possession back to the Wildcat offense with a little over four minutes left in the contest.
The Wildcat offense then turned to its offensive line and running backs to run out the clock. After one first down, the Wildcats had a 4th and 2 at their own 45-yard line with about 1:30 left in the game. After a timeout, the Wildcats decided to go for a first down. A four yard run by Caudill gave the Wildcats a first down and the offense was able to run out the clock to secure a 28-21 win.
ECHS head football coach Kyle Pierce believes this win was the ultimate team win. “What a great job by our players, our coaches, our fans, and everybody associated with our football program," he said. "It was a tough win, but we pulled it out. Offensively, we had four different guys score touchdowns, but we had others make some big plays. Our offensive line played physical football upfront. Defensively, we forced three takeaways from their offense with a fumble recovery and two interceptions. Our special teams, especially our extra point team who was 5 for 5 for the night, gave us a big boost. We had a couple nice kick returns that gave us good field position. Larue County has some very nice athletes that can run. I was glad to see us stop them when we had to have a stop. The one thing that was so noticeable in this game to me was our body language. When things went well, we were celebrating with each other. When things went bad, we were picking each other up. When the game was won, we were all happy for each other’s success. We wanted to secure our playoff spot, our 6th win guarantees a winning season, and we wanted to win this game as a team. So we accomplished we set out to accomplish against Larue County. I am happy for all of our guys.”
The Wildcats will now rest up a week as they are open this week with no game to play. The Wildcats will return to action on Friday, October 30th at AAAAA Barren County to end the regular season. Pierce says his team needed the break. “Although it would be good to keep the momentum of a couple wins, we need some rest. We’ve been going at it since mid-July. That’s 3 months of contact and it can take a toll on you, not only physically, but mentally as well. We’ll use this week to heal up anything that is sore and hopefully be fresh for Barren County and the playoffs come November.”