Cats Fall As Tigers Score With 9.9 Seconds Left
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
The last game of the 2021 football season came to an end for the Wildcats in heartbreaking fashion tonight as Breckinridge County scored a touchdown and a two-point conversion in the final seconds after Edmonson County led as much as 14 with only a few minutes left in the game.
The loss was a brutal ending to a tough, winless season under first-year head coach, Ed Smart. Wildcat football hasn't gone a season without a win since 1972. Coach Smart informed the team this week that he would not be returning as coach next season.
ECHS Principal Jonathan Williams said the search for a new coach for next season is already being discussed.
Breckinridge County started the fireworks early (literal fireworks, as they were shot with each score from the Tigers) as they scored first on a touchdown from Michael Johnson, although the extra point attempt was no good. They led 6-0 with 6:52 in the first quarter.
The Wildcats answered big as Zander Bass returned the kickoff for a 55-yard touchdown. Their two-point conversion gave them the 8-6 lead with 6:42 in the first.
Edmonson County extended their lead with another touchdown in the second quarter as Matt Shaw bulldozed his way into the end zone. The two-point conversion was no good and the Cats led 14-6 at the half.
Shaw connected again for the Cats in the third and Edmonson County enjoyed their largest lead of both the game and the season, 20-6. The Tigers soon answered with a 15-yard TD from Michael Johnson again, and the two-point conversion was good, cutting the Edmonson lead to 20-14 with 4:25 left in the third.
With just under 8 minutes in the game, the Wildcats ran a nice reverse as Michael Mills connected with Daren Alexander for a 16-yard touchdown. After the extra two, Edmonson led 28-14.
The Tigers were far from done as they scrapped back with 4:41 left with Jacob Henning scoring for Breckinridge. The extra two points cut the Edmonson lead to 28-22.
Edmonson County was 16 seconds away from the first and only victory of the season when Tiger quarterback Kiyren Watkins, who stepped back looking to pass, somehow wiggled his way out of the blitz and ran the ball 60 yards for a game-tying touchdown with 9.9 seconds on the clock. The two-point conversion was good to give them a 30-28 lead.
The Tigers pooched-kicked on the kickoff and the ball dribbled up field and off the hands of a Wildcat as time expired. The Tigers celebrated their fourth victory (4-6) in a row as the Cats left stunned.
Edmonson County put up a total of 220 yards of rushing offense, led by quarterback Zander Bass with 98 yards. Michael Mills added 57 yards (as well as 33 yards in passing on two reverses), and Matt Shaw added 46 yards rushing. Daren Alexander notched 33 yards of receiving yardage.
Logan Davis led the Cats in total tackles with 13, while Bass and Mills added 9 each.
The Wildcats finish the season 0-10, with two of those losses as a result of COVID cancellations early in the season.