Friday, September 19, 2008

Rockets rip Bulldogs 44-13

MARION, Ky. - Gaige Courtney rushed for 153 yards and three touchdowns as Crittenden County won a pivotal early First District showdown against Fulton City Friday night.

The Rockets opened the offensive gates in their first contest against a Kentucky Class A opponent, scoring on six of their first eight possessions. On defense, Crittenden got stellar play up front and closed the door on Fulton City's potentially lethal rushing attack. The Bulldogs managed just 24 yards on the ground during the first half while the Rockets were piling up a 30-0 lead at the break.

Crittenden's junior quarterback J.D. Gray was perfect through the air, completing all five of his passes for one touchdown and 78 yards. Gray also rushed for 81 yards in the surprisingly easy win over Class A's No. 15 team. The Rockets came into the game ranked 13th.

The victory was especially important to Crittenden's post-season aspirations as it gives the Rockets an early advantage in the district race. Crittenden plays a key district matchup next week at eighth-ranked and league favorite Mayfield. With Ballard Memorial much improved this season, getting the win over Fulton was a big first step toward securing home-field advantage for the first round of the playoffs.

Rocket coach Al Starnes said his team's play was the most complete effort this season and pointed to less experienced players stepping up and filling important roles as the key factor. He singled out Brian Berry, Dyllan Thornton, Dustin McConnell, J.R. Adams and Andrew Freemen for their improved play.

"We simply got after Fulton and they have a very potent offense," Starnes said. "Across the board, it was the best game we've played this year. Our younger kids are getting better and with their maturity as football players, we're seeing positive results."

The coach also pointed to a tough early season schedule for preparing the Rockets for their district opener. Crittenden's two losses were at the hands of ranked Class 4A teams.

"Gaige Courtney showed he can run the ball effectively and J.D. Grey threw the ball very well," Starnes said. "It was a solid game all around."

The Rockets had a shutout going until late in the game when the reserves allowed the Bulldogs to score on a long pass play. Fulton got another touchdown after picking up its own fumble and going 32 yards in the final minute.

Pictured above is Dyllan Thornton (61) sacking Fulton QB Aaron Wilson with some backup from Rocket teammates Joey Pluskota (26), Aaron Berry (53) and Gaige Courtney (28).

Crittenden 44, Fulton City 13

Fulton City 0 0 0 13
Crittenden 8 22 14 0

CC-J.D. Gray 44 run (Brian Berry run) 6:46, 1st
CC-Gaige Courtney 7 run (Dustin McConnell pass from Gray) 6:30, 2nd
CC-Courtney 11 run (J.R. Adams kick) 2:11, 2nd
CC-McConnell 11 pass from Gray (Adams kick) :20, 2nd
CC-Courtney 82 run (Adams kick) 5:01, 3rd
CC-Berry 2 run (Adams kick) :22, 3rd
F-Jacquise Lockett 68 pass from Aaron Wilson (kick failed) 4:51, 4th
F-Rondell Bransford 32 fumble recovery (Lerinzo Ruiz kick) :23, 4th

First Downs: Crittenden 9, Fulton 9
Penalties: Crittenden 6-49, Fulton 6-37
Rushing: Crittenden 40-293, Fulton 38-90
Passing: Crittenden 5-5-0, 78 yds., Fulton 5-12-1, 117 yds.
Total Yards: Crittenden 371, Fulton 207

Crittenden: Gaige Courtney 10-153, J.D. Gray 11-81, Brian Berry 7-38, Andrew Freeman 8-16, Devin Wallace 4-5. Fulton: Jacquise Lockett 10-40, Andre Glass 7-22, Damarquis Young 4-15, David Kirby 1-5, Rondell Bransford 1-2.
Crittenden: Gray 5-5-0, 78 yds. Fulton: Wilson 5-12-1, 117 yds.
Crittenden: Dustin McConnell 2-44, Andrew Freeman 2-29, B.Berry 1-5. Fulton: Aaron Glass 3-32, Young 1-17, Lockett 1-68. Wilson 15-6.
Armstrong solo, 2 assists; A.Berry 3 solos, 4 assists; B.Berry 5 solos, 2 assists, fumble recovery; Clark 3 solos, 4 assists, 3 TFL; Copeland assist; Courtney 3 solos, 5 assists, TFL; Cudnik solo, 2 assists; Fletcher 3 assists; Freeman 3 solos, 2 assists; Gray 5 solos, 3 assists, interception; Hernandez assist; Lee 3 assists, caused fumble; Long solo, 4 assists; McConnell 3 solos, 4 assists; Piper 2 assists; Pluskota 2 solos, 5 assists, 2 TFL, sack; Thornton 3 solos, 3 assists, sack; Urbanowski 2 solos, assist, TFL; Wallace 2 solos, assist; Werne 2 solos, 3 assists; Willis 2 assists.
Players of the Game: Offense J.D. Gray and Gaige Courtney, Defense Brian Berry and J.D. Gray, Lineman Aaron Berry and Dylan Clark.

Records: Crittenden 2-2 (1-0), Fulton 2-2 (1-1).

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