Friday, November 10, 2017

Rockets thump Bethlehem; head to region title game

QB Hunter Boone gives the ball to junior
running back Devon Nesbitt.
MARION, Ky. – Devon Nesbitt just keeps getting better as the Rockets continue to advance further into the Class A playoffs.

The junior running back covered 252 yards and scored four times as Crittenden County beat Bethlehem 41-20 to advance to next week's regional championship game at Rocket Stadium against Campbellsville.

Nesbitt and his cast of co-conspirators scored three unanswered touchdowns in the second half to break open a game that was tied at 20 at intermission. Nesbitt also broke the school record for most touchdowns in a season with his effort in Friday's semifinal matchup. That record had stood since 1963 when Jimmy Hopper rushed for 22. Nesbitt now has 24.

Defensively, the Rockets were solid in the second half, pinning down Bethlehem's one-dimensional running game featuring senior back Tyler Ohler. He had 82 yards at the half, but gained just six the last two periods. Senior Adam Beavers had an outstanding game as did freshmen linebackers Braxton Winders and Tyler Boone. Junior defensive end Sean O'Leary and senior lineman Brady Birk also had top-notch efforts, among others.

Crittenden County scored first, but trailed 13-7 at one point early in the second quarter. A couple of first-half fumbles hurt the Rockets.

However, Bethlehem never was able to fully harness Crittenden's offensive attack. The Rockets punted just once. Although quarterback Hunter Boone threw a touchdown pass to Cody Belt to start the game, the Rocket triggerman was sharper in the second half. He threw for 55 yards before the break, and finished with 166 on 13-of-19 accuracy with a more effectiveness down the stretch, taking advantage of soft coverage on the corners by the Eagles' defensive backs.

Belt finished the game with 112 yards receiving on six catches.

Coach Starnes embrances
receiver Cody Belt after the win.
"Devon Nesbitt was outrageous. He played like he was possessed," said Rocket coach Al Starnes, who has now guided his team to four regional championship games in 27 years. He has won one of them – in 2008.

Crittenden will host the Second District champion Campbellsville next week after it beat Russellville 50-28 in the region's other semifinal Friday. The showdown will be the Rockets' first ever meeting with Campbellsville.

"It was a great game overall and we played very well defensively once we made some adjustments at halftime," Starnes said about beating Bethlehem, a team it had lost to in the regional semifinals the past two years.

"It feels great to extend the season because there at one point I thought it might be all over with," said Starnes, who is retiring at the end of this season.

Bethlehem 7 13 0 0
Crittenden 7 13 14 7

C-Cody Belt 16 pass from Hunter Boone (Belt kick) 6:32, 1st
B-Tyler Ohler 29 run (Bryce Zielke kick) 3:41, 1st
B-Ohler 1 run (kick failed) 11:53, 2nd
C-Boone 1 run (Belt kick) 8:32, 2nd
C-Devon Nesbitt 3 run (kick failed) 1:51, 2nd
B-Brysen Cissell 14 pass from Ryan Mattingly (Zielke kick) :21, 2nd
C-Nesbitt 4 run (Belt kick) 5:19, 3rd
C-Nesbitt 18 run (Belt kick) 2:28, 3rd
C-Nesbitt 16 run (Belt kick) 8:26, 4th

First Downs: Crittenden 21, Bethlehem 12
Penalties: Crittenden 5-50, Bethlehem 11-73
Rushing: Crittenden 48-265, Bethlehem 37-116
Passing: Crittenden 13-19-1, 166 yds., Bethlehem 7-17-2, 108 yds.
Total Yards: Crittenden 431, Bethlehem 224
Fumbles/Lost: Crittenden 2-2, Bethlehem 1-0

Crittenden: Nesbitt 40-252, Caden McCalister 4-5, Ethan Dossett 1-3, Boone 3-5. Bethlehem: Ohler 23-88, Mason Tucker 1-(-14), Riley Collins 7-31, Mattingly 6-11.
Crittenden: Boone 13-19-1, 166 yds. Bethlehem: yMattingly 6-16-2, 98 yds., Ohler 1-1-0, 10 yds.
Crittenden: Belt 6-112, Branen Lamey 3-22, Dossett 2-9, McCalister 1-16, Nesbitt 1-7. Bethlehem: Cissell 2-15, Chris Osborne 1-46, Clay Trusley 1-10, Ezra Dillard 1-20, Ohler 2-17.
A. Beavers: 7 solo, 5 asst, TFL, 2 Sack
C. Belt: 2 solo
B. Birk: 9 solo, 4 asst, TFL
K. Castiller: solo
M. Hunt: solo, 5 asst
M. Joyce: 2 solo
B. Lamey: solo, asst, INT
S. O'Leary: 5 solo, 10 asst
P. Riley: 2 asst, INT
H. Jones: 6 asst
J. Phillips: CF
T. Boone: 4 solo, 7 asst, TFL, Sack
C. McCalister: 4 solo, 4 asst
B. Winders: 10 solo, 5 asst
Records: Crittenden 8-4, Bethlehem 4-8