Friday, November 8, 2019

Rockets ride Crider's arm to 46-0 playoff win

Rocket QB Luke Crider threw 4 TD passes.
MARION, Ky. – No crystal ball needed to figure out how this one was going to turnout, but it sure looked a smidgin different than most might have painted it.

There was never much doubt that seventh-ranked Crittenden County would dispose of Caverna (1-10) quite handily in the opening round of the Class A playoffs, and indeed the Rockets (9-2) did just that, beating the Colonels 46-0.

The manner in which it was fulfilled was through a distinctively measured scheme designed to build a budding quarterback’s confidence. 

Mission accomplished on that front, too.

Sophomore quarterback Luke Crider, a starter since he took the controls at halftime and guided Crittenden to a comeback win three weeks ago at Fulton County, was unleashed against Caverna. Third on the depth chart when the season opened, Crider has nudged his way into the limelight and on Friday he spread those ripening wings with an aerial assault on the Colonels’ secondary.

On the coldest night of the football season, the Rockets surprised Caverna and most of its faithful followers by turning Crider loose to throw the Rockets into the second round of postseason. He passed for four touchdowns on 10-of-17 efficiency and it could have been much better. Blame it on numb hands amid the 20-something-degree ice box, but five of his incomplete passes were simply dropped by receivers. His only truly errant balls were one he threw short and another that was picked off by Caverna.

It was the first four-passing-TD performance by a Rocket quarterback this season.

The Rockets were hot in the first round of the
playoffs, but it was a cold night and the glow
of a sideline heater was quite attractive.
The maturation process may not be complete, but Crider certainly gained a measure of personal trust, and further faith from his teammates, as he helped vault the Rockets into next week’s post-season district title game against Russellville. The Panthers held off resilient Fulton County to win 32-27 on a touchdown in the waning minutes of the other opening-round game at Russellville. The Rockets had to come from behind two weeks ago to beat Russellville 21-14 in their regular-season meeting, and the Panthers will come back to Marion next Friday seeking revenge.

A new playoff system forces teams to play within their own district in the first two rounds of postseason. The third round – with a regional championship at stake – will be played by teams paired by a new RPI (Rating Percentage Index).

Crittenden’s defense was its typical stingy self against Caverna, holding the Colonels to just 33 yards on the ground and forcing six turnovers. Caverna, too, went largely to the air in its bid for an upset. Quarterback Zyier Yates put it up 29 times and his receivers caught 13. The Rocket defensive backs snagged three. 

Preston Turley picked off one of those, and he also caught Crider’s first touchdown passes. Caden McCalister also intercepted a pass on defense and caught a touchdown pass from Crider. Isaac Sarles had the other interception. 

Crittenden recovered three Caverna fumbles. Those were bottled up in by Logan Bailey, McCalister and Dalton Wood. Braxton Winders had a couple of sacks for the CCHS defense.

Caverna     0    0     0  0
Crittenden  34    6   6  0

C-Preston Turley 35 pass from Luke Crider (kick failed) 11:20, 1st
C-Turley 4 pass from Crider (Noah Perkins kick) 6:52, 1st
C-Caden McCalister 15 pass from Crider (Perkins kick) 5:46, 1st
C-Preston Morgeson 1 run (Perkins kick) 3:37, 1st
C-Morgeson 6 pass from Crider (Perkins kick) 1:36, 1st
C-Xander Tabor 3 run (kick failed) 7:53, 2nd
C-Keifer Marshall 5 run (pass failed) :44, 3rd

First Downs: Crittenden 12, Caverna 6
Penalties: Crittenden 7-80, Caverna 9-90
Rushing: Crittenden 19-136, Caverna 20-33
Passing: Crittenden 15-24-1, 184 yds., Caverna 13-29-3, 89 yds.
Total Yards: Crittenden 320, Caverna 122
Fumbles/Lost: Crittenden 1-0, Caverna 4-3

Crittenden: Tabor 5-63, Marshall 7-52, Eli Moss 2-(-2), Kaleb Nesbitt 3-20, Morgeson 1-1, Seth Guess 1-1. Caverna: Colton Riley 7-24, Zyier Yates 13-9. 
Crittenden: Crider 10-17-1, 166 yds., Seth Guess 5-7-0, 18 yds. Caverna: Yates 13-29-3, 89 yds.
Crittenden: Turley 3-87, Morgeson 4-29, McCalister 1-15, Tabor 1-24, Maddox Carlson 1-11, Nesbitt 2-(-1), Trace Derrington 1-10, Logan Bailey 1-8, Alex Marshall 1-1. Caverna: Harley Hoskins 5-36, Riley 3-12, #44 1-5, Gil Harper 2-10, #13 1-12, Drew Rhodes 1-14.
T.Guess assist; Jones solo; Phillips solo; Urbanowski solo, TFL: Easley 2 solos, sack; McCalister 3 solos, assist, fumble recovery, interception; N.Perkins solo, 2 assists; Tabor solo, TFL, caused fumble; Turley solo, interception; Winders 4 solos, assist, 3 sacks; Bailey 2 solos, fumble recovery; Carlson 3 solos, TFL; Derrington 2 solos, fumble recovery; Mundy 2 solos; Stone assist; Wood solo, 5 assists, fumble recovery; Burnes solo; S.Guess 2 solos, sack; Holliman 2 solos, caused fumble; Impastato 2 solos, 2 assists, sack; Morgeson solo; Nesbitt 3 solos, assist; R.Perkins 2 solos; Sarles solo, interception.