Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Post-season honors for Rocket football stars

Annual Rocket Individual Awards 
CCHS held its annual football awards ceremony Sunday. Among those honored were (front from left) Jacob Carder, Most Improved Offensive Player; Travis Blazina, Greg “Dozer” Belt Award, Casey Cates, Solid Rocket Award; Micah Newcom, Rocket Captain, Crittenden Press/Paul Mick Leadership Award, Offensive MVP and Rocket Most Valuable Player; Bennett McDaniel, Rocket Captain, Tackles Leader, Hitman Award and Defensive MVP; Gattin Travis, Marion Feed Mill Grit Iron Award; Jason Millikan, Selfless Rocket Award; (back) Brayden Poindexter, Most Improved Defensive Player and JV Defensive MVP; Lane West, Roach Award; Grayson James, Most Valuable Lineman; Caden Howard, RBI Leader; Tyler Belt, Special Teams MVP; Levi Piper, Solid Rocket Award; Quinn Summers, JV Captain and JV Offensive MVP; Brayden Mahnke, Most Improved Special Teams Player; and Gabe Keller, 110 Percent Award and Forced Turnovers Leader.

Nine Crittenden County football players were selected to the All West Kentucky Conference team, which was announced last week.
Additionally, Bennet McDaniel, a senior linebacker, and Gabe Keller, a senior receiver and defensive back, were picked for The Paducah Sun’s All Purchase Football Team.
Former Rocket coach Sean Thompson, now at Paducah Tilghman, was named Purchase Area Coach of the Year. His team was undefeated until the state semifinal.

Friday, November 10, 2023

Despite loss, Rockets find place for their hat

OWENSBORO, Ky. – Four times in the past 21 football seasons, Crittenden County’s playoff hopes have died in Owensboro.

The Rockets have been outmatched and humbled by a running clock each November when it has faced Owensboro Catholic on the road at the end. Friday was more of the same as Crittenden County lost 49-7. The mercy clock was running full steam with just under seven minutes to go in the first half.

Never have the Rockets been able to put a up significant fight against the Aces. Historically, in four playoffs matchups against O’Cath, the Rockets have been outscored 209-14.

For third-year CCHS football coach Gaige Courtney, the loss had little meaning compared to the voyage.

“The game didn’t go the way we wanted it to, obviously,” the coach said. “That’s not what it’s about at this point. It’s about what this team did this year, how they competed and did a lot of things people said they couldn’t do. It’s about the seniors stepping up to the challenge and leading. It’s about all the things they learned through the journey of football.”

For his part, Courtney expressed tremendous esteem for his crew. His pride overshadowed what Owensboro had once again done to a Rocket football team.

“I am just proud of them. I hurt for them always because I know how it hurts,” Courtney added. “I am extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished this season.”

Playing up in Class 2A this fall after considerable success in Class A over the past decade, the Rockets held their own against a brutal schedule and finished as a First Region semifinalist in the postseason.

In this season’s final game, the Rockets had few bright spots. Sophomore Jacob Carder covering an onside kick to start the game and junior Cameron Belcher’s first-quarter interception defending in his own end zone had given Crittenden a sense of belonging. Thanks to those highlights, the Rockets trailed only 7-0 after one quarter against a team rated No. 1 in the state’s 2A power rankings.

Their bubble burst in the second quarter when the Aces returned a fumble and an interception for touchdowns and Catholic quarterback Brady Atwell settled in to complete three of his five scoring passes.

The scoreboard was all too familiar when CCHS has been the unfortunate guests of the Aces. From 2012 through 2014 when the Rockets played up in 2A once before, O’Cath left a blister on their pride. Each of those meetings was met with a similar result to this year’s encounter. 

Still, there was cause to celebrate. The coach reminded us of some those reasons and senior quarterback Micah Newcom provided others. He completed 15-of-28 passes and eclipsed 2,000 yards for the season. He’s just the second Rocket QB to throw for more than two grand in two different years. 

“It’s been a joy,” Newcom said. “The experiences, memories, practice, locker room, games, all of it. We had great times together, great wins, tough losses. It’s all been worth it in the end. I’m proud of everybody and thankful for the opportunity.”

Crittenden County finished 7-5 and won its first 2A playoff game a week earlier against Todd County Central. In 2A this go round, Crittenden won more than twice as many games than it ever had before in that division.

Two of its five losses this fall came at the hands of Owensboro Catholic – a team led by a quarterback who’s making an official recruiting visit to Division I Marshall University this weekend – and a team the Rockets have never beaten in 11 tries dating back to the 1960s.

Going to Owensboro for the playoffs has become akin to waiting on the electric chair. Yet, despite the sting from another death row shellacking, the Rockets had little trouble finding a place to hang their hats.

Crittenden County 0 0 7 0
Owensboro Catholic 7 36 6 0

OC-Noah Rhinerson 16 pass from Brady Atwell (Andrew Garvin kick) 6:39, 1st
OC-Rhinerson 44 pass from Atwell (kick failed) 11:30, 2nd
OC-Carson Lewis 40 interception return (Tutt Carrico pass from Atwell) 11:21, 2nd
OC-Elijah Blair 6 pass from Atwell ( Garvin kick) 7:41, 2nd
OC-Barrett Evans 35 fumble return (Carrico run) 6:45, 2nd
OC-Carrico 45 pass from Atwell (Garvin kick) 2;15, 2nd
OC-Waryn Ebelhar 12 pass from Atwell (conversion failed) 5:33, 3rd
CC-Casey Cates 7 pass from Micah Newcom (Tyree McLean kick) :15, 3rd

First Downs: CCHS 5, OCHS 11
Penalties: CCHS 3-11, OCHS 11-15
Rushing: 14-28, OCHS 17-77
Passing: 15-28-1. 97; OCHS 15-23-1, 231
Total Yards: CCHS 125, OCHS 308
Fumbles/Lost: 2-1, OCHS 0-0

CCHS: Gattin Travis 8-48, Tyler Belt 2-5, Newcom 4-(-25). OCHS: Miles Edge 2-13, Blair 3-14, Rhinerson 1-7, Vince Carrico 2-8, Tutt Carrico 2-9, Cameron Woodward 1-7, Kail Kabalen 3-9, Shaiden Mitchell 3-10.
CCHS: Newcom 15-28-1, 97. OCHS: Atwell 14-18-1, 208; Dremail Carothers 1-5-0, 23.
CCHS: Caden Howard 3-25, Belt 4-24, Gabe Keller 3-27, Camron Belcher 2-14, Travis 1-1, Cates 1-7, Jason Millikan 1-(-1). OCHS: Mitchell Sims 1-33, Rhinerson 5-88, T.Carrico 4-42, Ebelhar 2-30, V.Carrico 1-9, Blair 1-6, Riley Harvill 1-23.
Gabe Keller 7 solos, assists; Gattin Travis 6 solos; Bennett McDaniel solo, 2 assists; Lane West solo, blocked kick; Casey Cates assist; Travis Blazina 2 assists; Tyler Belt 2 solos, 3 assists; Jason Millikan solo; Grayson James 3 solos, 2 TFLs; Kaiden Travis solo, 2 assists; Camron Belcher 3 solos, interception; Caden Howard 2 solos; Brayden Poindexter 6 solos, assist; Tyree McLean blocked kick.
Records: Crittenden 7-5, Owensboro Catholic 12-0

Watch Rockets at Owensboro Catholic | Regional Semifinal

 Go here to O'Cath's Facebook broadcast to watch game

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

AT A GLANCE: O'Cath Round 2



(ABOVE: Ethan Dossett (2015-2018), T.K. Guess (2002-2005),
& Chad Perryman (1990-1993))

These three former Rockets would most likely be on the "Mount Rushmore" for receivers at Crittenden County.  However, there looks to be a new face to discuss belonging with this group.  Sophomore, Caden Howard is getting close to passing these three in several statistical categories.  Click "Read More" below to find out where Howard may land in the receiving records after this week's game!

Friday, November 3, 2023

Rockets beat Todd to advance in playoffs

MARION, Ky. – With a playoff victory on the line late in the fourth quarter Friday, Crittenden County pulled back the curtain to uncover a ground game that’s been as elusive as Big Foot for most of the season, and put away Todd County Central 24-20.

Gattin Travis rushes for late yards
against Todd County Central.
The ninth-ranked Rockets advance to next week’s First Region semifinal matchup against No. 3 Owensboro Catholic, a team Crittenden lost to 62-12 earlier in the season.

After scoring the go-ahead touchdown with just over six minutes to play, CCHS got a huge stop by linebacker Bennett McDaniel – who had been moved to nose guard on the play – forcing Todd Central into a fourth down in Crittenden County territory with 3:11 to go. From there, the offense put the ball in its senior running back’s hands and Gattin Travis rushed for three first downs to kill what was left on the clock.

Travis, who had rushed for 203 in 10 regular-season games, had 60 in the second half against Todd Central. On his team’s final possession, Travis ran for 47 yards on six carries.

“The O-Line and Gattin put it together there on that last drive,” said Rocket coach Gaige Courtney. “We struggled to run the football tonight and honestly we struggled to run it pretty much all year. It just came together on the last drive. We were able to run it and milk the game away.”

Indeed, Crittenden has rushed for more than 100 yards in a game just twice this season. They gained 101 on 22 carries against Todd Central. The other game over the century mark was against Caldwell County. CCHS averaged rushing for just 60 yards an outing during the regular season. 

Tyree McLean had a pivotal fourth-quarter catch
to keep the game-winning drive alive.
On auto pilot since August, the Rocket passing attack, triggered by senior quarterback Micah Newcom, was on target in the playoffs. Newcom on Friday broke the single-season record for most pass completions in a season. Against the Rebels, he was as efficient as ever, competing 25-of-39 for 189 yards with no interceptions and one TD to Caden Howard to open the game’s scoring. 

It was a pivotal first-down pass to junior receiver Tyree McLean that preserved the game-winning drive in the fourth period. McLean made a diving third-down catch at the sideline on an out route to take Crittenden to the Rebel 20-yard line with just under eight minutes remaining. Newcom scored shortly thereafter on a 13-yard quarterback draw and McDaniel caught a pass to complete the two-point conversion for the game’s final score.

The Rebel defense was relentless, closing quickly on Rocket receivers after the catch.

“Todd County came in here ready to take one home,” Newcom said. “They were prepared for us. They were able to stop us multiple times, but when it matter our guys pulled through and we made the most of the opportunities we had.”

Crittenden faced third-and-long often and were forced to punt three times and ran out of downs on two drives in the second half.

The Rockets’ (7-4) second-round opponent, Owensboro Catholic, beat Caldwell County 61-14 this week to open the postseason. The 11-0 Aces will be a formidable challenge. They are ranked No. 1 by the KHSAA RPI power rankings while CCHS is No. 7.

Todd Co. Central 0 14 6 0
Crittenden County 8 8 0 8

C-Caden Howard 11 pass from Micah Newcom (Levi Piper pass from Newcom) 0:00, 1st
T-Grady Reding 57 kickoff return (G.Reding kick) 11:51, 2nd
C-Jacob Carder 4 run (Casey Cates pass from Newcom) 3:50, 2nd
T-Miles Reding 4 run (G.Reding kick) :31, 2nd
T-Brina Farlo 63 pass from M.Reding (pass intercepted by Cameron Belcher) 2:14, 3rd
C-Newcom 13 run (Bennett McDaniel pass from Newcom) 6:20, 4th

First Downs: CCHS 15, TCC 7
Penalties: CCHS 10-100, TCC 15-146
Rushing: CCHS 22-101, TCC 25-76
Passing: CCHS 25-39-0, 189; TCC 8-14-0, 112
Total Yards: CCHS 290, TCC 188
Fumbles/Lost: CCHS 1-0, TCC 2-0

CCHS: Gattin Travis 9-60, Jacob Carder 3-5, Camron Belcher 1-4, Tyler Belt 2-1, Newcom 7-31. TCC: Quinton Grace 16-72, Ricky Woodard 1-0, M.Reding 8-4. 
CCHS: Newcom 25-39-0, 189. TCC: M.Reding 8-14-0, 112.
CCHS: Howard 8-62, Casey Cates 2-17, Tyree McLean 7-49, Gabe Keller 4-34, Carder 1-(-1), Belt 2-29, Travis 1-(-1). TCC: Grace 2-12, Farlow 2-61, Aidan Bobbett 2-28, Grady Reding 1-14, Antonio Fitzgerald 1-(-3).
Gabe Keller 2 solos, 2 assists; Levi Piper 3 solos, 3 assists; Gattin Travis 3 solos, assist, TFL; Bennett McDaniel 5 solos, 2 assists, TFL; Lane West 2 solos, Casey Cates 2 solos; Tyler Belt solo; Grayson James 4 solos, TFL, sack; Tyree McLean solo; Kaiden Travis solo, 4 assists; Camron Belcher 2 solos; Caden Howard 5 solos, assist; Brayden Poindexter 3 solos, 3 assists; Jacob Carder 2 solos.
Players of the Game: Offense Micah Newcom, Defense Bennett McDaniel, Lineman Travis Blazina.
Records: CCHS 7-4, TCC 5-6