Friday, September 16, 2011

Rockets fall 49-0 at Paducah Tilghman

Rocket linebacker Bobby Knox stops Tilghman's J.D. Harmon
but not before Harmon lunged for a first down.
PADUCAH, Ky. – Paducah Tilghman had the ball eight times on offense and scored every series. In a somewhat fortuitous twist for the visiting Rockets, penalties negated two of those touchdowns, limiting the Tornado victory to 49-0 Friday at McRight Field. 

Tilghman's defense scored once. The Tornado is ranked No. 5 in Class 3A.

Tilghman's J.D. Harmon – recruited by several colleges including Kentucky, Louisville and Ole Miss – had just five touches on offense. He made each one count, scoring on two – a 48-yard touchdown run and a 31-yard pass from quarterback Tyler Presnell. Harmon's other three catches went for first downs. The 6-foot-3 senior also intercepted two passes, including one for a touchdown return in the second half. His other pick squelched Crittenden's only scoring opportunity at the end of the half. Harmon grabbed that one in the end zone for a touchback.

Fittingly, Harmon was also crowned Tilghman's homecoming king during a halftime ceremony.

"We were just outclassed," Rocket coach Al Starnes said. "They got the ball to Harmon and he's amazing."

For the Rockets, now 1-3, it was a chance to improve its play against a top-ranked team despite a half dozen key players being out for various reasons, including grades and injuries. Most will be back next week when Crittenden opens play in its new Class 2A First District at home against Reidland.

With Rocket starting QB Bryce Willis out with a concussion, backup sophomore Travis Gilbert turned in a gutsy performance, completing nearly half of his 22 passes for 106 yards. Grant Gardner caught three balls for 31 yards, but the offensive highlights were in short supply. One courageous play came on the first series for Crittenden when punter Dustin Hernandez audibled to a fake, took off running, spun off a would-be tackler and picked up the first down from deep in Rocket territory. 

While Tilghman's speed-laden offense scored six times, its defense was just as impressive. It forced two turnovers and stymied Crittenden's ground game. The Rockets rushed for just 43 yards, averaging only 1.3 yards per carry.

"Tilghman has great athletes," Starnes said. "We had a couple of drives that we were pleased with, but we just couldn't capitalize."

Rocket defensive back Travis Gilbert hangs onto
Tilghman running back Decardia Key.
Trailing by 21 late in the first half, Crittenden went from its own 34 to deep in Tilghman territory. The Rockets tried two passes into the end zone in the final seconds, but the second was picked off by Harmon when he out-jumped Hernandez for the interception. 

"We've played this tougher schedule to get ready for the district," the Rocket coach said. "Now, we''ll see if it pays off."

Next week will be Crittenden's homecoming against the Greyhound, who are coached by former Murray High running back Jon Hedges.

Crittenden Co.    0     0     0     0
Tilghman            14    7    21    7

PT-J.D. Harmon 48 run (Miles Butler kick) 5:03, 1st
PT-Decardia Key 18 run (Butler kick) 1:08, 1st
PT-J.D. Harmon 31 pass from Tyler Presnell (Butler kick) 10:24, 2nd
PT-Presnell 2 run (Butler kick) 8:24, 3rd
PT-Alajuwon Harmon 25 pass from Presnell (Butler kick) 1:22, 3rd
PT-J.D. Harmon 43 interception (Butler kick) :14, 3rd
PT-Aaron Armstrong 9 run (Butler kick), 3:12, 4th

First Downs: Crittenden 9, Tilghman 13
Penalties: Crittenden 2-25, Tilghman 6-45
Rushing: Crittenden 33-43, Tilghman 33-285
Passing: Crittenden 9-22-2, 106 yds., Tilghman 7-14-0, 110 yds.
Total Yards: Crittenden 149, Tilghman 395
Fumbles/Lost: Crittenden 2-1, Tilghman 0-0

Crittenden-Dustin Hernandez 11-28, Brenden Phillips 13-13, Grant Gardner 3-(-3), Zach Tinsley 2-(-1), Lane Wallace 2-2, Travis Gilbert 2-4. Tilghman-Terrell Murdock 6-58, James Hill 3-9, Key 11-83, Darius Spivey-Nunn 4-26, J.D. Harmon 1-48, Trayvon Jones 2-22, Presnell 4-21, Mike Davis 1-9, Armstrong 1-9.
Crittenden-Gilbert 9-22-2, 106 yds. Tilghman-Presnell 7-14-0, 110 yds.
Crittenden-Bobby Knox 1-13, Gardner 3-31, Wes Evers 2-13, Daniel Wagoner 2-12, Lane Wallace 1-37. Tilghman-J.D. Harmon 4-80, Javarious Flemons 2-5, A.Harmon 1-25.
Bebout 4 solos, 3 assists, TFL; Clark solo, assist; Cozart 4 solos, 2 assists, TFL; Evers 2 solos, 3 assists; Gardner 2 solos, 2 assists; Gilbert 5 solos, assist; Hernandez 2 solos, 3 assists; Knox 6 solos, assist, TFL; Lynch solo, assist; Phillips 2 solos, assist; Stone solo, 2 assists; Wagoner 2 solos; L.Wallace 3 solos, assist; Young solo, assist.
Pizza Hut Players of the Game: Offense Travis Gilbert, Defense Bobby Knox, Lineman Stephon Cozart, Special Teams Dustin Hernandez.
Records: Crittenden 1-3, Tilghman 3-2