Friday, October 26, 2012

Rockets lose pesky monkey at Madisonville

MADISONVILLE, Ky. – The proverbial monkey will not be going with Crittenden County to the playoffs against top-ranked Owensboro Catholic.

QB Noah Dickerson (23) hands off to
running back Grant Gardner.
Nope. The Rocket offense got that critter off its back and had Madisonville on the plank for a time Friday after scoring its first touchdown in four games and closing to within 14-7 in the second half.

It had been longest touchdown drought in since 1968. Grant Gardner punched it into the end zone behind lead blocker Brenden Phillips and through a hole opened by linemen Stephon Cozart and Eli Bebout. It was just a one-yard TD run early in the third quarter, but a common sigh of relief rolled from the Rocket Nation as a burdensome load was lifted from the team's shoulders 10 games into the season. It had been Week 5 against Reidland when Crittenden (3-7) had last scored a touchdown.

Those seven points in the third period added up to a real challenge to home-standing Madisonville (5-4). After trailing 14-0 at the halt, Critenden grabbed some momentum by stopping the Maroons on three straight plays then forcing them to punt deep in their own territory on the third period's first series. Madisonville punter Austin Collard was standing at his own seven when he took a bad snap and slipped to the ground, downing the ball and turning it over to the Rockets.

Seven yards to pay dirt wasn't exactly easy. The Rockets had twice earlier in the game penetrated the red zone only to come up empty – once on a missed field goal and once on downs.

On fourth-and-goal from the one, the monkey was finally lifted as Gardner scored Crittenden's only points of the game. Another break or two, however, and the Rockets might have really rattled the monkey's cage. Coach Starnes knew it.

Eli Bebout fights through a block toward ballcarrier Wayne Brown.

"We had some chances," he said. "I was proud of the kids. They never quit. Every week they've continued to play hard. Had we capitalized down there on some opportunities, you never know what might have happened. I really thought we should have gone into halftime tied 14-14," he said.

However, with several starters out – including quarterback Travis Gilbert – Starnes didn't have enough arrows in his quiver to orchestrate an upset of Class 4A district champion Madisonville. Instead, the Maroons prevailed 27-7 thanks to two fourth-quarter touchdowns. One came after a Rocket interception at Crittenden's 15-yard line.

There were plenty of bright spots. Backups filling critical roles due to injures to starters played well. Dylan Hollis and Nick Castiller each had interceptions. Backup QB Noah Dickerson showed signs of being a good passer despite completing just 4-of-22 passes. 

"Noah played well. He's just inexperienced and it showed a times. I'm proud of he way he's played the last two games," Starnes said.

Conditions were less than desirable after a steady rain all day long. However, the Rockets had plenty of shots to pull off of surprising end to an otherwise difficult season against a challenging schedule.

Now, they turn their attention to the No. 1 team Class 2A as Owensboro Catholic awaits the Rockets for the post-season opener.

"We have a great opportunity," Starnes told his team after the game at Madisonville. "We get to play the best team in Class 2A. You have to beat the best to be No. 1, so that's where we'll start."

Bobby Knox has Madisonville's Wayne Brown wrapped up as
Devin Clark comes down the line to help.
At least they'll go to Owensboro minus one monkey.

Crittenden Co.   0    0    7     0
Madisonville      7    7    0    13

M-Danny Demercurio 1 run (Austin Collard kick) 4:04, 1st
M-Wayne Brown 3 run (Collard kick) 6:25, 2nd
C-Grant Gardner 1 run (Micah Hollamon kick) 8:45, 3rd
M-Brown 1 run (Collard kick) 10:50, 4th
M-Ryan Bowman 15 run (kick failed) 10:16, 4th

First Downs: Crittenden 8, Madisonville 13
Penalties: Crittenden 4-35, Madisonville 3-45
Rushing: Crittenden 34-69, Madisonville 38-126
Passing: Crittenden 4-22-2, 53 yds., Madisonville 6-16-2, 151 yds.
Total Yards: Crittenden 122, Madisonville 277
Fumbles/Lost: 1-0, Madisonville 0-0

Crittenden: Gardner 16-48, Brenden Phillips 10-27, Jacob Young 1-3, Zach Tinsley 3-(-1), Noah Dickerson 4-(-8). Madisonville: Brown 7-30, Bowman 9-37, Jaron White 8-31, Alex Gray 3-21, Tevin Pearson 2-8, Demercurio 8-10, Collard 1-(-11).
Crittenden: Dickerson 4-22-2, 53 yds. Madisonville: Demercurio 6-16-2, 151 yds.
Crittenden: Bobby Knox 3-41, Dylan Hollis 1-12. Madisonville: Chris Wheeker 3-119, Bowman 1-17, Pearson 1-7.

Defense Asbridge 7 solos, 3 assists, fumble recovery; Bebout 5 solos, 3 assists, TFL; Clark 5 solos, assist; Cozart 3 solos, 2 assists; Dunkerson solo; Gardner solo; Gaston 2 solos, assist; Knight solo, fumble recovery; Knox 8 solos, 9 assists, TFL, sack; Overfield solo, 2 assists; Phillips 2 solos, 5 assists; Roberts assist; Wagoner 3 solos, assist; Dickerson 5 solos, 2 assists; Hollis 3 assists; Birdwell interception, Castiller interception.
Pizza Hut Players of the Game
Defense Knox, Special Teams Knight, Lineman Bebout.