Friday, November 13, 2015

PLAYOFF: Bethlehem overruns Rockets 48-21

Crittenden coach Al Starnes and his boys celebrated
some early success, but the ending was brutal.
BARDSTOWN, Ky. – Bethlehem's powerful running game was more than the Rockets could overcome Friday on the road in a regional quarterfinal as the Eagles rushed for 482 yards and won the Class A playoff game 48-21.

The Eagles didn’t start out clobbering the Rockets. Crittenden actually scored first on a Dylan Hollis touchdown shortly after recovering a Bethlehem fumble in the first period. 

From there, the first signs of their powerful running game started to emerge. The one-two punch of a junior tandem – quarterback Matthew Hagan and running back Hunter Downs – began stinging the Rocket defense. They each scored to close out the first period, but Crittenden answered their host’s final touchdown of the half with a 92-yard kickoff return by senior Alex Cosby. 

The Rockets had a great chance to steal the momentum as the second half kicked off. Their offense moved the ball with authority, pounding it down to the Eagle 12-yard line before stalling. That missed opportunity in the red zone cost the Rockets dearly.

“If we capitalize right there it could have been different,” Rocket coach Al Starnes said. “We always say the first five minutes of the second half will make the difference. If we score there, we might have grabbed the momentum and some other things might have gone our way.”

Instead, the Rockets gave up three unanswered touchdowns thanks to Bethlehem’s two-headed rushing monster. Hagan finished with 216 yards on the ground and Downs was right behind him with 214.

The Eagles swarm RB Dylan Hollis.
“Make no mistake,” Starnes added, “Bethlehem is a very good football team. They have a big line and they dominated us up front both ways.”

Crittenden had manufactured some of its luck early with a couple of key fourth-down conversions to keep drives alive, but in the last half Bethlehem’s relentless running attack had the Rockets on their heels. 

For senior quarterback Nick Castiller, it was a frustrating night, but he did find some personal achievement. Castiller had just 45 yards passing in the first half, but managed to finish with 195 as Crittenden went to the air regularly in catch-up mode down the stretch. The formula allowed Castiller to move into second place in all-time passing yards. His career ends with 2,814 – one yard more than the previous No. 2 quarterback, Jamie Curtis (1989-92). The school’s career passing yards leader is Austin Berry with 3,744. He also now holds the CCHS single-season passing yards records with 2,020.

For the Rockets first season back in Class A football after four years toiling in the much-tougher 2A district, coach Starnes called it a success.

“These kids have lifted this program back to where it needs to be,” Starnes said. “They have done a great job to get us to where we were tonight, in the second round of the playoffs. They brought some excitement back, and I couldn’t be prouder of them."

The Eagles will play at Russellville – a 38-36 winner over Campbellsville – in next week's regional championship game.

Crittenden Co. 7 7 0 7
Bethlehem 14 7 14 14

C-Dylan Hollis 13 run (Will Perkins kick) 7:18, 1st
B-Hunter Downs 3 run (kick blocked) 2:07, 1st
B-Matthew Hagan 11 run (Downs run) 1:08, 1st
B-Zach Ritchie 19 run (Luke Fenwick kick) 1:05, 2nd
C-Alex Cosby 92 kickoff return (Perkins kick) :50, 2nd
B-Hagan 1 run (Fenwick kick) 5:16, 3rd
B-Hagan 4 run (Fenwick kick) :46, 3rd
B-Hagan 61 run (kick blocked) 9:31, 4th
C-Cosby 17 pass from Nick Castiller (Perkins kick) 2:15, 4th
B-Hagan 40 run (Fenwick kick) 1:35, 4th

First Downs: Crittenden 15, Bethlehem 15
Penalties: Crittenden 3-30, Bethlehem 3-25
Rushing: Crittenden 40-147, Bethlehem 66-482
Passing: Crittenden 22-35-1, 195 yds., Bethlehem 0-6-1
Total Yards: Crittenden 342, Bethlehem 482
Fumbles/Lost: Crittenden 2-1, Bethlehem 1-1

Crittenden: Hollis 12-74, Castiller 24-72, Maeson Myers 3-2, Cosby 1-(-1). Bethlehem: Ritchie 7-24, Downs 21-214, Hagan 22-216, Tyler Ohler 2-14, Jackson Gasser 1-14.
Crittenden: Castiller 22-35-1, 194 yds. Bethlehem: Hagan 0-6-1.
Crittenden: Hollis 5-36, Ethan Hunt 2-38, Cosby 5-43, Seth Birdwell 6-58, Tyler Coleman 3-7, Tony Hood 1-13.
Beavers 5 solos, 10 assists, TFL; Birdwell 3 solo, 3 assists, caused fumble; Coleman 2 solos; Cosby 5 solos, 4 assists; Dickerson 4 solos, 11 assists; Fitzgerald 6 solos, 10 assists, fumble recovery; Hicks 4 solos, assist; Hopper solo, 4 assists; Hunt 3 solos, assist; Lamey 2 solos, 5 assists; A.McKinney assist; T.McKinney 11 solos, 4 assists, TFL, Pax.Riley 2 solos, 10 assists; Russelburg solo; Smith 7 solos, 7 assists. 
Records: Crittenden 7-5, Bethlehem 9-3