|Senior receiver Payton Riley caught 2 TD passes.|
Crittenden County rolled up the necessary 35-point cushion early in the first half to force a running clock – a mercy rule designed to end lopsided games as quickly as possible. Even with the clutch in the rest of the way, the steamrolling Rockets piled on more points until the final period when the reserves simply took a knee on the final two possessions. And, after the last two touchdown, Crittenden County didn’t even make attempts on the point-after opportunities.
As expected, it was commanding victory for the No. 6 ranked Rockets against a squad that hadn’t won a game on the field all year – actually since 2015. Caverna’s season ends with a 1-10 mark on paper, its only victory coming via forfeit. After KHSAA’s realignment takes effect next season, the Colonels will join Crittenden, Fulton County and Russellville in the Class A First District.
While the Rocket defense was stifling, senior quarterback Hunter Boone was near perfect leading his team to the trouble-free win. Boone completed 7-of-8 passes, including two touchdowns to classmate Payton Riley. Boone also rushed for a 43-yard touchdown. His backup, junior Hunter Jones followed up with a touchdown strike to senior Branen Lamey, and senior Devon Nesbitt – commonly known as Mr. Six because he holds the school records for touchdowns – rushed for two scores.
|Senior center Brock Langston started the Rocket charge|
and Crittenden never let up until the game was in hand.
Senior linebacker Gavin Dickerson led the defense with two tackles for loss and sophomore Lathen Easley had a sack as Crittenden forced Caverna into six turnovers. Easley recovered two fumbles while senior Travis Kinnis collected a fumble recovery and so did junior Alex Marshall. Lamey and sophomore Braxton Winders each had interceptions.
While Crittenden piled up 303 yards on offense, most of it in the first half, Caverna struggled to mount a serious threat at any point in the game. The Colonels finished with minus-11 yards rushing and had just one first down.
The victory will pit the Rockets next week against Bardstown Bethlehem, a unit Crittenden has played in each of the last three postseasons. CCHS is 1-2 in those encounters, beating the Eagles 41-20 in the same playoff round a year ago.
Bethlehem (4-7) beat Fulton County 21-2 in this week’s first round of the postseason. In the only other First Region playoff game, Russellville beat Fort Knox 35-14 and will travel to fifth-ranked Campbellsville for a regional semifinal next week. Campbellsville was idle this week, getting a bye because Fulton City opted out of the playoffs.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Caverna 0 0 0 0
Crittenden 37 14 6 6
C-Devon Nesbitt 34 run (Ethan Dossett run) 8:32, 1st
C-Hunter Boone 43 run (Dossett run) 7:52, 1st
C-Payton Riley 11 pass from Boone (Parker Johnson kick) 5:44, 1st
C-Nesbitt 18 run (Johnson kick) 5:07, 1st
C-Riley 16 pass from Boone (Johnson kick) 2:47, 1st
C-Branen Lamey 13 pass from Hunter Jones (Johnson kick) 7:33, 2nd
C-Dossett 10 run (Noah Perkins kick) 2:38, 2nd
C-Travis Guess 1run (no try) 6:05, 3rd
C-Maddox Carlson 3 run (no try) 10:05, 4th
First Downs: Crittenden 6, Caverna 1
Penalties: Crittenden 3-15, Caverna 7-43
Rushing: Crittenden 14-197, Caverna 7-(-11)
Passing: Crittenden 8-9-0, 106 yds., Caverna 7-25-2, 64 yds.
Total Yards: Crittenden 303, Caverna 53
Fumbles/Lost: Crittenden 1-0, Caverna 4-4
Crittenden: Guess 5-77, Nesbitt 2-52, Lamey 1-7, Carlson 3-8, Dossett 1-10, Keifer Marshall 1-0, H.Boone 1-43. Caverna: Tony Spears 1-13, Zyier Yates 1-2, Conyer Martin 1-(-10), Drew Rhodes 4-(-16).
Crittenden: H.Boone 7-8-0, 93 yds., Jones 1-1-0, 13 yds. Caverna: Rhodes 5-19-2, 50 yds., Spears 2-5-0, 14 yds., Yates 0-1-0.
Crittenden: Riley 3-33, Dossett 2-25, Nesbitt 1-1, Mitchell Joyce 1-34, Lamey 1-13. Caverna: Yates 3-44, Spears 1-4, Mark Webb 1-2, Rhodes 1-7.
DefenseDickerson solo, assist, sack; Joyce 2 solos; Kinnis fumble recovery; Lamey interception; Langston assist; O’Leary 2 solos, 2 assist, TFL, 2 caused fumbles; Riley 3 assists; Gobin assist; Jones solo, assist, TFL; A.Marshall fumble recovery; Phillips assist; Easley 4 solos, sack, 2 fumble recoveries; McCalister 5 solos, assist; Tabor solo; Winders solo, assist; Bailey solo; Carlson assist; Crider assist; K.Marshall solo; Mundy solo; Stone solo.
Records: Crittenden 10-1, Caverna 1-10