Friday, December 4, 2020

Rocket dream dead ends at Louisville 35-7 to KCD

Painful losses mount in state quarterfinal round

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – When so much is expected, nothing can be assumed.

There’s no doubt Crittenden County’s coaching staff and players respected Kentucky Country Day’s football team and its leadership. Above all, Rocket Nation knew the road to Kroger Field and a state championship would be an arduous task. The Rockets had been there before – winning the Class A title game – but that was 35 years ago.

Tyler Boone heads off KCD's running back.
Perhaps that’s whey the loss Friday at Louisville was a bitter pill to swallow.

As dispiriting as it was to lose, it was the final score that hurt most.

The portrayal of a 35-7 final for a team that has worn its pride like a royal sash was too much. The message it might send would surely indicate a sign a weakness.

Only those in the battle knew it was different. Because of the pandemic, only a modest few fans were allowed to be there. Surely, they can testify to the struggle on display for more than three quarters. Yet for the Rockets, a team emblazoned with a coat of arms with Destiny written all over it, the disappointment was unbearable. 

“It definitely was not what we expected,” said Rocket football coach Sean Thompson, who has guided his teams to 28 wins in his 36 games as head coach. “It wasn’t what we expected for this group of
Pain was evident for seniors Tyler
Boone and Braxton Winders.

seniors who had come all this way and put in all the work that they did. I let them down, I didn’t have them prepared.”

The loss cut to the bone for Thompson, whose Rockets have been to the same quarterfinal round the past four playoffs with nothing further. And to have the final score get lopsided late in the game when CCHS was pressing from behind, made it virtually intolerable. 

“As the pressure was put on time wise, it kind of got out of hand. Funny things started happening, things that haven’t happened to us all year,” the coach said.

The game was incredibly close in the first half with KCD using its ground-control, throw-back single-wing offense to chew up clock, keeping the Rocket offense idled on the sideline. Each team had a mere three offensive possession over the first two periods, but KCD’s time of possession was far greater. The Bearcats used more than nine minutes of the opening period to score its first touchdown on a 16-play, 85-yard drive. 

Crittenden fell behind 14-0 after the hosts used a short field to score again on its first series of the third quarter.

Caden McCalister rushed for a team-high 
27 yards at Kentucky County Day.

The Rockets turned the ball over on downs at midfield on the ensuring drive, only an inch from moving the chains and KCD scored again early in the fourth period. 

Facing a 21-0 deficit, the Rockets had to gamble. Two of quarterback Luke Crider’s passes were turned into pick-sixes. From there, the throbbing pain set in.

“We felt like it would be a one-possession game. We felt like it would come down to whoever made the fewest mistakes,” said KCD’s ninth-year coach Matt Jones. “In a lot of ways it did.”

Whether it was two fumbles, the interceptions, penalties at critical junctures or something much more latent, the Rockets were unable to solve a quarterfinal jinx that has stumped them for the fourth straight time. 

The presumption that this fall would be different was shattered by circumstances that only a few were able to witness. Blame that squarely on COVID-19. Otherwise, assume nothing from the final score.

Crittenden County 0 0 0 7
KY Country Day 7 0 7 21

KCD - E.J. Dickerson 6 run (Zach Schonwetter kick) 0:00, 1st
KCD - Drew Russell 10 run (Schonwetter kick) 7:09, 3rd
KCD - Russell 4 run (Schonwetter kick) 6:34, 4th
KCD - Dickerson 43 interception return (Schonwetter kick) 5:37, 4th
KCD - Nathan Caldwell 50 interception return (Schonwetter kick) 2:46, 4th
CC - Kaleb Nesbitt 29 pass from Luke Crider (Noah Perkins kick) 1:04, 4th

First Downs: CCHS 10, KCD 14
Penalties: CCHS 6-45, KCD 2-15
Rushing: CCHS 27-69, KCD 47-167
Passing: CCHS 8-16-2, 94 yds, KCD 3-6-0, 31 yds
Total Yards: CCHS 163, KCD 198
Fumbles/Lost: CCHS 3-2, KCD 1-0


CCHS - Caden McCalister 12-27, Tyler Boone 7-24, Braxton Winders 3-23, Luke Crider 5-(-5). KCD - Dickerson 24-93, Russell 9-38, Troy Humphreys 5-14, Caldwell 7-30, Jalen Todd 1-(-3), Luke Russo 1-(-5).
CCHS - Crider 8-16-2, 94 yds. KCD - Russo 2-5-0, 26 yds., Dickerson 1-1-0, 5 yds.
CCHS - Nesbitt 3-53, Preston Turley 2-25, Maddox Carlson 1-6, Boone 1-8, McCalister 1-2. KCD - Todd 1-16, Max Rumpke 1-5, Dickerson 1-10.
Noah McGowan 4 solos, 4 assists; Preston Turley 2 solos, assist; Ben Dobyns 3 solos, assist, sack; Braxton Winders 2 solos; Tyler Boone 7 solos, 3 assists, TFL; Caden McCalister 6 solos, 7 assists; Lathen Easley 2 solos, assist; Ian Ellington 8 solos, 3 assists, 2 TFLs; Luke Mundy 2 solos; Trace Derrington 4 solos, 3 assists, 2 TFLs; Dylan Yates 4 solos, 4 assists, TFL; Logan Bailey 4 solos, 2 assists. 
Records: CCHS 7-3, KCD 9-1