Friday, October 7, 2022

Big Rocket comeback at Liberty Creek

GALLATIN, Tenn. – On a distant voyage, it took not an exotic gem, but an historic replica for Crittenden County to earn its third victory of the season.

The biggest second-half comeback in Rocket football history – well tied for the biggest ever – was needed for Crittenden County to rally from a two-touchdown deficit to win 28-14 Friday against Liberty Creek in northern Nashville.

Caden Howard and Casey Cates
celebrate Howard's TD catch.
The Rockets trailed 14-0 at intermission, but its offense and defense dominated the second half as Crittenden scored four unanswered touchdowns, led by junior quarterback Micah Newcom.

The CCHS quarterback struggled to find his receivers in the first half despite adequate protection from the line, but he threw for two touchdowns in the final two periods and rushed for two more.

“The first half, I will take responsibility for. I wouldn’t let the ball go, wasn’t trusting myself, wasn’t trusting my teammates. That’s on me” Newcom said. “The second half we were able to pick each other up and come together.”

While Newcom was orchestrating the scoring plays, Crittenden’s defense turned the tide on the other side of the ball. The Rockets gave no ground or threw the Wolves’ for a loss on a third of their 18 second-half running plays, including three sacks. Liberty Creek was hampered a great deal by the loss of its top running back, Jake Barbuto, who left the game with just over six minutes to play in the third period with what appeared to be a serious ankle injury. He had rushed for 113 yards in the first half and was pivotal in the Wolves sustaining drives that piled up a dozen first downs. They had only two in the last half.

The Rocket defense caged the the Wolves
in the second half.
The hosts were again hit by a personnel problem when its top receiver in the game, Cooper Schell, was ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct a bit later in the third quarter. He had caught three passes in the first half.

Only one other time in CCHS history had the Rockets come back from a 14-point halftime deficit. The first was in 1993 against Trigg County.

Coach Gaige Courtney said it was a tremendous lift for his squad, which opens district play next week at Rocket Stadium against Fulton County in the annual homecoming matchup.

“Super excited for the guys after being down 14 to nothing at halftime. I didn’t really say a whole lot, these guys just came out and decided they wanted to play,” Courtney said. “Just told them we had to play harder, we had to play faster and we had to play smarter. And that’s what they did.”

Crittenden improved to 3-4 on the season and will play its two First District Class A games over the next couple of weeks against Fulton and Russellville before finishing the regular season at home against Louisville DeSales.

LC-Brian Rager 7 run (Lane McKee run) :18, 1st
LC-Rager 2  run (kick failed) 4:40, 2nd
CC-Caden Howard 20 pass from Micah Newcom (Newcom run) 8:50, 3rd
CC-Newcom 14 run (kick failed) 7:39, 3rd
CC-Newcom 25 run (Preston Morgeson kick) 4:19, 3rd
CC-Kaleb Nesbitt 6 pass from Newcom (Morgeson kick) 4:48, 4th

First Downs: CCHS 8, LCHS 14
Penalties: 10-105, LCHS 12-124
Rushing: 26-113, LCHS 45-167
Passing: 8-14-0, 97, LCHS 7-8-0, 49
Total Yards: CCHS 210, LCHS 216
Fumbles/Lost: CCHS 4-1, LCHS 2-2

CCHS: Tyler Belt 6-30, Gattin Travis 5-2, Seth Guess 2-0, Newcom 13-81. LCHS: Rager 12-21, Jake Barbuto 24-129. 
CCHS: Newcom 8-14-0, 97. LCHS: Rager 7-8-0, 49.
CCHS: Nesbitt 4-42, Howard 2-30, Casey Cates 1-18, Case Gobin 1-7.
Sammy Impastato 7 solos, 2 assits, 3 TFLs, sack; Case Gobin 3 solos, 6 assists; Rowen Perkins 3 solos; Kaleb Nesbitt 8 solos, 4 assists, fumble recovery; Briley Berry 9 solos, 9 assists, TFL, caused fumble; Preston Morgeson solo, assist; Seth Guess 5 solos, 2 assists; KeKoa Kuamoo solo; Evan Belt 2 solos, 2 assists; Gabe Keller 2 assists; Piper 5 solos, 4 assists; Gattin Travis 3 solos, assist; Bennett McDaniel 9 solos, 7 assists, TFL, 2 sacks; Tyler Belt solo, assist; Grayon James assist; Caden Howard solo, caused fumble, fumble recovery.
Players of the Game: Offense Micah Newcom, Defense Briley Berry and Bennett McDaniel, Special Teams Gattin Travis, Lineman Grayson James.
Records: Crittenden 3-4. Liberty Creek 2-5.