Friday, October 21, 2022

Rockets capture district title at Russellville

RUSSELLVILLE, Ky. – Crittenden County lightened its burden a bit with a 43-8 win at Russellville Friday, laying claim to a fifth First District Class A championship in six seasons.

Rockets take the field at Russellville 
Since the end of last season and continuing through pre-season workouts that began in July, the Rockets had been packing around last year’s trophy – a second-place model given to them in the fall of 2021 after losing twice to Russellville, breaking a string of four straight league crowns. The runner-up trophy had figuratively been worn like an albatross around the team’s collective neck as a constant reminder of the common guilt the boys felt for failing to win the district’s first-place prize a year ago.

“This means a lot, especially after what happened last year,” said junior linebacker Bennett McDaneil, who had a key sack early in the game after Russellville had breached the red zone for the only time in a meaningful part of the game. 

His sack and great defense for more than three quarters helped keep the Panthers scoreless until the Rocket reserves let a shutout slip away in the final minute of a running-clock second half.

Rockets gang tackle the Panther QB
“We worked our butts off all offseason for this. We’ve been carrying around that second-place trophy everywhere to remind us what we’re doing this for. So it feels good to come out here and get this done,” McDaniel added.

The well-worn consolation trophy that’s been trailered to away games, walked through the dressing room on a regular basis and posted on the sideline during practices has been formally exorcised from the team’s inner voice. It served a purpose, however, as a haunting reminder that it’s tough to win a championship, and even harder to lose one.

For now, Crittenden will celebrate its perfect run through the regular-season district schedule then quickly turn full attention to the 10th and final game at home next week against Louisville DeSales before hosting at least two playoff contests – as long as the Rockets continue to win in postseason.

Russellville, which lost by three points in last year’s Class A state championship to Pikeville, was a shadow of its former self as the Rockets rolled up four passing touchdowns and two on the ground en route to a 43-0 lead in the final period. Quarterback Michah Newcom was masterfully efficient against the Panthers, completing 12 of 15 passes for 103 yards. 
Kaleb Nesbitt tackles a RHS ball carrier

Junior running back Gattin Travis had his best rushing game this season with 58 yards, finding gaps in Russellville's defense and balancing the offensive attack. Newcom, the team’s leading rusher with 315 yards this year, had 62 yards on the ground against the Panthers.

Freshman Caden Howard caught his fourth touchdown pass of the fall, the most for a ninth grader in a single season in school history. Senior Preston Morgeson caught two scoring strikes at Russellville and moved to within one of the school’s career
record, which is held by Ethan Dossett at 23.

With the league title firmly in hand, CCHS will host Fort Knox in the first round of the playoffs in two weeks, and could get another shot at Bethlehem – a team that beat the Rockets 63-35 in September. That potential encore would be in the second round of the playoffs.

Crittenden 7 15 14 7
Russellville 0 0 0 8

C-Caden Howard 6 pass from Micah Newcom (Preston Morgeson kick) 3:04, 1st
C-Morgeson 4 pass from Newcom (Briley Berry pass from Newcom) 6:18, 2nd
C-Kaleb Nesbitt 6 pass from Newcom (Morgeson kick) :33, 2nd
C-Sammy Impastato 7 run (Morgeson run) 10:31, 3rd
C-Morgeson 5 pass from Newcom (Morgeson kick failed) 2:50, 3rd
C-Gattin Travis 3 run (Morgeson kick) 11:43, 4th
R-Nick Woodard 46 run (Woodard run) :31, 4th

First Downs: CCHS 10, RHS 6
Penalties: CCHS 2-20, RHS 11-85
Rushing: CCHS 20-146, RHS 32-153
Passing: CCHS 12-15-1, 103, RHS 3-8-0, 21
Total Yards: CCHS 249, RHS 174
Fumbles/Lost: CCHS 0-0, 1-1

CCHS: Impastato 1-7, Travis 8-58, Tyler Belt 3-18, Camron Belcher 1-2, Jacob Carder 1-(-1), Newcom 6-62. RHS: AJ Woodard 1-6, Nick Woodard 10-83, Monti Williams 10-27, Noah Stovall 1-12, Octavious McKeage 10-25.
CCHS: Newcom 12-14-0, 103, Quinn Summers 0-1-1. RHS: McKeage 3-8-0, 21.
CCHS: Morgeson 5-62, Howard 2-13, Nesbitt 2-28, Briley Berry 1-(-1), Case Gobin 1-4, T.Belt 1-(-3). RHS: Williams 1-0, N.Woodard 1-21.
Seth Guess 4 solos, 2 assists; Nesbitt 5 solos, 2 assists, 2 TFLs; C. Gobin 3 solos, 5 assists, TFL; Howard solo, fumble recovery; Impastato 5 solos, assist, 3 TFLs; Bennett McDaniel solo, 3 assists, sack; Brayden Poindexter solo, assist; Morgeson assist; Carder solo; Levi Piper 2 solos, assist; T. Belt 4 solos, assist; Gabe Keller 2 solos, assist; Berry 3 solos, assist; Travis 2 solos, 3 assists; Keelyn Gobin 3 solos, TFL; Grayson James solo; Lane West assist; Michael Counts assist.
Players of the Game: Offense Micah Newcom, Defense Kaleb Nesbitt and Sammy Impastato, Lineman Grayson James.
Records: CCHS 5-4 (2-0), RHS 1-8 (1-1)