Saturday, August 26, 2023

Braves roll over Rockets in HOT game

MORGANFIELD, Ky. – Countdown to kickoff was delayed Friday night until after 9 p.m., at Union County and once throttled up on the launch pad, Crittenden County’s offense missed liftoff.

Union stymied virtually everything in the Rocket arsenal, handing CCHS its first loss of the young season 36-0 on perhaps the hottest night of high school football in generations.

Running room was tough to find agaisnt
Union County Friday. Here QB Micah
Newcom tries to eke out a few yards.
CCHS coach Gaige Courtney didn’t believe the heat and humidity that delayed the game two hours from its original start time was a factor. A projected heat index of 109 forced an early decision to start the game at 8:30 p.m. However, it ended up being even later before the weather cooperated. Kentucky High School Athletic Association doesn’t allow competition when the heat index is 100 or higher. It was 99 at kickoff.

“Both teams had to do it, so it was an equal playing ground,” the coach said.

Union County (2-0) outmanned Crittenden (1-1) at nearly every station, locking down its receivers, bottling up the run and getting pressure on Crittenden quarterback Micah Newcom.

Defensively, the Rockets held their own early, but giving up two touchdowns in the first half against short fields. However, Union County zipped the game up with two quick scoring strikes early in the third period then coasted down the stretch once the running clock started in the final period. 

Union scored 13 points in its first three plays from scrimmage to start the second half after leading 15-0 at the break.

“We came out early and did some things well, but just couldn’t get it going,” Courtney said.

The skipper called the game a “measuring stick,” pointing out that the road gets no easier as CCHS hosts Class 6A McCracken County on Thursday, one of several challenging non-district matchups this season. 

“We just have to get better and grow from it. Our two choices are to get better or stay where we’re at and have a rough year. I don’t think our guys will accept that. We’ve been here before.”

Good field position allowed Union County to score both first-half touchdowns. Those scoring possession started on the Rocket 39 after Newcom was intercepted and from the CCHS 25 after a safety when Crittenden’s kickoff was returned deep into its own territory. 

Two big plays on runs of 53 and 45 yards gave the hosts a four-touchdown lead moments into the second half. By then, frustration, and perhaps the heat, had zapped the Rockets, and the already limping offense waddled to a crawl. Crittenden had no first downs the entire second half and finished the game with just 17 yards on the ground and 47 through the air. Union intercepted the Rockets twice and blocked a punt through the end zone that led to the second-quarter safety.

Next week's rare Thursday night game is moved from its traditional appointment because there is a shortage of game officials. In order to schedule referees this fall, many games across the state are being moved to either Thursday or Saturday.

Crittenden Co.      0 0 0 0
Union County      0 15 13 8

UC-Jarron Johnson 15 run (Jerry Sabino kick), 5:18, 2nd
UC-Willem McPeake 14 run (kick failed) 2:21, 2nd
UC-McPeake 53 run (kick failed) 11:41, 3rd
UC-Johson 45 run (Sabino kick) 9:06, 3rd
UC-Abreyan Fletcher 5 run (Johnson run) 11:40, 4th

First Downs: CCHS 4, UCHS 13
Penalties: CCHS 6-40, UCHS 9-75
Rushing: CCHS 19-17, UCHS 36-359
Passing: CCHS 6-15-2, 47; 1-3-0, 6
Total: CCHS 64, UCHS 365
Fumbles/Lost: 1-0, 1-1

CCHS: Gattin Travis 7-17, Tyler Belt 1-0, Quinn Summers 1-(-1), Micah Newcom 9-(-11), Jacob Carter 1-12. UCHS: Johnson 16-129, McPeake 9-145, Ian Hines 3-34, Abreyan Fletcher 4-40, Keelyn Gobin 2-15, Amare Black 1-2, Keaton Garrett 1-(-6).
CCHS: Newcom 5-12-1, 40; Summers 1-3-1, 7. UCHS: Johnson 1-3-0, 6.
CCHS Casey Cates 4-43, Caden Howard 1-3, Cam’ron Belcher 1-1. UCHS: Fletcher 1-6.
Gabe Keller 4 solos; Levi Piper 3 solos; Gattin Travis solo, assist; Bennett McDaniel 5 solos, 5 assists, sack; Lane West assist; Casey Cates 5 solos, 4 assists; Tyler Belt solo; Jason Millikan assist; Grayson James 3 solos, 2 assists; Michael Porter solo, caused fumble; Carson Yates solo, TFL; Trace Scott 2 solos, assist; Caden Howard 5 solos, assist; Brayden Poindexter 2 solos, assist; Dakota Sosh 2 solos, assist; Jacob Carder solo; Jake Rich assist, Logan Nolan fumble recovery.
Players of the Game: Defense Casey Cates, Special Teams Jacob Carter.
CCHS 1-1, UCHS 2-0