Friday, August 18, 2023

Rockets beat Webster in season opener

DIXON, Ky. – Crittenden County opened its season Friday with a 31-8 win at Webster County.

Defensively, the Rockets sputtered early, but gained momentum after allowing Webster to score on its opening series. From there, the defensive unit pitched a shutout, provided a key goal-line stand to start the second half, got three turnovers and scored on one of them. It also held the Trojans to zero or negative yards on 17 of their 41 rushing plays.

Defensive back Gabe Keller makes a tackle
Offensively, senior quarterback Micah Newcom and his corps of receivers stretched the Webster secondary for 282 yards passing. Sophomore Caden Howard led six Rocket receivers with six catches for 145 yards.

A pivotal point in game came when Webster County returned the second-half's opening kickoff to the Rocket two-yard line before being stopped by Cam'ron Belcher. Crittenden's defense, led by senior linebacker Bennett McDaniel, pushed the Trojans backwards and prevented a score, forcing a fourth down at the three, and preserving a one-possession lead. Crittenden was ahead 16-8 at the half.

"We were able to get a goal-line stand. I think that set the tone and we just fought from there," third-year CCHS head coach Gaige Courtney said. "After that I don’t think we ever laid down or were content with anything, or lost focus. Webster County is a good football team. They play hard.”

The Rockets added insurance on their second series of the last half, punching it into the end zone with 11:38 to play in the final period when senior running back Gattin Travis scored on a nine-yard run.

The defense put a punctuation mark on the victory, posting six more points with just over six minutes to play when junior Kaiden Travis recovered a Webster fumble in the Trojan end zone.

“I thought the defense for the most part played pretty well. We were bend-but-don’t-break, and that’s okay as long as they don’t get in the end zone,” Courtney said.

Newcom had two short TD runs in the first half. His first score was set up by three first-down passes and the quarterback ran the ball three times in that opening series. His second short scoring run followed a pass to Howard, taking the ball to the Trojan two-yard line.

Receiver Casey Cates picks up yards
after a first half reception.
The Rockets misfired in the red zone twice in the first half, failing to score despite three chances from inside the five on the second offensive series. However, Webster fumbled on its first play from near its own goal line and the Rockets recovered to score in two plays. Crittenden also moved to the Trojan seven-yard line on its third series and came up short when an exchange was fumbled from the center to the quarterback. 

The Rockets have now won 14 straight games against the Trojans and have lost just six times to the border county over the past 40 years. Webster's leading offensive player, Jackson Edens, missed most of the second half Friday with an injury. 

Crittenden will play at Union County next week. The Braves beat Madisonville 21-14 it their opener. Crittenden struggled in a lopsided loss to Madisonville in a pre-season scrimmage.

Crittenden Co. 16 0 0 15
Webster County 8 0 0 0

C-Micah Newcom 1 run (Tyler Belt pass from Newcom) 9:27, 1st
W-Jarvis Starks-Scott 51 run (Jackson Edens run) 8:10, 1st
C-Newcom 1 run (Casey Cates pass from Newcom) :54, 1st
C-Gattin Travis 9 run (Keller pass from Newcom) 11:33, 4th
C-Kaiden Travis fumble recovery in end zone (Newcom kick) 6:23, 4th

First Downs: CCHS 19, WCHS 11
Penalties: CCHS 7-60, WCHS 8-51
Rushing: CCHS 32-86, WCHS 41-124
Passing: CCHS 17-28-0, 282; WCHS 4-9-0, 74
Total Yards: CCHS 368, WCHS 198
Fumbles/Lost: CCHS 1-1, WCHS 4-3


CCHS: Travis 6-25, Belt 4-17, Bennett McDaniel 1-1, Levi Piper 5-12, Cam’ron Belcher 1-(-7), Newcom 15-38. WCHS: Dylan Poe 2-(-1), Starks-Scott 7-43, Jackson Edens 7-18, Ty Phillips 3-14, Tyler Kautzman 11-79, Andrew Boucher 1-(-6), Blake Hanor 11-(-23).
CCHS: Newcom 17-27-0, 282; Belcher 0-1-0. WCHS: Hanor 4-9-0, 74.
CCHS: Belt 3-36, Belcher 1-2, Gabe Keller 3-34, Caden Howard 6-145, Casey Cates 3-39, Tyree McLean 1-26. WCHS: Poe 1-4, Edens 4-70.
Gabe Keller 5 solos; Levi Piper 4 solos, 2 assists, TFL, 2 sacks, fumble recovery; Gattin Travis 5 solos, 4 assists; Bennett McDaniel 6 solos, assist, 2 TFLs, sack, caused fumble, fumble recovery; Casey Cates 4 solos; Tyler Belt 6 solos, assist; Grayson James 2 solos, 5 assists, TFL; Kaiden Travis 3 solos, assist, fumble recovery; Cam’ron Belcher 3 solos; Braden Mahnke 2 solos, 2 assists, TFL; Caden Howard 3 solos, assist; Brayden Poindexter 4 solos, 5 assists, TFL; Jacob Carter solos; Michael Counts solo, assist, TFL.
Players of the Game: Offense Caden Howard; Defense Bennett McDaniel; Lineman Travis Blazina; Speical Teams Cam’ron Belcher.