Friday, November 3, 2023

Rockets beat Todd to advance in playoffs

MARION, Ky. – With a playoff victory on the line late in the fourth quarter Friday, Crittenden County pulled back the curtain to uncover a ground game that’s been as elusive as Big Foot for most of the season, and put away Todd County Central 24-20.

Gattin Travis rushes for late yards
against Todd County Central.
The ninth-ranked Rockets advance to next week’s First Region semifinal matchup against No. 3 Owensboro Catholic, a team Crittenden lost to 62-12 earlier in the season.

After scoring the go-ahead touchdown with just over six minutes to play, CCHS got a huge stop by linebacker Bennett McDaniel – who had been moved to nose guard on the play – forcing Todd Central into a fourth down in Crittenden County territory with 3:11 to go. From there, the offense put the ball in its senior running back’s hands and Gattin Travis rushed for three first downs to kill what was left on the clock.

Travis, who had rushed for 203 in 10 regular-season games, had 60 in the second half against Todd Central. On his team’s final possession, Travis ran for 47 yards on six carries.

“The O-Line and Gattin put it together there on that last drive,” said Rocket coach Gaige Courtney. “We struggled to run the football tonight and honestly we struggled to run it pretty much all year. It just came together on the last drive. We were able to run it and milk the game away.”

Indeed, Crittenden has rushed for more than 100 yards in a game just twice this season. They gained 101 on 22 carries against Todd Central. The other game over the century mark was against Caldwell County. CCHS averaged rushing for just 60 yards an outing during the regular season. 

Tyree McLean had a pivotal fourth-quarter catch
to keep the game-winning drive alive.
On auto pilot since August, the Rocket passing attack, triggered by senior quarterback Micah Newcom, was on target in the playoffs. Newcom on Friday broke the single-season record for most pass completions in a season. Against the Rebels, he was as efficient as ever, competing 25-of-39 for 189 yards with no interceptions and one TD to Caden Howard to open the game’s scoring. 

It was a pivotal first-down pass to junior receiver Tyree McLean that preserved the game-winning drive in the fourth period. McLean made a diving third-down catch at the sideline on an out route to take Crittenden to the Rebel 20-yard line with just under eight minutes remaining. Newcom scored shortly thereafter on a 13-yard quarterback draw and McDaniel caught a pass to complete the two-point conversion for the game’s final score.

The Rebel defense was relentless, closing quickly on Rocket receivers after the catch.

“Todd County came in here ready to take one home,” Newcom said. “They were prepared for us. They were able to stop us multiple times, but when it matter our guys pulled through and we made the most of the opportunities we had.”

Crittenden faced third-and-long often and were forced to punt three times and ran out of downs on two drives in the second half.

The Rockets’ (7-4) second-round opponent, Owensboro Catholic, beat Caldwell County 61-14 this week to open the postseason. The 11-0 Aces will be a formidable challenge. They are ranked No. 1 by the KHSAA RPI power rankings while CCHS is No. 7.

Todd Co. Central 0 14 6 0
Crittenden County 8 8 0 8

C-Caden Howard 11 pass from Micah Newcom (Levi Piper pass from Newcom) 0:00, 1st
T-Grady Reding 57 kickoff return (G.Reding kick) 11:51, 2nd
C-Jacob Carder 4 run (Casey Cates pass from Newcom) 3:50, 2nd
T-Miles Reding 4 run (G.Reding kick) :31, 2nd
T-Brina Farlo 63 pass from M.Reding (pass intercepted by Cameron Belcher) 2:14, 3rd
C-Newcom 13 run (Bennett McDaniel pass from Newcom) 6:20, 4th

First Downs: CCHS 15, TCC 7
Penalties: CCHS 10-100, TCC 15-146
Rushing: CCHS 22-101, TCC 25-76
Passing: CCHS 25-39-0, 189; TCC 8-14-0, 112
Total Yards: CCHS 290, TCC 188
Fumbles/Lost: CCHS 1-0, TCC 2-0

CCHS: Gattin Travis 9-60, Jacob Carder 3-5, Camron Belcher 1-4, Tyler Belt 2-1, Newcom 7-31. TCC: Quinton Grace 16-72, Ricky Woodard 1-0, M.Reding 8-4. 
CCHS: Newcom 25-39-0, 189. TCC: M.Reding 8-14-0, 112.
CCHS: Howard 8-62, Casey Cates 2-17, Tyree McLean 7-49, Gabe Keller 4-34, Carder 1-(-1), Belt 2-29, Travis 1-(-1). TCC: Grace 2-12, Farlow 2-61, Aidan Bobbett 2-28, Grady Reding 1-14, Antonio Fitzgerald 1-(-3).
Gabe Keller 2 solos, 2 assists; Levi Piper 3 solos, 3 assists; Gattin Travis 3 solos, assist, TFL; Bennett McDaniel 5 solos, 2 assists, TFL; Lane West 2 solos, Casey Cates 2 solos; Tyler Belt solo; Grayson James 4 solos, TFL, sack; Tyree McLean solo; Kaiden Travis solo, 4 assists; Camron Belcher 2 solos; Caden Howard 5 solos, assist; Brayden Poindexter 3 solos, 3 assists; Jacob Carder 2 solos.
Players of the Game: Offense Micah Newcom, Defense Bennett McDaniel, Lineman Travis Blazina.
Records: CCHS 7-4, TCC 5-6