Saturday, November 27, 2021

Former Rockets headed to state finals

Next Saturday, a couple of former Rocket players and coaches will join only a handful of Crittenden County High School graduates to ever coach in a state football championship.

Sean Thompson, head coach at Paducah Tilghman, and Noah Dickerson, assistant coach at South Warren, will be on the sidelines at Kroger Field in Lexington on Dec. 4 as their teams seek state championships.

Thompson has guided the Blue Tornado to its first Class 3A state final since 2009. Thompson, who graduated from Crittenden County in 2004, was head coach at CCHS for three seasons, compiling a record of 28-8 with three district championships and three trips to the state Class A quarterfinals, before accepting the job at Tilghman after the 2020 season.

Thompson’s Blue Tornado was No. 15 in the KHSAA power ranking in 3A and was 5-6 after the regular season, which included a COVID cancellation loss to South Warren.

Tilghman started the year 1-4, but is on a four-game winning streak and will play Belfry (8-6) in the 3A title game. Thompson’s team beat the No. 1 RPI team Christian Academy of Louisville in the regional finals two Fridays ago and the No. 2 RPI team, Glasgow 39-20 this week. Both games were on the road.

Dickerson, who is a former CCHS graduate assistant coach and a 2015 Crittenden County High School graduate, is a physical education teacher and receivers coach at South Warren, where he has been the past two seasons. The Spartans beat Woodford County 46-25 Friday in the state semifinal round and will face Frederick Douglas in the Class 5A state championship in the second game at 3pm on Saturday at Kroger Field. Thompson’s team plays the first game Saturday at 11am.

There have only been a few CCHS grads to coach in football championship games. Jeff Riley, an assistant coach and current athletic director at Caldwell County, was on the coaching staff for the 2012 Tigers' 2A state championship; and local graduate Dusty Croft was an assistant at Franklin-Simpson in 1995 for a state final. Otherwise, as far as we know, the only others to coach in a state title game in Kentucky or elsewhere were the local grads serving on the 1985 Rockets staff, including Jack Easley, Greg Holloman and Jimmy Croft.


Tuesday, November 16, 2021

At A Glance: 2021 in Review

BY: ANDY HUNT

GAME BY GAME, END OF SEASON REVIEW

  • Webster County
    • Luke Crider passed for 245 yards on 9 of 14 passing with three TD passes.
    • Brysen Baker had two, 2-point conversions which is only the 7th time in school history a player has had at least two in a game.
    • Dylan Yates and Case Gobin each had four TFLs which tied the record for most TFLs versus Webster.
    • Luke Crider threw an 81-yard TD pass to Kaleb Nesbitt.
    • Tanner Beverly returned a poor punt 10 yards for a TD.

  • Madisonville-North Hopkins
    • Zech McGahan had a career high 20 tackles (13 solo, 7 assists).  McGahan's 20 tackles are the most ever by a Rocket versus Madisonville.
    • Preston Morgeson scored on a 63-yard TD pass from Luke Crider which is Crittenden's longest TD pass ever against Madisonville.
    • Dylan Yates had 12 tackles.

  • Caldwell County
    • Luke Crider had 19 completions on 37 passing attempts.
    • Preston Morgeson had 9 receptions for 64 yards.
    • Case Gobin had a career high 19 tackles (11 solo, 8 assists) and three sacks.

  • Hancock County
    • Preston Morgeson ran for 192 yards on 27 carries
    • Luke Crider was 11 of 16 for 113 with a career high 68.75% completion percentage.  Crider's completion percentage is the highest ever by a CC QB against Hancock County.
    • Briley Berry had a season high 15 tackles.
    • Dylan Yates had 12 tackles.

  • Union County
    • Luke Crider had 14 completions on 30 passing attempts with three TD passes.
    • Logan Bailey had a season high 14 tackles.
    • Trace Derrington had two receptions for 46 yards and a TD.

  • Bethlehem
    • Luke Crider passed for a career high 302 yards on 27 of 44 passing.
      • Crider’s 27 completions and 44 attempts were both single game records for a Rocket QB.
    • Brysen Baker had eight receptions for 92 yards.

  • Trigg County
    • Luke Crider passed for 272 yards on 17 of 27 passing.
    • Preston Morgeson made six of six on PATs.
    • Gattin Travis ran for 52-yard TD.
    • Gattin Travis had 10 carries for 100 yards and two rushing TDs.

  • Fulton County
    • Sam Impastato had eight tackles (four for loss), a caused fumble, a fumble recovery, a blocked kick, two sacks and...

Monday, November 15, 2021

PODCAST: Season Wrap-up after playoff loss at Russellville

LISTEN NOW
 Rocket Football Coach Gaige Courtney
discusses the team's 24-7 playoff loss at Russellville
and the first-year skipper wraps up the 2021 season.

Friday, November 12, 2021

Rockets' season ends 24-7 at Russellville

Russellville defensive back Anthony Woodward
knocks down a pass aimed at Rocket's
receiver Brysen Baker.
MARION, Ky. – Echoes of the past haunted the Rockets in their last stand of the year at Russellville Friday night. As with the regular-season meeting between the two teams, Crittenden County’s offense couldn’t finds its legs while the defense bent yet seldom broke.

The result was a season-ending 24-7 loss in the second round of the Class A playoffs as the Panthers won the district title outright, a trophy the Rockets had hoisted the four previous seasons. They will not play in the Final 8 Round of the playoffs for the first time since 2016. Prior to its recent playoff success, CCHS had not gone to the Final 8 since 2009. In 2008, the Rockets played in the Final 4 and won a state championship in 1985.

The scenario at Russellville was a near mirror image of the first encounter at Marion just three weeks ago. This time, however, CCHS did manage more than three times as many yards and a few more first downs, but the result was the same. 

The Panthers won the first match 27-0. Crittenden scored for the first time against Russellville in the last playoff period on a touchdown pass from Luke Crider to Kaleb Nesbitt. Otherwise, the offense was marred by turnovers. The Rockets fumbled twice and Crider was intercepted three times. The Panthers intercepted four passes in their first meeting. Crittenden did not prove it could move the ball effectively by land or air in either matchup.

"We just couldn't get anything going early," said Rocket senior Trace Derrington, who plays cornerback and receiver. He caught a couple of passes late as Crittenden mustered a bit of offense in the closing minutes of the game.

Preston Morgeson and Kaleb Nesbitt (2)
close in on a RHS ball carrier.
The defense stopped Russellville twice in the red zone in the first half before senior running back Javari Gamble scored the game’s first touchdown on a four-yard run – a drive set up by good field position thanks to an interception. Gamble was the workhorse behind the Panthers’ bullish running attack. Flashy, the Russellville game plan was not. It stayed on the ground for 77 tries. Gamble carried for 28. He gained 103, and Panther senior QB Lennon Ries had 107 on 19 attempts.

“They continued to fight and continued to fight. This hurts bad,” said Gaige Courtney, whose inaugural season as the Rocket head coach comes to a close. “I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

SCORE BY QUARTERS
Crittenden 0 0 0 7
Russellville 2 8 7 7

SCORING PLAYS
R-Safety 7:30, 1st
R-Javari Gamble 4 run (Jackson Hampton pass from Lennon Ries) :44, 2nd
R-Ries 36 run (Dustin Brown kick) 6:16, 3rd
C-Kaleb Nesbitt 9 pass from Luke Crider (Brysen Baker kick) 5:17, 4th
R-Gamble 2 run (Brown kick) :30, 4th

TEAM TOTALS
First Downs: CCHS 12, RHS 16
Penalties: CCHS 2-15, RHS 8-75
Rushing: CCHS 22-69, RHS 77-295
Passing: CCHS 13-32-3, 128; RHS 6-10-0, 46
Total Yards: CCHS 197, RHS 341
Fumbles/Lost: CCHS 2-2, RHS 3-1

INDIVDUAL STATISTICS
Rushing

CCHS: Gattin Travis 10-40, Crider 12-29. RHS: Gamble 28-103, Chevis Elliot 7-37, Jaquis Todd 4-48, Ries 19-107.
Passing
CCHS: Crider 13-32-3, 128. RHS: Ries 6-10-0, 46.
Receiving
CCHS: Travis 3-10, Trace Derrington 2-28, Preston Morgeson 2-28, Nesbitt 5-51, Baker 1-11. RHS: Anthony Woodward 3-30, Elliot 1-3, Todd 1-4, Gamble 1-9.
Defense
Coleman Stone 7 solos, 4 assists, 2 TFLs; Tucker Sharp 2 solos, TFL; Luke Mundy 6 solos, fumble recovery; Luke Crider solo; Ben Evans assist; Trace Derrington 4 solos, assist; Dylan Yates 6 solos, assist, TFL; Logan Bailey 7 solos, 3 assists; Tanner Beverly assist; Zech McGahan 11 solos; Sam Impastato 2 solos, 8 assists 2 TFLs; Deacon Holliman solos; Case Gobin 7 solos, 3 assists, 2 sacks; Kaleb Nesbitt solo, 3 assists; Briley Berry 4 solos, 4 assists; Preston Morgeson 3 solos.
Players of the Game: Defense Case Gobin and Coleman Stone, Lineman Dylan Yates, Offense Kaleb Nesbitt.
Records: Crittenden 5-7, Russellville 10-1

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Week 12: Rockets Football Coach's Show: Playoffs

Special guest this week is Rocket offensive coordinator Coach Austin Berry, a 2006 CCHS graduate. Coach Berry and head coach Gaige Courtney discuss this week's second-round Class A playoff game at Russellville and other aspects of CCHS football. Please subscribe to our YouTube Channel so you will never miss sports and news from The Crittenden Press.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

AT A GLANCE: Playoffs - Russellville

BY: ANDY HUNT


LAST WEEK REVIEW

  • Dylan Yates is now the all-time sack leader with 19.  He passed Sean O’Leary who had held the record since 2018.  The record has been broken by four different players since 2017. 
  • Sam Impastato is the second Rocket to have at least four Tackles for Loss against the same team two times in a season.  The other player was Tyler Boone against Russellville in 2020.
  • Four Rockets are within striking distance of 100 tackles on the season.  To date, 100 tackles or more in a season has been accomplished 29 different times.  Multiple players have had 100 or more tackles in the same season five different times.  No team has ever had four players record 100 tackles in the same season.  The current players approaching the century mark for tackles are:

    • Case Gobin – 99 Tackles
    • Briley Berry – 91 Tackles
    • Zech McGahan – 86 Tackles
    • Dylan Yates – 84 Tackles
  • Luke Crider was responsible for eight TDs (5 passing, 3 rushing) against Fulton County which set a new record for a single game.  Devon Nesbitt was the former record holder with 7. 
  • Luke Crider’s 78-yard TD run is the third longest ever by a Rocket quarterback.  Steve Davidson's 91-yard TD run in 1960 and a 79-yard TD run by Hunter Jones in 2016 are the only quarterback-ran TDs that best Crider's 78-yard TD.  In addition to that statistic, Crider’s TD run was also the longest TD run ever by a CC player in a playoff game (regardless of position).


ABOVE: Steve Davidson holds the record for the longest rushing TD with a 91-yard run in 1960 against Henderson County.

  • Luke Crider had 444 “yards of offense” (279 passing, 165 rushing) against Fulton County.  The only performance that has bested Crider’s total was

Monday, November 8, 2021

PODCAST: Rockets win playoff opener

LISTEN NOW
 Rocket Football Coach Gaige Courtney
discusses the team's 60-16 playoff win over Fulton County
and the team's district title match this week at Russellville