2017-09-20 / Sports

Cougars come up just short against Pike Co.


Letcher Central QB Nick Sergent runs the ball himself thanks to some blocking assistance from teammates, from left, Jaydon Holbrook, Kyle Slone, Cody Austin and Eli Matthews. (Photo by Chris Anderson) Letcher Central QB Nick Sergent runs the ball himself thanks to some blocking assistance from teammates, from left, Jaydon Holbrook, Kyle Slone, Cody Austin and Eli Matthews. (Photo by Chris Anderson) A spectacular comeback by the Letcher Central Cougars from a 35-7 halftime deficit fell just short in a 35-28 defeat to Pike County Central. The Cougars held Pike Central scoreless the entire second half and the valiant effort fell just one score short.

The Cougars open district play this week when they travel to undefeated Perry County Central. The Commodores are led by running back Jayden Neace, who averages almost 200 yards per game rushing. If LCC plays like in the second half against Pike Central and can limit Neace’s yardage, the team has a great chance for the upset.

In last Friday’s game, Letcher Central received the opening kickoff but fell behind quickly after Pike Central safety Seth Conn intercepted a third down pass and returned it 94 yards for a touchdown. The extra point gave PCC a 7-0 lead.

On third and 13 of the Cougars’ opening drive, Nick Sergent found his brother Jon Sergent on a seam route for a 32-yard gain. Hunter Campbell had a 20-yard run on a jet sweep play during the next play to move the ball into the red zone before the Conn interception.

On the next possession facing third and four, Sergent connected with Blake Brashears for an eightyard gain. Three plays later, Sergent was sacked on a fourth-down attempt that turned the ball over on downs near midfield.

The Hawks took advantage of the field position quickly when running back Issac Thacker scored from 29 yards out on a counter play. The point after split the uprights to make it 14-0 midway through the first quarter.

LCC went three and out and the punt was downed at the Pike Central 38-yard line.

On third and five Conn ran the ball on a quarterback keeper for a seven-yard gain. On the first play of the second quarter Conn had a 23-yard run that took the ball to the LCC 5-yard line. Two plays later Conn scored on a two-yard run and the extra point increased the lead to 21-0.

The first play of the LCC possession, Campbell took a swing pass and used his impressive speed to split two Hawks defenders and race down the sideline for a 65- yard touchdown. Zack Dollarhyde made the extra point to cut the lead to 21-7.

PCC answered with a 43-yard touchdown run by Thacker. Conn ran in the two-point conversion attempt to make it 29-7.

The Hawks converted an interception into a five-yard touchdown by Thacker to take a convincing 35-7 lead into halftime.

Coach Junior Matthews used a gutsy call of an onside kick on the first play of the second half to totally swing momentum. Dollarhyde and the kick team executed the kick perfectly to recover the ball in Pike Central territory.

Sergent started the drive with a 12-yard scramble. Then on third and three, Sergent threw a strike to Campbell on an out to gain just enough yardage for a first down. Brashears caught a 11-yard pass which led to a 9-yard touchdown on a slant pass from Sergent to Campbell. LCC went for two and Brashears caught the pass from Sergent in the right corner of the end zone to make it 35-15.

Dollarhyde kicked another onside kick that caught PCC by surprise and barely traveled 10 yards but did and was recovered by LCC to give the offense great field position again. A costly personal foul penalty on the Pike Central defense led to a Nick Sergent eight-yard touchdown run where he broke on the right side and dove just inside the pylon. The two-point conversion attempt was no good but just like that LCC had cut the lead to 35-21.

The Cougar defense was reenergized to force a three and out, the first punt of the game for Pike Central.

On third and five, running back Kaleb Mullins had a tough run to drag tacklers for a first down. Mullins then had a 26-yard run on the last play of the third quarter. Jon Sergent gained eight yards on a running play, but three plays later the offense turned the ball over on downs.

LCC’s defense came up big again holding Pike Central to just two first downs before making them punt.

Sergent threw a screen pass to Mullins for a 11-yard gain. Brashears caught a 10-yard out pass to take the ball near midfield. On the next play Sergent threw a beautiful bomb to Brashears over the outreached hands of the safety for a 51-yard touchdown. Dollarhyde made the extra point to make the score 35-28 with under two minutes to play.

The onside attempt was recovered by PCC which then got one first down to run out the clock and secure a 35-28 win despite the courageous comeback attempt by the Cougars.

In a tale of two half ’s LCC turned a blowout into a close game in which they didn’t lose but simply ran out of time. Nick Sergent was brilliant in the second half and finished the game completing 16 passes on 29 attempt for 265 yards and three touchdowns. Sergent also had 31 yards rushing and a touchdown. Blake Brashear caught six passes for 101 yards and a touchdown. Hunter Campbell had 5 receptions for 93 yards and two touchdowns. Kaleb Mullins led the rushing attack with 44 yards on nine carries.

The defense shut out Pike Central in the second half after a shaky first half of play. Jon Sergent led the defense in tackles again from his middle linebacker position with 10. Cameron Whitaker had six tackles for LCC.

Kickoff for Friday’s game is set for 7:30 p.m.

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