2017-09-27 / Sports

LCC loss to Perry was replica of week before

By DEREK BARTO


LCC’s Hunter Campbell (21) breaks free for a long run at Perry County Central. (Photo by Chris Anderson) LCC’s Hunter Campbell (21) breaks free for a long run at Perry County Central. (Photo by Chris Anderson) Letcher County Central fell to 0-6 with a 44-34 defeat against rival Perry County Central in the first district game of the season. The game was a carbon copy of the previous week’s contest against Pike Central where LCC struggled mightily in the first half then made a ferocious comeback only to come up barely short at the end.

Kalin Branham had a 33-yard return on the opening kickoff to give the Cougars great field position. An incomplete pass on 4th and 6 turned the ball over on downs.

LCC middle linebacker Jon Sergent had 4 tackles on the first drive to force a Perry Central punt.

Senior running back Kaleb Mullins had consecutive runs of 8 and 7 yards before the drive stalled out and Letcher Central gave the ball back to the Commodores.

Perry Central star running back Jayden Neace had a powerful 22- yard run, which set up a 7-yard touchdown run by Jacob Woolum. Woolum also ran in a two-point conversion attempt to make the score 8-0 with 2:58 to play in the first quarter.

LCC started its next possession on its own 19-yard line. On 3rd and 4, quarterback Nick Sergent threw a 7-yard strike to Kealan Lucas for the important conversion. Two consecutive defensive pass interference calls moved the ball into Commodore territory. A fourthdown pass fell harmlessly to the ground for the second turnover on downs of the game for LCC.

The Cougar defense stepped up big and forced a fumble that was recovered by Isaiah Cornett.

On the first play, Sergent connected with Branham who used a nice stutter step move to get by a defender and score on a 40-yard catch and run. The two-point conversion attempt was no good but LCC still cut the lead to 8-6 with 7:41 left in the second quarter.

Perry Central ran behind 6’8” tackle Sam Turner for runs of 27 and 21 yards by Nease. The drive culminated with a 3-yard touchdown run by Nease. The Cougar defense stuffed the two-point attempt to keep the score at 14-6.

LCC tried a reverse that was fumbled on the exchange and recovered by the Commodores at the LCC 26-yard line. On 4th and 4, quarterback Jack Sluss broke the pocket and scrambled for a 7-yard gain. Two plays later Nease scored from 3 yards away to give Perry Central a 20-6 lead after the twopoint attempt was no good.

On 4th and 10, Sergent ran up the left sideline and dove to get just enough yardage for a first down. Three plays later facing a 4th and 11, Sergent threw a deep out to Blake Brashears who made a spectacular diving catch for a 19-yard gain. Once in the red zone Perry Central blitzed and a ball got batted and plucked out of the air by Woolum, who then raced 88 yards for a touchdown to make the score 26-6 at halftime.

Just like the previous week LCC took control of momentum to start the second half with an onside kick. Jayson Buttrey kicked it perfectly to hop over the head of the upback and Branham recovered it for the Cougars. Sergent found Lucas wide open in the middle of the field for a 34-yard touchdown. The score was 26-13 after Buttrey made the extra point.

On 4th and 10 near midfield, PCC used a fake punt and Chandler Caudill gained 29 yards on a run around the left side of the formation. Three plays later Neace punched it in from 4 yards out to increase the lead to 32-13.

Mullins busted a 22-yard run up the middle to start the next LCC drive. On 3rd and 18, Sergent scrambled for a 17 yards to set up a 4th and short. Mullins took the handoff and ran over the PCC safety on his way to a 8-yard touchdown run to make the score 32-19 midway through the third quarter.

After a punt by PCC, Hunter Campbell caught a 11-yard pass from Sergent. Then Campbell gained 22 yards on a sweep around the right side. On the next play Campbell had a 21-yard touchdown run and also ran in a two-point conversion to cut the lead to 32-27.

On 3rd and 10, Caudill carried the ball and was surrounded by a host of LCC defenders near the line of scrimmage but even though he was stopped short a personal foul facemask penalty gave PCC a first down. The Commodore capitalized with a Nease 27-yard run to push the ball into the red zone. Nease then scored his fourth touchdown of the game to push the lead to 38-27.

Woolum jumped an out route for an interception that he took for a 56-yard touchdown and his second pick six of the game to put the Cougars away.

Branham caught a 60- yard touchdown from Sergent but it was too little too late and LCC loss by a final score of 44-34.

The Cougars played an excellent second half and if they would have come out with that passion in the first half there is no doubt they would have won the game. Nick Sergent finished with 11 completions on 28 attempts for 205 yards and 3 touchdowns. Sergent also rushed for 59 yards. Kaleb Mullins gained 70 yards on 10 carries and a score. Hunter Campbell had 12 rushing attempts for 72 yards and a touchdown. Kalin Branham had a career high 100 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns. LCC ran the ball better than it has all year, totaling 202 yards for the game. LCC also outgained Perry Central in yardage for the game 407 yards to 321 yards.

Jon Sergent led the team in tackles again with 13 and Nathan Short returned from injury to record 7 tackles. Perry Central running back Jayden Neace gained 265 yards for the game but only had 85 of that after halftime.

Letcher Central will try to get its first win of the season when it travels to Harlan County Friday with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m.

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