2017-10-25 / Sports

Cougars hope for good finish to 2017 season

By DEREK BARTO


Freshman guard Zion Harmon will play at Adair County this season. He’s one of the top players in the 2021 recruiting class, but plans to be part of the 2020 recruiting class. (Caroline Williams/USA Basketball) Freshman guard Zion Harmon will play at Adair County this season. He’s one of the top players in the 2021 recruiting class, but plans to be part of the 2020 recruiting class. (Caroline Williams/USA Basketball) The Letcher County Central Cougars fell to 0-9 after a 49-24 defeat by visiting district foe Whitley County. Coming off a bye week, the LCC offense looked much better and racked up over 400 yards of total offense but the defense simply couldn’t stop the Colonel offense, forcing just one punt the entire game.

Letcher Central tried an onside kick to start the game that was recovered by Whitley County near midfield. Running back Dawson Swain gained 20 yards on a sweep around the right side of the line on the first play of the drive. On 2nd and 5, Zach Saylor had a powerful 7-yard run up the middle to set up first and goal. Then fullback Colin Kidd scored on a dive play from 8 yards out. The extra point quickly gave Whitley County a 7-0 lead.

Kalin Branham returned the kickoff 18 yards to the LCC 26-yard line. Hunter Campbell came in motion and took the handoff for a nice 19-yard gain on the opening play for the Cougar offense. Unfortunately, two plays later an option pitch was fumbled and recovered by the Colonels at the LCC 40-yard line.

The Letcher Central defense stepped up huge on the next possession to keep Whitley County from scoring and regain momentum. Logan Fisher sacked quarterback Dylan Wilson for a 6-yard loss. After a Sam Mullins deflected pass at the line of scrimmage, Whitley County went for it on 4th and long. The out pattern was read perfectly by cornerback Blake Brashears who broke up the pass for a turnover on downs at the LCC 27-yard line.

Quarterback Nick Sergent connected with Hunter Campbell for a 15-yard gain on 2nd and 17. After a third down incompletion, punter Jon Sergent had a 42-yard punt to flip field position for the Cougars.

Dylan Wilson used a play action to find an open throwing lane to hit Swain on a seam route for a 71-yard touchdown. The extra point split the uprights to increase the Whitley County lead to 14-0.

On the ensuing possession, LCC and head coach Junior Matthews used a formation that they hadn’t shown all season long. The Cougars came out in a no back set with four receivers to one side and Blake Brashears by himself on the short side of the field. After a 17- yard pass to Kaleb Mullins, Sergent threw a 61-yard bomb to Brashears on a deep post for the touchdown. The extra point was blocked but LCC cut the lead to 14-6.

After Zach Faulkner returned an onside kick attempt to the LCC 34-yard line, Swain burst up the middle for a 34-yard touchdown run untouched. Noah Langford made the extra point make it 21-6 and quickly answer the previous LCC touchdown.

Penalties helped LCC drive into Whitley County territory on the ensuing possession. Defensive pass interference and a personal foul facemask on the first two plays of the drive moved the ball to the Colonel 39-yard line. The drive stalled and, on 4th and long, Sergent threw a screen pass to Nathan Short who was stopped well short of the line to gain.

The LCC defense played well on the next Whitley County drive, but after two key third down conversions for the Colonel offense they faced a 4th and 10 from the LCC 34-yard line. Receiver Logan Lambdin ran an out and up pattern and Wilson threw a perfect pass that Lambdin hauled in for a 34-yard score. The extra point made it 28-6 with 1 second left in the first quarter.

Jalen Pratt caught an 11-yard pass from Sergent on 2nd and 4 to get LCC a first down on the next drive. Then Sergent threw a deep pass to Campbell for a 39-yard gain. On 4th and 3 from the red zone, the Sergent pass attempt fell incomplete for a turnover on downs.

Whitley County got many chunk plays to quickly move the ball down the field including a 22- yard run during which its star running back Dawson Swain turned an ankle and never returned to the game after the play. The drive was capped off by a 2-yard touchdown run by Kidd, which made it 35-6 with 5:43 left in the second quarter after the extra point was good.

Facing a 3rd and 1, Sergent threw a pinpoint pass through the Colonel defense on a slant pattern to Campbell for a 31-yard gain. Short gained 8 yards on a counter play. After an 11-yard quarterback keep by Nick Sergent, his brother Jon Sergent took a handoff and scored up the middle from 3 yards away. The two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful to keep the score 35-12.

Whitley County had a 7-play 73-yard scoring drive in which receiver Cameron Rose caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to make the score 42-12 at halftime.

LCC got the ball to start the third quarter and on 2nd and 17, Sergent scrambled out of the pocket and just before being hit threw it to Campbell for a 15-yard gain. Campbell caught passes of 9 and 14 yards on consecutive plays to move the ball into Whitley County territory. Pratt made a great catch in front of the safety for a 17-yard gain. Three plays later on 4th and 1, the LCC run play was stopped behind the line of scrimmage for a turnover on downs.

The Colonels used a 14- play 90-yard drive to take over 8 minutes off the clock and scored on a 2-yard pass from Wilson to Kidd that increased the lead to 49-12 and starting a running clock for the rest of the game.

Pratt came in at quarterback and his fourth down pass was tipped in the air and caught by Kalin Branham who showed his speed and outraced two Colonel defenders for a 52-yard touchdown.

LCC cornerback Zack Hensley then intercepted a pass and raced down the sideline for a 53-yard pick six to make the final score 49-24.

The Cougars have not quit all season long and it was even more apparent this week when they scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns against visiting Whitley County. The LCC offense took advantage of the bye week and racked up 403 yards of total offense on 45 plays. Nick Sergent had a great game and threw on time and accurately completed 16 passes on 23 attempts for 257 yards and a touchdown. Hunter Campbell caught 7 passes for 131 yards. Blake Brashears had 1 catch for 61 yards and a touchdown. Kalin Branham caught 2 passes for 58 yards and a score.

On the flip side however, the Cougar defense struggled mightily, giving up 518 yards to Whitley County on 52 plays. Jon Sergent again led the LCC defense with 9 tackles. Kaleb Mullins had 6 tackles and Cody Fisher had the lone sack for the Cougars.

Letcher Central will play its last game Friday night when it hosts Floyd Central (6-3) at Cougar Field. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

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