The high flying Cougars of Letcher Central took their act on the road this past weekend as they traveled to Paris to take on the Bourbon County Colonels.
Going into the game, the Cougars had been putting up some pretty impressive numbers this year, as shown by their 7-1 record. Letcher Central has already locked up the number one seed in the district and will play the number four seed, Whitley County, in the first round of the playoffs at Ermine. If the Cougars win their first game they will also host the second game at home.
The Colonels of Bourbon County have had a rough year at 1-7 and would have liked nothing more than to beat the Cougars at home to have something to build on. The Cougars came in as the number five scoring team in 5A with 40 points per game.
The Cougars won the toss and elected to receive to open the game. The Colonels, looking to catch the Cougars asleep, attempted an onside kick, but it was covered by the Cougars near midfield.
The Cougars wasted no time marching downfield as quarterback Charlie Banks found Terry Tolson on a pass for 16 yards and a first down at the Colonel 34- yard line. The Cougars would move down to the Colonel 19- yard line behind Ben Fisher and Charlie Banks on the ground, but on a second-and-eight play Banks attempted a pitchout that was fumbled by Fisher and the Colonels recovered.
The Colonels moved out to their own 40-yard line and on a fourth-and-three play they went for it and made it as the quarterback found his target at the 50- yard line. It was obvious the Colonels would try every trick they could to upset the Cougars and going for it on fourth down in their own territory and making it just helped their confidence. It was short-lived as on the ensuing play the Colonels fumbled and Richard Shepherd was all over it for the Cougars.
The Cougars quickly put together another drive. Ben Fisher picked up 24 yards down to the Colonel 27-yard line. Dakota Brock picked up nine more to the 28. Banks connected with Tolson at the 13-yard line. A pass of 12 yards to Stacy Phillips would put it at the 1-yard line, but a penalty brought it back to the 6-yard line. The Cougars had it first and goal but the turnover bug hit again as Banks was picked off in the end zone and the Colonels returned it all the way to midfield.
The Colonels would pick up nine yards and face a fourthand two situation and for the second time in the quarter they got a first down. The quarter ended in a scoreless tie.
The Colonels opened the second with a pass to the end zone that was tipped and caught in the end zone for a Colonel touchdown and the Cougars were in a ball game. The extra point try was blocked and the score stood at 6-0 Colonels.
After wasting their first two opportunities with turnovers, the Cougars had had enough as they marched straight downfield behind Banks passing to Tolson, Phillips, and Chase Adams as well as picking up some good yardage on the ground. Banks would find Brock for 12 more yards down to the Colonel 4- yard line and Ben Fisher would punch it in from there. The extra point was good and the Cougars led 7-6 with 6:03 in the first half.
With a renewed sense of urgency, the Cougar defense overwhelmed the Colonels on their possession. Richard Shepherd had a tackle in the backfield for a 15-yard loss and Nathan Adams had a tackle in the backfield for a five-yard loss. The Colonels would end up with a fourth down and a mile. This time they punted and the Cougars were in great shape at the Colonel 40-yard line.
A face mask penalty against Bourbon County followed by another penalty moved the ball down to the 12-yard line. Banks would find Dakota Brock in the end zone on a pass and it was 14- 6 after Cook nailed the extra point. The Cougars had no trouble moving the ball but the early turnovers hurt and the Cougars had to dig down deep as they have all year and come back to take control of the game.
The Colonels started their drive with a loss of 10 as Dustin Brown came up with a big play, but the Colonels had a big play of their own as on the next play Taylor Barnes shot straight up the middle for 76 yards and a touchdown and a huge momentum shift for the Colonels. Their attempt for the two-point conversion was no good and the score stood at 14- 12 at the half.
After getting their usual dose of halftime hollering by the coaches, the Cougars came out of the locker room like a new team. Charlie Banks kicked off to open the second half and put the ball in the end zone. This would set the tone for a different second half.
The Colonels would move the ball but were faced with a fourth down and six and there were no tricks this time as they punted. The Cougars moved quickly as Banks hit Brock for 12 yards to the Colonel 48-yard line. After Banks picked up seven on the ground, he hit Devon Johnson for a first down at the 37-yard line. Another pass to Brock for 13 and it was first down at the 24. Banks would find Stacy Phillips on a pretty pass play and he took it home. The extra point was no good but it was 20- 12 Cougars. The score would stand after three quarters.
The Cougars opened the fourth quarter deep in Colonel territory. Banks faced a second and 25 after a big penalty on the Cougars. They had moved all the way to the one-yard line. Banks hit Tolson for 10 yards and then he hit Brock for the final 15 yards and another Cougar touchdown. The extra point made it 27-12 with 9:24 in the game.
It would only get worse for the Colonels as the Cougar defense moved them backwards and they faced a fourth and 23 on their 12-yard line. The punt was out to 45. Ben Fisher wasted no time showing his speed as he ran his longest touchdown of the season and gave the Cougars a 34-12 lead.
The Cougars tacked on another score late as Banks took it in from one yard out to make the score 40-12. This would be the final score as the Colonels were shut out after halftime and the Cougars poured it on.
The Cougars moved to 8-1 and the Colonels fell to 1-8. The Cougars put up 412 yards of offense with 266 of those coming on the ground. Ben Fisher came up huge with 107 yards on 10 carries with two touchdowns. Terry Tolson picked up 68 yards, Charlie Banks 64 yards, and Dakota Brock had 45 yards. Banks connected on 15 passes for 146 yards and three touchdowns. He also scored one on the ground. The Cougars have been a secondhalf team all year and it would continue on this night.
Now the Cougars will get ready to take on Lawrence County at home this Friday night to close out the regular season and look to go 9-1 going into the playoffs. The dream season continues.