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Cougars dominate Cards; Somerset awaits

The Letcher County Central Cougars dominated visiting Sheldon Clark from start to finish in an impressive 55-6 victory Friday night. LCC rushed for more than 400 yards, including a team-high 179 yards by running back Hunter Hall in less than a half of play.

Sheldon Clark won the coin toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff. On 2nd down, Cougar linebacker Keith Boggs tackled the ball carrier for a fiveyard loss. Then, Stephen Fox and Keith Boggs combined to sack Cardinal quarterback Blake Harless and force a punt.

Hall ran up the middle for 20 yards on 1st down. On the next play, Jaylyn Williams gained 12 yards on a running back sweep before Hunter Hall flipped over a defender to score on a 12-yard run. Dustin Holbrook connected on the extra point to give LCC a 7-0 lead with 9:16 left in the first quarter.

Sheldon Clark started its next possession at its own 21-yard line. Harless used a play action fake to connect with receiver Wesley Hager for a 13-yard gain. The Cougars received a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty at the end of the play to move the ball to midfield. Cardinal running back Brandon Butcher gained 12 yards on consecutive dive runs. On 3rd and four deep in LCC territory, defender Jordan Boggs caused a fumble that linebacker Ryan Alzuraqi scooped up and returned for a score. The touchdown was called back for an illegal block in the back, marking the third time this year an LCC touchdown was nullified for an unnecessary block well behind the play.

Letcher Central quarterback Zane Blair scrambled for 17 yards on the first play of the next series. Hunter Hall then simply outran the entire defense on a 51-yard touchdown before the extra point split the uprights to make the score 14-0 in favor of the Cougars with 4:22 left in the opening quarter.

Sheldon Clark went three and out on its next drive after tackles for a loss by LCC defenders Jordan and Keith Boggs. The punt went out of bounds at midfield.

The quick strike Letcher Central offense wasted no time in scoring. On the first play Blair found receiver Houston Watts on a seam route for a 50-yard touchdown. LCC took a 21-0 lead into the second quarter after the point after was good.

The Cougar defense forced a three and out once again. Hunter Hall returned the punt to the LCC 31 yard line. After a two-yard gain on first down, Williams took a pitch around the right side and scampered for a 67-yard touchdown. Holbrook made the extra point to increase the lead to 28-0 early in the second quarter.

The Cardinals started their next drive at their 35-yard line. Stephen Fox tracked down Harless for his second sack of the game. On 2nd down, defensive back Joe Pack deflected the ball away from the receiver to force a third and long. Jordan Boggs tackled the ball carrier to bring out the Sheldon Clark punt unit. During the punt LCC had 12 players on the field and received a penalty. After the penalty yardage was awarded Sheldon Clark decided to go for it, but cornerback Devin Wright broke up the pass attempt to give the LCC offense the ball back.

Blair dropped back, eluded two pass rushers and then sprinted up the middle. He received great blocks down field by his receivers and went 58 yards untouched for the score. Holbrook made his 5th consecutive extra point to make the score 35-0. From this point forward a “running clock” was instituted.

Brandon Butcher had an excellent kickoff return to midfield to give Sheldon Clark its best field position of the game, but the Cardinal offense couldn’t get anything going and downed a punt on the LCC four-yard line.

On the first play of what would be the final drive for the LCC offensive starters, Hunter Hall broke a draw play for a 68-yard gain. Then Hall used a spin move you would normally see in a Madden video game to juke a would-be tackler and score from 28 yards out. The extra point hit the upright and Letcher Central took a 41-0 lead into halftime.

Letcher Central played a flawless first half and clearly outmatched the visiting Sheldon Clark Cardinals in every aspect of the game. The Cougars rushed for 338 yards in the first half and were having so much success on the ground that they attempted a season-low four passes. Hunter Hall had five carries for 179 yards and three touchdowns. Jaylyn Williams carried the ball four times for 84 yards and a touchdown. Zane Blair had a 58-yard touchdown run and a 50-yard touchdown pass to Houston Watts.

On defense, LCC held Sheldon Clark scoreless in the first half. Kyler Lucas led the defense with five tackles. Stephen Fox had two sacks. Keith Boggs and Nick Mullins had a sack apiece.

Sheldon Clark used a squib kick to start off the second half. Williams scooped up the rolling ball and found an opening to go 70 yards for the touchdown. LCC led 48-0 after Holbrook connected on the extra point.

Sheldon Clark returned the kickoff to its own 26-yard line. On the second play Blake Harless faked out the LCC defense on a quarterback read option play and went the distance from 71 yards away from the lone score of the game for the Cardinals. The twopoint conversion attempt was unsuccessful and midway through the third quarter the lead was cut to 48-6.

Letcher Central started the next drive with all reserves in the game. The Cougars attempted a slant pass that glanced off the receiver’s hands and was intercepted by Sheldon Clark defensive back Wesley Hager.

Facing a 4th and two, the Cardinals attempted a run around the left side of the line. LCC freshman Tanner Lucas hit the runner in the backfield and was assisted by fellow freshman Avery Stamper to stop the ball carrier short of the line to gain on the last play of the third quarter.

LCC quarterback Isaiah Tyree had a 22-yard run on a quarterback draw. Then speedster Quade Adams gained 50 yards on a sweep play, which led to an Adams nine–yard touchdown run on the next play. Kristopher Watts made the extra point to make the final score 55-6 in favor of LCC.

Coach Mike Holcomb’s team played its most complete game of the season. The Cougars had more than 400 yards rushing in the game and didn’t turn the ball over but one time. The defense got a muchneeded boost by the return of Nick Mullins and Cougar defenders spent much of the game wreaking havoc in the Sheldon Clark backfield.

The win improved Letcher Central’s record to 3-2 and midway through the season. LCC already has more wins than they had all of last year.

Letcher Central (3-2) will host Somerset (2-3) this Friday in what should be a very competitive game with a kickoff at 7:30 p.m.

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