Whitesburg KY
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Cougars fall in playoffs

The 2012 Letcher County Central football season ended last Friday night in the first round of the playoffs with a 56-22 defeat at the hands of Pulaski County. The Cougars finished the season with only two wins, but with such a young team expect a muchimproved team next year.

LCC received the opening kickoff, but the offense gained no yardage and was forced to punt. The Cougar defense started off strong and forced a Pulaski County fumble. The LCC offense took advantage of the fumble and moved into the red zone, but eventually turned the ball over on downs. The Maroons marched the ball to midfield, but freshman quarterback Riley Hall fumbled a snap and LCC defender Stephen Fox pounced on it to give the ball back to the Cougar offense.

The offense went three and out once again and this time Pulaski County capitalized in a hurry. Hall hit receiver Mason Helton in stride for a 66-yard touchdown. The extra point was good to make the score 7-0 with 6:29 left in the first quarter.

After forcing another punt, Pulaski

County moved the ball quickly into the red zone. On second down Hall and Helton connected for their second touchdown of the game this time from 15 yards out. The kick increased the Maroons lead to 14-0.

Letcher Central was stymied once again on offense and turned the ball over on downs with 12 seconds left in the first quarter. Pulaski County was facing a 3rd and 8 in Cougar territory when defensive back Kyler Lucas snuffed out a screen play and tackled the receiver short of the first down. The Maroons’ fourth down pass attempt sailed out of bounds and the Cougar offense took over at their own 42 yard line.

On the first play of the possession, quarterback Zane Blair found Houston Watts for a 26-yard gain. Costly penalties derailed the drive and on 4th and 20 Blair was sacked for the fourth time in the game and the LCC offense turned the ball over on downs once again.

Maroons running back Tyler Goins took a swing pass and went for a 36-yard gain to get into the LCC red zone. On the play, Cougar defensive back Stephen Fox was injured and lay on the field for more than 20 minutes as an ambulance was brought onto the field. Both teams gathered around Fox and prayed for him. This puts into prospective how unimportant a football game is when someone gets hurt. The show of sportsmanship from Pulaski County was heartwarming. All tests at the hospital were negative and Fox will be fine. Goins eventually scored on an 11-yard touchdown run to put the Maroons up 21-0 with 7:33 left in the second quarter.

Goins scored again on a 12-yard scamper after a LCC punt to make the margin 28-0 in favor of Pulaski County. Letcher Central was facing a 3rd and one when running back Chris Tyree broke a tackle and went 56 yards for the score. Tyree took a pitch around the right side for the twopoint conversion to make the score 28-8 heading into halftime.

Pulaski County received the second half kick and receiver Aaron Smith capped the drive off on an 11-yard run out of a wildcat formation for a touchdown. The extra point sailed through the uprights and less than a minute into the third quarter the lead had swelled to 35-8. LCC turned the ball over on downs and Hall found receiver Alec Woolridge on a seam route all alone for a 39-yard touchdown. Pulaski County led 42-8 after the extra point.

The Cougars again showed the never-give-up attitude they did all year. Chris Tyree took a handoff and as he was being tackled alertly pitched the ball back to Zane Blair who ran 31-yards for the score. The two-point conversion was no good but the unbelievable play cut the lead to 42-14.

Pulaski County scored consecutive touchdowns to go up 56-14 early in the fourth quarter. The Cougar offense put together their most complete drive of the game and Blair found receiver Houston Watts for a 15-yard touchdown. Watts caught a pass from Blair for the two-point conversion to make the final score 56-22 in favor of Pulaski County.

Chris Tyree ended his LCC career with a bang by gaining 141 yards on 15 attempts. Tyree had the long 56-yard scoring run and also helped account for another touchdown with the pitch to Zane Blair for a score. Blair completed 11 passes on 28 attempts for 119 yards and a score. Even more important for moving forward to next year, Blair and the offense only turned the ball over once the entire game. Houston Watts caught four passes for 39 yards and a touchdown. Josh Boggs had four receptions for 23 yards and Kyler Lucas had two catches for 24 yards.

This offseason is an important one for Coach Paul Rains and the youthful LCC football program. They need to hit the weights hard and study the playbook to become more comfortable in the complex system that Coach Rains’s teams have been so successful with in his previous coaching stops. Both things should happen next year. Cougar fans appreciate the seniors who are leaving the program for their hard work and dedication and wish them well in all future endeavors.

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