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Cougars finish promising grid campaign


The Letcher County Central Cougars season was ended by a second-round playoff loss of 50-0 to Johnson Central. The Cougars went 6-2 on the season with both losses coming to the Golden Eagles.

Despite the two losses to one of Kentucky’s best football teams and defending state champion, Letcher Central had a great year while overcoming numerous obstacles during the pandemic. The Cougars are building a good foundation for future years and hopefully will build on this season next year.

“It was a great season in spite of the challenges with COVID,” coach Junior Matthews said. “We had a really good senior class that will be hard to replace.”

In last week’s game, Johnson Central received the opening kickoff and capped off a seven-play drive with a 20-yard touchdown run by running back Dylan Preston.

The LCC offense went three and out and the ensuing punt was downed at the Johnson Central 46-yard line. Preston scored his second touchdown on a toss sweep around the right side of the line. The extra point made the score 14-0.

On third and 14, LCC quarterback Carson Adams scrambled for a 34-yard gain into Johnson Central territory. The Cougars couldn’t drive the ball any farther and turned the ball over on downs. Johnson Central’s Mason Lawson then scored on a 12-yard run to increase the lead to 21-0.

On the first play of the next LCC drive, Johnson Central intercepted a pass and returned it to the LCC 30-yard line. On fourth and four, LCC defensive lineman Jackson Meade tackled the ball carrier short of the line to gain for a turnover on downs.

The Cougar offense were forced to quickly punt once again. LCC defensive back Wyatt Ison intercepted a pass near midfield to get the ball back for the LCC offense. Adams was sacked on third and eight to force the third punt of the game for LCC.

With Johnson Central again in possession, a sack by LCC defensive lineman Dale Webb forced a punt by the Golden Eagles that was downed at the LCC 47-yard line.

Sam Little gained 17 yards on a swing pass on third and 10 to take the ball into Johnson Central territory, but on the next play Johnson Central intercepted a pass to stop the scoring threat.

On the ensuing play, Preston took a pitch around the right side of the line for an 85-yard touchdown. Preston scored on the two-point conversion to increase Johnson Central’s lead to 29-0 at halftime.

After LCC went three and out to start the second half, Johnson Central quarterback Grant Rice scored from 43 yards out on a quarterback keeper to make it 36-0 and a “running clock” for the remainder of the game.

Sam Little had a six-yard run on third and four for a first down, but the Cougar offense couldn’t move the ball any farther and were forced to punt.

Johnson Central quickly scored to increase its lead to 43-0. The Golden Eagles then got their third interception of the game and capitalized with a three-yard touchdown run to make the final score 50-0.

Letcher Central ends its 2020 campaign with the sixth-highest RPI among the KHSAA’s 38 Class 4A, sandwiched between Lexington Catholic and Franklin County.

Johnson Central advances to host Corbin (8-1) on Dec. 4. The winner of that game will advance to the Class 4A semifinals, where it will face either Hopkinsville or John Hardin. The Class 4A final is currently set for Dec. 15.

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