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LCC awaits much-improved Perry Central

The Letcher County Central Cougars will host Perry County Central this week in the opening round of the 32-team KHSAA Class 4A state football playoffs.

When the Commodores vs. Cougars game kicks off Friday at 7 p.m., it will mark the second time in five weeks that Perry Central has played on LCC’s home field at Ermine. While the Cougars won that game easily, 42-6, the Commodores went on to post wins in four of their next five games, losing only to Class 4A power Johnson Central, 41-0, on October 8. Perry Central wound up its regular season this past Friday with a 35-21 win over visiting Williamsburg. The victory improved the Commodores record to 7-3 overall and 2-2 in District 8.

The Cougars will enter Friday’s game with a won-loss record of 6-3 after they ended their regular season with consecutive losses to Class 4A teams. LCC’s latest loss came Friday when the Bourbon County Colonels defeated the Cougars, 23-20.

Bourbon County won the game despite being outgained by LCC in total yardage, 484 to 339 yards. Despite racking up most yardage, the Cougars fell behind by 14 points early in third quarter and battled hard the rest of the game but could never regain the lead. LCC Quarterback Carson Adams had 245 yards rushing to lead a Cougars offense that was hurt by missed opportunities inside the 20-yard line.

“Red zone offense was really the story,” said LCC Coach Junior Matthews. “We had well over 400 yards of offense but only scored one out of five trips to the red zone.”

After taking the game’s opening kickoff at the 20, Hayden Brashear gained 10-yards on a counter play around the left side of the line to start the game’s first nice drive. On second-and-five, Adams completed a hitch route to receiver Wyatt Ison for a six-yard gain and another first down. Then a 17-yard pass to Nicholas Haning moved the ball just past midfield. Wyatt Ison came in motion and took the handoff for an 11-yard gain.

Now facing fourth down and one yard to go for a new set of downs, Adams kept the ball on a quarterback sneak and gained enough yardage for the first down. Brashear then capped the impressive 16-play, 80-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run up the middle. The two-point conversion failed, leaving the score 6-0 with 4:13 left in the first quarter.

With the Colonels now in possession, they answered quickly with a 52-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Clay Estes to Josh Moody on a seam route on a third-and-11 play. The extra point split the upright to give the Bourbon County a 7-6 lead.

Things again looked promising for LCC, as Adams rolled to the left and found Ison for a 29-yard gain to move the ball to the Bourbon County 44-yard line. After a pass interference penalty on the Colonels, Adams had runs of eight and 10 yards to move the ball inside Bourbon County’s 10- yard line. But a chance to take the lead faded on the very next play when the Colonels recovered an LCC fumble.

While Bourbon County was able to gain one first down on a 32-yard run by Moody, the LCC defense stood strong after that run and forced the first punt of the game.

LCC’s Brashear had a 14-yard run and was hit late out of bounds, adding 15 yards to the end of the carry. Adams then gained 17 and 10 yards on consecutive runs to move the ball into the red zone for the third time. However, a costly holding penalty led to third-and-15 at the 19-yard line, and back-to-back incompletions turned the ball over on downs.

The Colonels then turned in an eightplay, 81-yard drive that ended with an Estes eight-yard touchdown run. The extra point was wide left, keeping the score at 13-6 with 34 seconds left in the first half.

On the ensuing kickoff, Wyatt Ison had a nice return to near midfield. Adams had a 30-yard scramble to move the ball to the Colonel 18-yard line and give LCC one final play before halftime. LCC tried a double pass, but the ball fell incomplete to end the half.

LCC’s second-half kickoff went out of bounds, giving Bourbon County the ball at its own 40-yard line. The Colonels drove the ball to the LCC 26-yard line, but a fourth down pass was intercepted by Haning to thwart the threat and give the ball back to the Cougar offense. LCC gained one first down but couldn’t move the ball any further and turned it over on downs just past midfield.

On third-and-10, Bourbon County’s Estes threw a deep ball that receiver Jaden Commodore caught between two LCC defenders and raced to end zone for a 54-yard touchdown. The extra point increased the Colonels’ lead to 20-6.

With LCC back in control of the football, on fourthand seven, Adams rolled to the right and Haning made a diving grab for a 12-yard gain to continue the drive. Two plays later, Adams scored on a quarterback keeper from 58-yards. The play was helping by hustling offensive lineman Christian Griffith, who made a massive block on final Bourbon County defender 35 yards down the field to spring Adams for the score. The two-point conversion failed, leaving the score at 20-12 late in the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Bourbon County jumped to a 23-12 lead after a nineplay drive that chewed up some clock ended in a 33- yard field goal.

With the clock ticking and LCC needing a score, Adams completed a 40- yard pass to Haning on a slant route to move the ball into Colonel territory. Two plays later, on thirdand 16, Adams found Ison just beyond the first down marker for a first down. On the next play, Ison took the handoff in motion and accelerated through the defense for a 24-yard touchdown. Adams ran in the conversion to cut Bourbon County’s lead to 23-20.

With the momentum shifting LCC’s way, the Cougar defense forced a Bourbon County punt that was downed at the LCC 11. The Cougars then used 10 plays to drive the ball 72 yards to give LCC firstand 10 at the Colonels 17- yard line. Adams gained nine yards on first down, but an after the play personal foul cost LCC 15 yards. Adams gained nine more yards to make it third-andseven, but a pass to Jonah Little in the end zone was just out of Little’s reach. A fourth-down reverse play to Ison was stopped after a one-yard gain to end the game at 23-20 in favor of Bourbon County.

LCC fought hard in the loss and will look to regroup when they host Perry Central.

“Perry has improved a lot since we last played and are playing well at the end of the season,” said Coach Matthews.

Carson Adams led the LCC offense, running the ball 25 times for 245 yards and a touchdown. Adams also completed 14 passes on 23 attempts for 148 yards. Hayden Brashear gained 43 yards on seven rushes and a touchdown. Wyatt Ison had 96 total yards and a score. Nicholas Haning caught seven passes for 90 yards and had an interception on defense.

Koby Johnson had nine tackles to lead the LCC defense. Kaden Barnette had eight tackles. Cooper Bailey had seven tackles. Quinton Williams and Dawson Cornette each had five tackles for the Cougars.

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