The Letcher County Central Cougar football team finished the regular season with a 4-6 record after falling to visiting Breathitt County 53-22, but still qualifies for post-season play that begins this weekend.
The Cougars finished the regular season by losing four of five games and now must travel to Berea to face Madison Southern, a team that is 8-1 on the season. The Eagles are led by sophomore running back Damien Harris who is among the leaders in the state of Kentucky in both rushing yards and touchdowns and has already verbally committed to Michigan State. The game kicks off Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
The much-anticipated game featuring visiting Breathitt County, the old stomping ground of firstyear LCC Coach Mike Holcomb, was never close with the Bobcats racing to a 27-0 first quarter lead and never looking back.
Breathitt County returned the opening kickoff to its own 28-yard line. A 15-yard facemask penalty by the LCC defense moved the ball to midfield after the first play. Facing fourth and four, Breathitt County Coach Kyle Moore decided to go for the first down and quarterback Adam White completed a slant route to James Collins for a 14-yard gain. The next play, White connected with receiver Braxton Whitmore on a crossing route for a 25-yard gain. Then Jordan Turner scored on a two-yard rushing touchdown and the extra point was good to make it 7-0 with 9:11 remaining in the first quarter.
The Letcher Central offense went three and out, and the punt was partially blocked and went out of bounds at the LCC 24-yard line. White threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Wes Noble on the first play. The extra point sailed through the uprights and just like that Breathitt County was ahead 14-0.
Letcher Central started its next possession at its own 26-yard line. On first down quarterback Zane Blair threw a shovel pass to Hunter Hall for a 12-yard gain. Jaylyn Williams gained eight yards out of the I-formation right up the middle, but LCC fumbled on the next play and the ball was recovered by Breathitt County at the LCC 47-yard line.
Cougar defensive offside and pass interference penalties moved the ball into the red zone. On third down LCC lineman Seth Hall broke through the line and had a nine-yard quarterback sack, but on fourth and 20 White completed a 22-yard pass to Glenn Campbell on a seam route. It led to a sevenyard touchdown run by Jon Collins. The extra point increased the lead to 21-0.
Letcher Central then fumbled the kickoff return and Breathitt’s Kyle Tilford scooped up the ball and returned it 16 yards for the touchdown. Jordan Boggs blocked the extra point to keep the score at 27-0 with 3:21 in the first quarter.
After Letcher Central returned the kickoff to its own 22-yard line, Houston Watts replaced injured quarterback Zane Blair, who had been trying to play with a foot injury he suffered in the previous game against Whitley County. Watts gained eight yards on a quarterback keeper on first down. On third and eight after a holding penalty, Watts completed a 41-yard pass to Devin Wright who made an incredible leaping catch. The Cougars got no further and eventually turned the ball over on downs.
The Letcher Central defense forced the first Bobcat three-and-out of the game to start the second quarter. On third and four Hunter Hall gained nine yards on a sweep around the left side for a first down. Then after three runs, LCC went for the first down on fourth and three, but Watts was tackled on the quarterback keeper just short of the first down.
Breathitt County’s next drive was the Wes Noble show. Noble caught a 12- yard pass on a slant route, a 31-yard pass on a go route, and then a 22-yard touchdown pass all from Adam White. The score was 33-0 with 4:19 left in the first half after the two-point conversion was no good.
LCC started at its own 37-yard line. On third and 12 Watts completed a 10- yard pass to Kyler Lucas. On fourth down Watts broke two tackles to pick up five yards and a first down. A screen pass to Hunter Hall went for 16 yards to the Breathitt County 30-yard line. On the next play Wright caught a screen pass for 10 yards before a 20-yard touchdown run by Houston Watts was brought back after holding penalty. The Cougars couldn’t recover and eventually turned the ball over on downs to end the first half.
Jaylyn Williams took the second half kickoff and broke out of a pack of Breathitt County defenders for an 85-yard touchdown return.
The extra point was no good, making the score 33-6.
Breathitt County wasted no time answering. White threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to Whitmore on the third play of the drive. The extra point increased the leed to 40-6 with 10:32 left in the third quarter.
Letcher Central returned the kickoff to its own 32-yard line. On the first play, Watts scrambled for 10 yards and a first down. Then on third and 17 Watts rolled to his right and found Ryan Alzuraqi for a 19-yard gain. Watts rolled left and completed a 15-yard pass to Kyler Lucas on an out route. Facing fourth and five from the 22-yard line, Watts gained 17 yards right up the middle. Two plays later Jaylyn Williams scored on a one-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion run by Williams was good to cut the lead to 40-14 with 5:33 in the third.
Breathitt started at its own 36-yard line on the next possession. On the second play of the drive Wes Noble simply outfought a LCC defender for a pass and not only caught the ball but broke free for a 56-yard touchdown. The extra point made the score 47-14.
On the next series, Hunter Hall gained a tough eight yards on third and three to pick up a first down. Kyler Lucas saved an interception by gaining simultaneous possession with a defender to pick up another first down. Back-to-back sacks by the Breathitt County defensive line forced a turnover on downs.
The LCC defense got the ball back to the Cougar offense and they only took two plays to score a score touchdown. On first down freshman Quade Adams gained 21 yards up the middle. On the next play Aaron Tackett took a pitch around the right and went 50 yards for the score. Tackett also ran in the two point conversion to make the score 47-22 with 8:22 left in the game.
Breathitt County running back Jon Collins scored a touchdown on a 28-yard run with 4:43 left in what would be the final scoring of the game. The 53-22 score in favor of Breathitt County leaves Letcher Central having to go on the road in the first round of the playoffs.
Houston Watts played well for getting his first lengthy game action at quarterback this season. Watts finished with 15 completions on 29 attempts for 172 yards and had 17 rushing attempts for 63 yards. Jaylyn Williams had a rushing touchdown and an 85-yard kickoff return touchdown. Hunter Hall had 70 yards receiving on seven receptions. Devin Wright had 51 yards on two catches. Kyler Lucas had four receptions for 32 yards and five tackles on defense. Ryan Alzuraqi was all over the field on defense with eight tackles, one sack and two tackles for loss. Keith Boggs also had a nice game with seven tackles.