It was homecoming this past Friday night as Letcher Central hosted the Whitley County Colonels. Both teams are really struggling this year and they had identical records of 1-5.
These two teams have had some big matchups in the past, and they really matched up well on paper. It was a must win for both teams as they were trying to sneak into that number four spot for the playoff s.
Whitley County returns Cody Bramlett at fullback. He was a 1,000-yard rusher last season, but the Colonels lost quarterback Jamie Lebanion who rushed for over 1,200 yards last season.
The Cougars won the toss and took the ball. They returned the ball out to the 31 to start the game. Drew Bentley picked up 11 on the first play from scrimmage, and Logan Johnson hooked up with Keaston Hall on a pass for a first down of 9 yards. Johnson then hit Jesse Rose at the Colonel 25 and he carried it to the 2-yard line. Drew Bentley took it in from there and the Cougars were on the board with a 7-0 lead as Syd Fields hit the point after.
With eight minutes left in the quarter, the Colonels went to work. The Colonels moved quickly into Cougar territory, but the Cougar defense forced a fourth-and-two play from the 34-yard line. The Colonels went for it and not only picked up the first down, but Bramlett took it all the way to the end zone as the Colonels answered the Cougar’s score. At 6:09 of the first quarter, the score was 7-7.
The Cougars had to punt on their next possession as Johnson was under pressure and had to deal with several high snaps from center. Starting at the Colonel 29, Whitley County took one play as Singleton burst through a hole and was gone. He was not going to be denied as he gave the Colonels the lead at 14-7 with 4:39 in the quarter.
The Cougars were again forced to punt and the Colonels took over again. Starting at the 20-yard line, the Colonels tried a pass which fooled everybody, and it was complete to the Cougar 36. They would move to the 12-yard line behind the power running of Bramlett. Just as they were preparing to score again, they fumbled and the Cougars took advantage.
Johnson found Matt Boggs all alone for a big 51 yards, and the Cougars were in business at the Colonel 29. The Cougars moved on down to the 2-yard line and Johnson sneaked it in from there to make the score 14-13. The point after was wide, and the score stayed the same.
On the Cougar kickoff , Molen returned it all the way back for a score. It was called back on a hold, but the Colonels were not done. Starting at the 35, they moved to the Cougar 46 with 6:40 left in the quarter. Bramlett got to the 35 and then scored on the next play, but it also was called back. It did not matter as the Colonels moved it on down the field and Cody Molen scored from three yards out to make the score 20-13.
The Cougars answered. Starting at the 20, Johnson hit Bentley at the 34 with a pass. An option to Bentley picked up 18 more yards, and then tack on a personal foul against Whitley and the ball was at the Colonel 38. On a fourthand four play, Johnson picked up the first down on his own as he ran all the way to the 10-yard line. He then found Chris Tyree in the end zone for the touchdown, and the conversion on a pass to Bentley made it 21-20 Cougars.
With time running out in the second quarter, the Colonels’ hurry-up offense moved the ball to the Cougar 12-yard line with less than 10 seconds in the half. They went for a field goal and took the lead at 23-21 at the break.
The Colonels opened the second half on off ense and started another drive. On a third down and 10, Bramlett picked up 22 yards and a first down at the Cougar 46. They attempted another pass to the Cougar 4-yard line, but this time it was picked off by Johnson as he made a beautiful one-handed grab. But the Cougars were unable to take advantage and were forced to punt.
Again, the Colonels moved at will to the Cougar red zone, but the defense stepped up again as the ball was fumbled at the three and recovered by Matt Landeau for the Cougars. They did not waste this opportunity. On the first play, Bentley found an opening and he was off for a 97-yard touchdown. It was the longest rushing touchdown in Cougar history. The score was 27-23 with 6:43 left in the third quarter.
The Colonels came right back and got a 57-yard run by Bolling all the way to the Cougar 10-yard line. Bramlett scored again and it was 30-27 Colonels.
The seesaw went back and forth and on the Cougars possession they got a big pass interference call on the Colonels and moved to the Whitley 16. They moved on down behind Bentley and Rose, and Bentley punched it in from the three and the score moved to 33-30. The Cougars got two on the conversion to Boggs, and the score was 35-30.
The Colonels answered. Starting at their 35, Bramlett did most of the work to get inside Cougar territory. He scored again from 32 yards out and the conversion made it 38-35 Colonels.
With 7:00 left in the game, the Cougars moved to the Colonel 43 and Johnson picked up a first down to the 35. But with time running out, the Cougars faced a fourth-and-15. Johnson threw a pass to the end zone and Jesse Rose went up and caught it among a crowd, and the Cougars retook the lead 41-38. Needing a big kickoff , the Cougars got one from Syd Fields, who put it in the end zone.
The Colonels started at the 20 with less than two minutes in the game. That would be all the time they would need. On a fourthand two play, they moved all the way to the Cougar 36. On the next play Singleton got all the way to the 2-yard line with 26 seconds left. He scored on the next play.
The score was 45-41, but the Cougars got another shot. Johnson found Matt Boggs on a bomb all the way to the Colonel 25, but with one second left they were stopped on the next play and the game was over.
The Cougars played their heart out and Drew Bentley ran his legs off. He picked up 185 yards on the night and three touchdowns .The Cougars as a team rushed for 301 yards. Johnson hit on 10 of 17 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns.
This game will hurt for a while, but the Cougars showed no quit and made Letcher County proud. They fall to 1-6 and 0-3 in district play. They now will try to recoup and get ready for another battle.