The Letcher County Central football team fell to a record of four wins and five losses after a 44-12 defeat at Whitley County in the final district game of the season.
The Cougars ended up 1-3 in district play and will get the fourth seed in the first round of the playoffs in two weeks.
In last Friday’s loss, Letcher Central started at its own 35-yard line after the opening kickoff. On the first offensive play, running back Preston Maggard found a huge hole up the middle for a 19-yard gain. A defensive penalty on Whitley County then gave LCC a first down at the Colonel 27-yard line. Three plays later on 4th and 11, quarterback Nick Sergent eluded two pass rushers while rolling to the right and found Blake Brashears open in end zone for a 28-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, but LCC quickly jumped out to a 6-0 lead.
Colonels quarterback Dylan Wilson answered with a 27-yard pass to Dawson Swain on a wide receiver screen play to start the first Whitley County drive. Four plays later, Wilson connected with Swain again for a 25-yard touchdown. The extra point made the score 7-6 in favor of Whitley County.
After a nice Hunter Campbell kickoff return to the LCC 41-yard line, the offense went three and out and was forced to punt. The Colonels then went on an eight-play 70-yard drive capped off by a 11-yard touchdown run up the middle by Nathan Jackson. The point after sailed through the uprights to increase the lead to 14-6 midway through the first quarter.
Letcher Central went three and out once again to open the second quarter before Whitley County methodically drove the ball inside the Cougar red zone. On 4th and 1 from the LCC 10-yard line, linebacker Avery Stamper blew up the Colonel running play in the backfield to force a turnover on downs.
LCC gained one first down before having to punt. Whitley County capitalized on great field position and scored on a 17-yard touchdown on a slant pattern from Wilson to Cameron Rose. The score was 21-6 after the extra point.
Whitley County added one more field goal before halftime to take a 24-6 lead.
Letcher Central opened the second half with an onside kick that was recovered by Whitley County in LCC territory. A quick scoring drive ended with a 14-yard touchdown run by Sean Hickey to make the score 31-6 after the point after.
LCC answered with Sergent throwing a 42-yard bomb that was pulled in by Tannar Lucas at the Whitley County 28-yard line. Lucas then caught a 12-yard slant pass from Sergent, but on third down Sergent was sacked and forced to leave the game. The offense then turned the ball over on downs.
Whitley County went on a seven-play scoring drive, with Hickey getting another rushing touchdown, this time from nine yards out. The point after failed, keeping the score at 37-6.
The Colonels weren’t finished, however, as they recovered a squib kick and immediately scored on a 26-yard seam pass from Wilson to Jackson. The extra point was good to increase the lead to 44-6.
Letcher Central fumbled on their first offensive play of the next series and the ball was recovered by Whitley County. The Cougars’ defense stood strong and forced a turnover on downs to get the ball back to the offense.
With Hunter Campbell now in the game at quarterback for LCC, he immediately had runs around the left side for seven and 11 yards. Three plays later, on 4th and 5, Campbell took the shotgun snap and gained 24-yards on a sweep play. Running back Kaleb Mullins followed with a 17-yard run to the Whitley County 1-yard line, and on the last play of the game Campbell ran it in for a touchdown to make the final score 44-12.
Letcher Central got off to a quick start offensively but couldn’t sustain it. Nick Sergent finished the game completing six passes on 16 attempts for 94 yards and one touchdown.
Hunter Campbell had 53 yards rushing on seven carries, including a touchdown. Preston Maggard gained 22 yards on five carries. Tannar Lucas had 60 yards receiving on three receptions, and Blake Brashears caught a 28-yard touchdown pass.
Avery Stamper led the defense with 13 tackles, including a huge hit to make a goal line stand in the second quarter.
Triston Polly had seven tackles and a forced fumble. Kyler Sturgill and Tyler Isaacs each had five tackles from the linebacker position.