Letcher County Central shut out Breathitt County in the second half to roll to a 49-20 victory in the return of Coach Mike Holcomb to his old stomping ground. Jaylyn Williams had four rushing touchdowns and Zane Blair added two rushing touchdowns. LCC has won six games in a row heading into the playoffs.
The Cougars will host Madison Southern (6-4) Friday night in the first round of the postseason. The Eagles’ star running back Damian Harris has been cleared to play after recovering from an injury he suffered two months ago.
Against Breathitt County, Letcher Central won the coin toss and elected to receive the ball first. On second and five, Jaylyn Williams took a toss around the left side for an 18-yard gain and a first down. On the next series of downs Zane Blair was sacked to put the Cougars into a third and long. Breathitt County brought an all out blitz and Blair hung in the pocket to find receiver Tanner Lucas on a post pattern for a 45- yard touchdown. Blair made the extra point to put LCC up 7-0 with 10:10 left in the first quarter.
Breathitt County returned the kickoff to their own 45 yard line. On the first play running back Jordan Turner gained 13 yards up the middle to move the ball into LCC territory. Bobcat quarterback James Collins kept the ball on a read option play for a 17-yard gain. After three run plays, Breathitt County decided to go for it on fourth and one at the LCC 17 yard line. Collins took the shotgun snap and ran a sweep off the left tackle to gain 10 yards and make it first and goal for the Bobcats. On the next play Breathitt County fumbled and Jaylyn Williams recovered at the LCC nine yard line to end the scoring threat.
The Letcher Central offense couldn’t move the ball and were forced to punt deep in their own territory.
On third down and seven, Collins gained 12 yards to move ball into the red zone. Two plays later Jordan Turner scored from four yards out. The two-point conversion failed and LCC maintained a slim 7-6 lead.
On the first play of the LCC possession Zane Blair kept the ball and ran up the middle for a 65-yard touchdown. Blair’s extra point split the uprights to give the Cougars a 14-6 advantage with 3:53 left in the first quarter.
The Breathitt County offense struck back quickly. A James Collins 37-yard run gave the Bobcats a first and goal. LCC defenders Jordan Cook and Jordan Boggs combined to stop Collins for a two-yard loss on first down but the next play Collins scored from 11-yards out. Isaiah Tyree intercepted Collins on the two-point try to keep the score 14-12 Letcher Central.
Hunter Hall returned the kickoff to the LCC 42-yard line. On the last play of the first quarter Hall gained 26 yards on a counter play up the middle. Blair kept the ball on a quarterback keeper and scored his second rushing touchdown of the game, this time from 36 yards out. The extra point was good to make the score 21-12 with 11:48 left in the second quarter.
Breathitt County was driving and fumbled again. Zane Blair pounced on the football for the opportunistic LCC defense.
On third and six Blair threw a long pass to Lucas that the Bobcat defender interfered on the play to give Letcher Central a first down at the Breathitt 25 yard line. Then on fourth and two Williams got the carry and walked into the end zone untouched from 17 yards out. The score was 28-12 after the extra point was good.
Breathitt County scored again before halftime on a Collins run. The two-point conversion was good to make the score 28-20 LCC at halftime.
Breathitt County got the ball first to start the second half. Hunter
Hall tackled Collins for a threeyard loss. Then Jordan Boggs batted down the third down pass to force the first Bobcat punt of the game. The punt was downed at midfield.
Hall gained six yards on first down. Then Williams had consecutive runs of nine and 16 yards. Blair used a great fake to keep the ball and gain 12 yards. The next play Williams took the handoff started right, then stopped on a dime and reversed field to score a four-yard touchdown. Blair made the extra point to give the Cougars a 35-20 lead with 8:03 left in the third quarter.
On second and long Collins broke free for a 58-yard run and was caught from behind on a touchdown saving tackle by a hustling Hunter Hall. The drive bogged down in the LCC red zone and Breathitt County turned the ball over on downs.
Williams gained 12 yards on a toss sweep play on the first play of the drive. Then Blair scrambled to the left and threw a dump pass to Hall for a 30-yard gain. The drive culminated with a Williams 18- yard touchdown run. The point after was good to make the score 42-20 with 9:31 left in the game.
Jacob Kiser tackled Collins for a five-yard loss. On third down Hall tackled Collins in the backfield to force another Breathitt County punt.
Williams scored his fourth touchdown of the game from 56-yards away. Blair stayed perfect on extra point to increase the LCC lead to 49-20.
Breathitt County had one more scoring opportunity but Jacob Kiser recovered a fumble to keep the Bobcats scoreless the entire second half. The victory improved Letcher Central’s record to (8-2) and they are on a six game winning streak heading into the playoffs.
Jaylyn Williams was unstoppable, carrying the ball 14 times for 178 yards and four touchdowns. Zane Blair had 5 rushes for 116 yards and 2 touchdowns and also threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Tanner Lucas. Hunter Hall had 57 yards on nine carries and also caught a 30-yard pass.
Jordan Boggs and Jacob Kiser spent much of the night in the Breathitt County backfield wreaking havoc, especially the second half when the Bobcats were kept scoreless.
Coach Holcomb now must get Letcher Central ready for a muchanticipated first round playoff meeting with Madison Southern. Damian Harris will make his return from injury and it will be paramount for the Cougars to contain Harris if they want to win and advance. Harris is the number one-rated running back recruit in the country by many analysts.
The Cougars are playing their best football of the year and the home field advantage should be a huge factor in the game. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday night at Cougar field.