The Letcher County Central Cougars welcomed district foe Whitley County to Cougar Field last Friday night. The senior night celebration did not last long as the Cougars lost 55-19. The LCC offense looked much better than in previous weeks and accounted for 340 yards of total offense, but the defense had trouble stopping the option attack of the Colonels, who ran for almost 600 yards in the contest.
LCC received the opening kickoff but on their first offensive play the ball carrier fumbled and Whitley County recovered at the LCC 21-yard line. The Colonels capitalized quickly when quarterback Austin Ysidro scored on a quarterback keeper and the extra point made the score 7-0.
Kyler Lucas returned the kickoff to the LCC 32-yard line and on the next play running back Chris Tyree took the handoff up the middle and scored a 68-yard touchdown. The extra point snap was mishandled but Letcher Central had cut the lead to 7-6 just 34 seconds into the game.
Whitley County started their next possession at their own 28- yard line. The Colonels methodically moved the ball down the field out of the Wing T formation and the drive was capped off by a sixyard touchdown run by fullback Boston Bryant. The kick was no good and Whitley County led 13-6.
The Cougars started at their own 35 after the kickoff went out of bounds. LCC quarterback Zane Blair connected with receiver Houston Watts for an 11-yard gain on 3rd and 8. Then Blair hit receiver Josh Boggs on a slant route for a 37-yard gain to get into the Whitley County red zone. Tyree scored on the next play from 10 yards out. The score was 13-12 after the Cougars failed on a two-point conversion.
Whitley County had an eightplay, 76-yard scoring drive punctuated by a five-yard touchdown run by running back Tilmon Jackson. Boston Bryant scored on a two- point try to increase the Colonel lead to 21-12.
The Cougar offense went three and out. Zane Blair flipped field position with a perfect 58-yard punt that went out of bounds at the Whitley 4-yard line. The Colonels’ offense looked flawless again on an eight play, 96-yard scoring drive that ended with a one-yard touchdown run by Bryant. The kick was right down the middle to make the score 28-12 at the end of the first quarter.
The Cougar offense went three and out again. On the Colonels’ second offensive play Ysidro kept the ball on an option play and scored from 48-yards out. The extra point increased the lead to 35-12.
Letcher Central returned the kickoff to its own 28-yard line. On first down Blair was flushed from the pocket and scrambled for a 17-yard pickup. After a sack, Blair connected with Houston Watts for a 13-yard gain to gave LCC a first down in Whitley County territory. Facing second and 18 after a penalty, Blair threw a perfect pass to Kyler Lucas for a 27-yard gain. The drive stalled and the Cougars turned the ball over on downs. Whitley County freshman running back Zack Mills broke three tackles on his way to an unbelievable 76-yard touchdown scamper that increased the lead to 42-12.
The LCC offense went three and out once again but Cougar defender Nick Mullins recovered a Whitley County fumble to close out the first half.
The Colonels returned the second half kickoff all the way to the LCC 42 yard line. Two plays later Ysidro scored on a 28-yard quarterback keeper and the Whitley County lead had swelled to 49-12.
Tyree had a magnificent 52- yard return to the Colonel 32 yard line. Facing 3rd and 3, Blair kept it and ran 12 yards for a first down. The drive stalled just like the previous one in the red zone and LCC turned the ball over on downs.
Whitley County backup quarterback Luke Woods entered the game and the Colonel offense didn’t miss a beat. Woods drove the team right down the field and scored a 28-yard touchdown. LCC defensive lineman Willie Smith blocked the extra point to keep the score 55-12.
The Cougar defense forced the first Whitley County punt of the game after the LCC offense had been forced to punt. Running back Hunter Hall gained 14 yards on two carries. Then Blair faked it to Hall and gained 16 yards around the right side of the offensive line. Houston Watts caught a pass from Blair for 15 yards and then the two connected again, this time for a 10-yard score. Dustin Holbrook made the extra point to make the final score 55-19.
The Letcher Central offense looked more like the unit that was moving the ball up and down the field at the beginning of the season. Chris Tyree gained 112 yards on 13 carries and had two touchdowns. Zane Blair completed 10 passes on 20 attempts for 153 yards and a touchdown. Houston Watts had five catches for 64 yards and a touchdown. The Cougars gained over 300 yards even though they were without big play receiver Keaston Hall who was lost for the year with an injury.
The Cougar defense had trouble stopping the run game all night long. Whitley County only attempted two passes the entire game because freshman Zack Mills alone gained almost 300 yards for the game. The defense was led by Hunter Hall and Chris Tyree who had 10 tackles apiece for the Cougars. Nick Mullins had seven tackles and a fumble recovery. Stephen Fox and Keith Boggs each had six tackles.
The Cougars will travel to winless Greenup County to finish up the regular season this Friday. Game time is at 7:30 p.m.