As Bryan Station, Scott County and Paul Laurence Dunbar demonstrated before the Great Crossing, it’s not the inevitable hit from Frederick Douglass that defines your football season. This is what you do with it.
These proud programs are in the hot streaks after the Broncos scored them running, and the Warhawks hope to lick their wounds and do the same after Friday night’s 54-0 defeat at Birds Nest Stadium.
“The good thing kids usually see against a very good football team is the pace of the game and the fitness at that level,” GC coach Ricky Bowling said. We want to take that and any opportunity that comes from that. I think our kids saw that tonight. If we want to have a qualifying round, we have to play at a faster pace and at a high level, so we will continue to work to do that.”
Life comes quickly when you line up against the top-ranked team in Category 5A. Frederick Douglass (8-0 overall, 3-0 area) took full advantage of six turnovers, cashing in three for an instant touchdown and using a couple more as an incentive to score goals on a short field.
Somehow, the drug still had the palatable flavor of Great Crossing (6-2, 1-2). The positives included three tackles for a loss, one by Kayden Allen pinning on the goal line to finish the first half, and some late games carried out by a wild cat formation by Jacob Johnson, the fourth quarterback on Warhawks’ roster.
“There were a lot of good signals for our team,” said Bowling. “We’re trying to maneuver the guys and find the best fit. Obviously we’re dealing with some injuries at the moment, so she’s trying to find the right form and the right charts to fit what we need. They replied tonight. The guys are up.”
Brandon Brooks and Tachon Benford scored from ball fidgeting, and Isaiah Kenny went away with Douglas’ interception, which took what JC’s strong defense provided in relatively small pieces on the other side of the ball.
TJ Horton, Davaun Hart, Ty Bryant and Cole Carpenter all rushed to land. Hart’s 22-yard blast in the middle was the only scorer to score longer than five yards. Dori Trahan threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Darion Talbert for the only points in the second half.
Carpenter was 11 of 18 for 159 yards in the air for the Broncos, who beat the Warhawks 293 to 84.
“Give them a short range, they can score goals just like that, in the blink of an eye,” said Pauling. “We knew it was going to be a tough job. We knew we were going to be the underdog. I am really proud of my guys, the way they fought and played.”
Brooks was in the backcourt before sophomore quarterback Caden Bayes had time to take three stops before what was supposed to be his first pitch of the night, resulting in a tape sack and a 7-yard dash for six under two minutes into his game. .
Pilot Lukachko’s pressure off the edge disrupted the evening’s first two additional points, leaving the gap 6-0.
quickly multiplied. Kenny’s handling of the loss made three goals for Douglas’ defense, and his 22-yard penalty kick put the Broncos back in action.
Donald Quinn made one of six tackles for his high-ranking team to stop Tylon Webb (five receptions, 101 yards) shy of the end zone after grabbing 20 yards from Carpenter, but Horton bounced back from a correct tackle for a 5-yard TD on the next play.
“Our guys did their best,” Pauling said. “That’s all I’ve asked all week. I thought everyone who was out in the field tonight did it.”
After another quiet GC series, Horton (16 yards) and Webb (23 yards) set up Hart’s run to the finish zone.
A low shot on the Warhawks’ kick led to the next non-offensive touchdown. Jesse Fair got her back in time to get choked at the goal line, weakening her again.
Benford fell to it with 1:51 remaining in the first quarter. Offensive man Demiko Kennedy took the ball out of the fake PAT formation for two points to make it 27-0.
Douglas hit again 33 seconds later, starting when Tresian Benford jumped for another shot. Carpenter threw three incomplete passes before calling into tight end Thomas Howard for 19 yards for fourth and 10th.
Although Allen knocked Howard out of bounds, Bryant passed 2 on the next play to lock in an overwhelming quarter for the Great Crossing.
Marciano Jenkins recovered another confusion in the red to score that set off a continuous clock with 10:35 left in the game. The carpenter managed to get the quarterback offside.
Kenney’s pick-six switched the lead before Great Crossing finally picked his first on a pair of kicks by Jakeece Patterson.
This trip ended in a penalty by the Fair Buried Broncos alone 6 after an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Douglas nearly led the length of the field in the final four minutes without capitalizing on any stops and used two timeouts in the final seconds to try to bring down the hammer in longer time.
Allen dealt Hart for a loss, then teamed up with Lukacsko to please Webb with time running out, sparking the loudest cheers of the night from the house audience.
“(Coach Douglas Nathan) McPeak is there, and I’ve been in that position,” said Pauling. “I’m an abusive guy. I want to score, score, score. Really proud of our defence. That was a great sign there, a position on the goal line. We had another stop I think in the second half.”
Second, actually: Douglas did a chase once and was later stopped for swipes by Malachi Young and Logan Clayton.
Baez, on his third start in place of senior Gabe Nichols, went 4 for 9 before making way for Johnson, who delivered 49 yards on six carriers over half of the GC’s total attack.
Landon Minivey intercepted Johnson’s lone attempt to pass the night in the end zone in the last play of the match.
“This is our common offense now,” Pauling said of the single wing. “Our JV quarterback has arrived. Our new quarterback has been hurt. I try to keep our new quarterbacks safe and healthy. We handle the adversities that come with it like any other football team, and we try to figure out what works for us.”
Pauling said Nichols still had a medical problem from week to week. He was disqualified the day before the Scott County game on September 30.
“We’ve had quite a bit of positive news, but we still don’t know,” Pauling said. “Hopefully we’ll find out something for sure next week.”
JC hosts Grant County for a rare game Thursday as it kicks off at 6:30 p.m. before traveling to Shelbyville to face another team in the middle of the 5A package, Collins, in the regular season finale.
Next week’s win would book third place in District VI, which means GC will beat all the way to the second-place team from District 5 – Highlands, Covington Catholics or Cooper – in the opening round of the playoffs.
“A short week. “We should turn around and jump again,” Pauling said. “It’s going to be a special night, seniors’ night. I can’t wait to honor the group that started it. They were special. It’s been such a good ride with this group. I know they’re not finished. They are still buying.”