(by Don Meador, The Citizen-Times, October 19, 2017, used with permission)
The inability to find the end zone offensively was a key factor Friday night as the Allen County-Scottsville Patriots dropped a 17-13 decision to Warren East in a pivotal Class 4A, Region 1, District 2 showdown at Warren East.
“We are not doing things offensively that we are used to doing,” coach Brad Hood said. “When you play a team like East and you get chances and chances, you eventually need to make good on some of those chances. We had a six minute run right before half when we looked really, really good. We scored twice going into halftime but we never seem to be able to bounce back after the half. ”
Hood was quick to note that his team’s defense started strong---and played well throughout the game.
“We came out of the gate strong defensively,” Hood added. “We fought for four quarters. Our defense played well. The big defensive play was after we have fumbled inside the 10. Our defense held them to three points. Our defense keeps finding ways to bail us out. Our defense is playing well enough for us to win. We just have to find ways to do things on the other end to complement our defense and favor their hard work.”
The loss overshadowed a pair of career nights from two Patriots and another strong effort by a mainstay defensive player.
Senior Carson Taylor was the man “of all trades” Friday. Taylor opened the game with a 17-yard halfback-option pass completion. In the second quarter, Taylor took a pass from quarterback Chase Wilson and raced along the East sidelines for a 71-yard score---part of a night in which he caught four passes for a team-high 99 yards. Taylor also finished with a team high 37 yards rushing on six carries, giving the senior a combined 153 yards of offense. On the opposite side of the ball, Taylor recorded nine solo tackles and a 17-yard interception return.
Defensively, senior Aaron Borth was credited with 15 solo tackles and three assisted tackles. Borth also had a tackle for three yards loss. Teammate Steven Whitney recorded eight solo tackles, an assisted tackle and a tackle for loss yards---all coming a week later be in on 19 total tackles against Franklin-Simpson.
After a first quarter defensive struggle, the two teams showed offensive signs of life in the second frame. East opened the scoring as quarterback Nolan Ford scored on a one-yard run at the 6:10 mark. Ford’s score capped an eight-play, 49 yard drive by the hosts. East added the point after to take a 7-0 lead.
AC-S answered quickly. On their third play on the next possession, Chase Wilson connected with Taylor for the 71-yard score. The PAT tied the game with 5:09 left in the first half.
Looking like the team from early in the season, the Patriots added a second score. Starting at their 35-yard line, Wilson completed a 14-yard pass to Taylor to move the ball to the East 40 yard line. Seconds later, Wilson tossed a 29-yard pass to tight end Sheldon Peay. Following a holding call, Wilson scampered for 11 yards to move the ball to the Raiders’ 10 yard line. After a sack moved the ball back to the 25-yard line, Wilson connected with junior wide out Cayden Ross for the score. Ross’s tip-toe catch at the back of the end zone gave AC-S a 13-7 lead with 42.9 seconds left in the first half.
Warren East countered on their third possession of the second half. Starting at their own 39, East traveled 69 yards in seven plays. Ford capped the drive with a 31-yard pass to Caleb huskey for the score---a play that Hood noted was just an outstanding play.
“That was a jump ball touchdown with a very good football player making a catch over a very good football player,” Hood said.
East took the lead on a made extra point at the 1:06 point of the third period. However, the next series went a long way in determining the outcome.
A holding penalty on the Patriots on the following kickoff backed AC-S to their own 10 yard line. Moments later, a fumble in the Patriot backfield was pounced on by the raiders at the AC-S seven yard line with 54.5 seconds left in the third quarter. The Patriot defense kept the raiders from scoring a touchdown but could not prevent Eddie Cano from booting a 32-yard field goal to lift East to a 17-13 cushion.
The Patriots could not answer in the fourth quarter. Wilson would throw his third interception of the game on the next AC-S possession. AC-S’s defense held following the pick, stopping East on downs near the AC-S 30-yard line.
A holding penalty on the Patriots’ next series stalled the AC-S offense. Again, the defense attempted to bail out the offense but a fourth Wilson interception with 3:38 left in the game crushed the Patriots hopes of a comeback. AC-S would get one more chance but again, Wilson’s 24 pass of the game was picked off, ending AC-S’s night at the 33.5 mark of the fourth.
Wilson still finished the night 10-24 for 182 yards---numbers that moved the senior past the 2,000 yards passing mark for the season and over 5,000 yards for his career. In addition to Taylor’s strong night catching the ball, Ross finished with 52 yards on three receptions.
The lost canned AC-S’s chances of a home playoff game to open the playoffs on November 3. The defeat, coupled with a Logan County win last week over Madisonville-North Hopkins, leaves AC-S looking at a road trip to Madisonville-North Hopkins on November 3. However, that scenario is contingent on the Patriots getting past winless Warren Central (0-8, 0-2) Friday night in Bowling Green.
“Warren Central plays really hard,” Hood noted. “Their defense is not that bad. They play physical and have good athletes. Offensively, they have struggled but they have a running back/receiver/quarterback that is as good as anybody around here is. They will be looking for their first W of the year and their first W in two years. Their opportunities to do that are getting smaller so I’m sure they will play their best game of the year. We will have to come out and find some life, find some swag and get back to doing what we are accustomed to doing. We have to find ourselves again.”
AC-S and Central will kick off at 7 p.m. Friday.