Big guy touchdown

It's every lineman's dream: Austin Taylor of Scott County ran for a touchdown after catching a bobbled handoff to a Cardinals' running back in midair Friday night.

LEXINGTON – It was Friday the 13th, and there was a full moon, so why should anybody be surprised that a 6-foot-3, 250-pound right guard’s premonition about scoring a touchdown bizarrely came true?

Austin Taylor’s 7-yard scamper in the final seconds of the first half touched off the ultimate celebration in another Scott County laugher at Bryan Station, 49-7.

“He’s been talking about doing that since middle school,” SC senior quarterback Cade McKee said.

“So he told Cade before the game he wanted to run one in tonight,” classmate and defensive standout Sam Daniel picked up the story. “And what do you know?”

The oddity runs even deeper. Scott County scored similarly in last week’s win over DuPont Manual when sophomore halfback Jeremy Hamilton picked up a botched handoff and ran untouched into the end zone.

This week, coincidentally, it was Hamilton who didn’t fully grasp the transfer from McKee. The ball bounced into the air once, then twice, as he tried to cradle it before it fell into Taylor’s meaty mitts.

“I just turned around and saw the ball right there, and all I did was scooped and scored, straight to the end zone,” Taylor said.

Taylor, whose list of college offers includes Division I Morehead State, hatched the idea from a similar scramble in practice.

“Cade fumbled a snap up to me on a sweep,” Taylor recalled. “I caught it as he fumbled, and we ran it around. It worked pretty well.”

By the time it worked magic at game speed, Scott County (4-0) had already earned a running clock by scoring quickly and repeatedly through conventional means.

Philip Garner sandwiched his 10th and 11th touchdowns of the season around a 66-yard Hamilton scoring scamper in the first quarter. McKee’s 38-yard strike to Hamilton set up Garner’s second plunge from a yard out.

“The kids played with a lot of confidence, and they played fast,” SC coach Jim McKee said. “That’s the biggest difference I saw this week and last week from the Lafayette game (two weeks ago). Guys were ripping and running.

“It starts with you’ve got to have a good scheme, and I don’t care what anybody says, we’ve got a great scheme. We have a great line coach and a great backfield coach. We have a pretty good concept of how to call the plays. We have a senior quarterback who embraces all the little things. We’ve got three good running backs, tight ends that can catch and block, and a good wideout. So we have a lot of good pieces.”

Scott County’s defense continued its streak of putting points on the board in all four games. Bronson Brown, who went the distance after picking off a pass last week, picked up a fumble and raced 37 yards to the end zone for his encore.

The mercy clock kicked in not long after a 15-minute delay for treatment of a Bryan Station who collapsed from heat exhaustion. Temperature at kickoff was 91 degrees.

Garner and Hamilton then ripped through the beleaguered Defenders for long runs to set up an 11-yard score by Brown. McKee’s two-point conversion pass to Mikaleb Coffey took it to the 36-point threshold with 4:39 remaining in the half.

Daniel fell seven yards shy of his second pick-six of the season on the Cards’ next defensive series, but the 59-yard return put Taylor in position to finish the job.

“I ran out of gas,” Daniel said. “Everybody likes touchdowns when they’re on offense, right? That’s the most exciting thing. So we emphasize doing stuff like that, which is fun. But (Taylor’s) was better than any touchdown I’ve seen this season.”

Amodeus Taylor put Bryan Station (1-2) on the board with a 17-yard touchdown in the final minute of the third quarter after a fumble recovery.

The sequence cost SC its first shutout since a playoff win over George Rogers Clark in 2015, but the defense allowed only 132 yards and had four takeaways as the Cards beat the Defenders for the 19th time in their past 20 meetings.

“I just think after the DuPont win, we locked in at practice,” Taylor said. “We gave it our all, and we accomplished it.”

Jackson Albensi closed out the scoring with a 6-yard TD run in the fourth.

Jacob Carretti led the defense with 10 tackles. Gage Potter and Cheney Harris also picked up Station fumbles.

“I think it was our most complete game as a team we’ve played all season,” Daniel said. “We can be really good, and the thing is, we’ve still got a long way to go.”

SC hosts Indianapolis Emmerich Manual next Friday and is two weeks away from the highly anticipated Class 5A showdown with Frederick Douglass.

The Cards are 4-0 for the second consecutive season. They haven’t started a campaign with five straight wins since 2014.

“I thought we really played well. We’ve had two really good weeks of practice,” Jim McKee said. “The Lafayette game, I wouldn’t say it got our attention, because I don’t want to take anything away from Lafayette. They played well, and hard, and tough. But we really embraced the heat this week, and we did a good job. To be honest with you it didn’t even slow us down.”

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