Big pick-me-up

Scott County senior lineman Austin Taylor lifts sophomore all-purpose back Jeremy Hamilton off the ground after one of Hamilton’s two touchdowns Friday night.  Peyton Saunders, left, also provided big blocks in the Cardinals’ 48-35 win.

Scott County football coach Jim McKee often tells his Cardinals that practice is supposed to make the game easier on Friday nights.

Rarely was that truer than last week, when SC, admittedly hampered by the heat in its previous win over Lafayette, didn’t spare any sweat equity while preparing for this past Friday’s home showdown against DuPont Manual.

“We went 110 times harder in practice, I’ll tell you that,” senior linebacker Rylan Reed said. “Every day, hitting, constantly ripping off blocks, so it was better for this week.”

There was nothing easy about it, of course, but the No. 3 team in Class 5A outlasted Class 6A’s No. 5 for a 48-35 victory to stay undefeated.

SC (3-0) simply made a few more big plays than Manual (2-1). 

Philip Garner, Bronson Brown and Jeremy Hamilton’s persistent success on the ground allowed Cade McKee to capitalize on two touchdown throws to Micah McClave and Hamilton, the latter a wide-open, 74-yarder in the second half.

The defense, led at the point of attack by Reed and Sam Daniel, and buoyed by Brown’s 55-yard interception return for a touchdown, had more left in tank than the Crimsons’ offense at night’s end.

“We went really hard in practice, everybody hyping everybody up, just pushing as hard as we can,” Brown said. “They’re more of a running team. They kept running until they got first downs. They did pretty good, just like us.”

Scott County and Manual combined for 891 yards of total offense and converted 14 of their 19 total third downs. Each punted only once.

Both unbeaten teams came off a severe test a week earlier, and the Cards undeniably grew from theirs.

“The facts are always the facts in life. Two things happened in the first game of the year. It was a crazy cool, and our starters played so few plays,” Jim McKee said. “But I thought this was a really good win.” 

Reed’s hand not broken

Reed, SC’s leading tackler on the season, said he played most of Friday’s game with the understanding that his left hand might be broken after a Manual running back inadvertently stepped on it while the linebacker was making a tackle.

Although Reed was able to finish with nine tackles thanks to a heavy tape job and a sock-like cast protecting the injury, there were no assurances that he would be in the lineup again for a while if x-rays showed a fracture.

The good news came Monday in a social media post from Reed’s father, Todd. Reed’s injury is a deep contusion. With a regimen of rest and ice, he should be able to play Friday at Bryan Station. 

Necessary or not?

Great Crossing fans left Harrison County a bit miffed Friday  night by their perception that the Thorobreds might have run up the score late in the game.

After rushing a punt (with the game already in a running clock situation), Harrison County scored both a touchdown and a two-point conversion with under two seconds left to punctuate a 49-0 victory.

There were some accusations on opening night when SC tacked on a field goal at the finish of a 72-7 verdict, but the Cards otherwise used conservative play calling with their second and third strings for all but one second-half series in that one.

Friday’s finish soured what was another step forward for the Warhawks. A 20-0 disparity was the closest halftime score yet.  

On the docket

Scott County (3-0) travels to Bryan Station (1-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday for what is no longer a district match-up but still a time-honored rivalry game for the Cards. SC has rolled to five conscutive wins in the series since the Defenders’ 2014 upset. Bryan Station will be the third consecutive 6A opponent for Scott County, which is now in 5A.

Great Crossing (0-3) stays in 5A to host Woodford County (2-1) at Birds Nest Stadium. The Yellow Jackets already have matched last season’s win total by beating Barren and Bourbon counties in consecutive weeks.

Kal Oakes can be reached via email at sports@news-graphic.com.

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