Unfriendly skies

Scott County’s Tasian Stakelin (29) and Sam Daniel defend a pass during the second half of Friday night’s football game at Lafayette, a 28-19 win for the Cardinals. The throw was incomplete.

Scott County’s football schedule has followed a certain cadence over the past five seasons.

Week one is usually a rout. Tates Creek, North Bullitt and now Great Crossing have been no match for the Cardinals.

Thanks to Pulaski County in 2015 and ‘16 and Lafayette the past three Augusts, week two has delivered a well-timed     challenge.

Its own early-season hiccups, combined with an opponent capable of punching back, put Scott County in the position of having to play a full game and test its depth in meaningful  situations.

Leaning heavily on a defense lacking much experience under the Friday night lights, SC passed with flying colors by outlasting Lafayette, 28-19, at Ishmael Stadium.

“Lafayette-Scott County, it seems about ever year it’s hyped up. Some years it’s lived up to the hype, and a few years it’s not. I think this year it kind of did because of his we played and the things we did on offense,” SC quarterback Cade McKee said. “Defense played unbelievable, big shout out to them. They kept us in the game. They’re the big reason we’re out 2-0. It’s a dogfight, but I’m happy to have it early so we can take it forward.”

Scott County stayed perfect through two games for the seventh consecutive season with a gritty effort on a night when the other key numbers were almost identical.

The Cards held the narrowest possible advantage in total yards (338 to 337). Fourteen of the night’s 22 penalty flags were against SC to the tune of 113 yards, often putting its run-first offense in undesirable down-and-distance situations.

“We got behind the chains a lot, and we know we’re not built for that,” SC coach Jim McKee said.”We got behind the chains jumping offside. Right there, trying to make it first-and-five, we made it first-and-15. Then I got a sideline penalty. But we stepped up and made the plays we needed to make.

Scott County leaned heavily on fullback Philip Garner (32 carries, 168 yards, two touchdowns) to dig out of those holes. Garner’s first score gave the Cards a 13-0 first-quarter lead that certainly alleviated the stress.

Sam Daniel’s team-high 10 tackles, numerous pass break-ups and a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown inspired the defense, which had 18 different players make a tackle.

Sacks by Alex Patton and Colton Combs, and the ever-presence of Rylan Reed at linebacker, also turned the tide on Lafayette, which came up empty in the red zone on its final three drives.

“We have a really good defensive coordinator. Coach Monty (McIntyre) knows exactly what he’s doing,” Daniel said. “Hats off to everyone for their effort. It will help us in the end, be good for us.” 

GC gains in loss

Baby steps. One brick a time.

Use whatever imagery you like, but Great Crossing football took another step forward Friday night, even if the scoreboard didn’t tell the tale in a 42-0 home loss to North Bullitt.

“Not the results we wanted last night, (but) effort is there!” defensive line coach Russell Floyd wrote Saturday on Twitter. “Now time to improve.”

After surrendering a touchdown to Scott County’s first-team offense on all nine series in a 72-7 loss last week, GC staved off the running clock until the waning seconds of the third quarter against the Eagles.

A number of penalties and three-and-out sequences for GC’s offense put North Bullitt in prime scoring position on four straight drives to start the game. Defense toughened, however, and produced a pair of turnovers on downs to keep it a 26-0 margin at the half. 

Trent Allen’s back-to-back tackles were instrumental in another stand inside the 5.

The offense, which gained most of its yardage against SC on a trick play, gained a little more footing, with Kalib Perry completing throws to Tyris Cobbins and Zackarrey Kelley to highlight the Warhawks’ best drive. 

What’s next

Scott County should see another stern test from a Class 6A opponent this week at DuPont Manual makes the trip from Louisville for a battle of 2-0 teams.

Manual scored twice in the fourth quarter to stave off city rival Fern Creek, 21-18, on Friday. Ramont Townsend’s 2-yard run, a defensive stop, and a 37-yard strike from Zach Recktenwald to Delquan Dorsey provided the wild comeback.

Great Crossing makes its initial road trip, and it’s a relatively short one to Cynthiana for a date with Harrison County (1-1). Both the 4A Thorobreds’ games have been decided by six points or fewer, including Friday’s 27-21 victory over Mason County.

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

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