Need a lift?

Scott County offensive lineman Merrick Bowen hoists Taylor Luttrull in the air after Luttrull's touchdown catch in the first quarter Thursday night. The Cardinals cruised to a 53-6 win over the Montgomery County Indians.

If you’re going to reschedule a game for a school night, might as well put it to bed early.

Scott County punched the running clock less than a minute into the second quarter Thursday night, using consecutive monster special teams plays from Jeremy Hamilton as the catalyst to an insurmountable lead and a 53-6 rout of Montgomery County on senior night at Birds Nest Stadium.

It's been an exciting night for me,” Hamilton said. “I'm just proud to play with my fellow seniors. Playing with my friends that I've grown up with, it's meant a lot to me, and I'm happy to have the team that I have.”

Hamilton returned a punt 72 yards for a touchdown. He then recovered Jacob Bange’s ensuing surprise onside kick to set up the first of three Andrew Hickey touchdown passes on the evening, a 46-yard bomb to Taylor Luttrull.

Hickey also completed the ensuing two-point conversion pass to Hamilton. Eleven seconds elapsed between the two scores, and it was 22-0 with 8:02 still remaining in the first quarter.

Coach (Jim) McKee's been coaching me to catch punts and return them,” Hamilton said. “All week we've been planning how we're going to block it and set up our wall. So it's pretty much come down if I get the ball, I'm going to score no matter what.”

Montago Jones punctuated the opening chapter with his second touchdown run, a 6-yarder, and Thomas Feickert hauled in an 18-yard TD strike from Hickey less than a minute into the second quarter.

Bange’s point-after sent the game to mercy time for the duration, although Scott County (5-3 overall, 3-1 district) was far from finished.

“I'm mainly happy for the kids, because they get to feel good about themselves tonight,” SC coach Jim McKee. “We obviously didn't play early in the season like we hoped we would play, but we believe in what we do. We don't let a little bit of talk here or there bother our core philosophies.”

Hickey completed the hat trick with a 15-yard TD toss to Logan Jones. And in the final seconds of the half, the Cardinals’ served up another special teams salvo with a 41-yard Bange field goal that would have been good from more than 50.

That made it 46-0, and after the lone failed series of the night – stopped short only by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, ending in a missed 40-yard field goal try – SC struck again on Jacob Fryman’s 1-yard plunge with 4:48 left.

The only remaining drama was whether or not Scott County’s defense would seal its third shutout of the season.

As was the case last October in a 69-6 final, Montgomery County (4-4, 1-2) spoiled it with all zeroes on the clock, this time thanks to a 5-yard throw from Alex Hatton to Devin Taul.

Hickey, a freshman, was 7-for-9 for 103 yards and the three scores, connecting with five different receivers.

And I'm the worst coach in America for a quarterback, because I was on him for missing the first pass of the game,” McKee said. “He's not scared at all. He got the stuffing knocked out of him in games this year by really good teams. He still is anxious, and that's what happened on that first pass, and he still gets a little confused on who to read when. But he's light years ahead of where he was, and he's got light years to go.”

Feickert (65 yards), Montago Jones (47), Luke Colvin (35) and Hamilton (34) headlined a rushing attack by committee.

Jones, Colvin and Hamilton were among 18 seniors dressed for the occasion.

I feel like I blinked and now I'm here,” Colvin said. “Especially now that Jaxon (Saylor) gets to come back and play on offense a little bit. They used to call us the Four Horsemen in eighth grade.”

SC swarmed to the ball and held MoCo to minus-1 net rushing yards in the first half. The Indians needed the late flurry to notch 148 yards of total offense.

Montgomery County's night started ominously when the Indians attempted their own onside kick, and Paul Garner recovered easily. Montago Jones capped SC's short opening drive with a 5-yard TD surge.

We played well in all three phases of the game, no doubt,” McKee said. “I'm not sure the program as a whole has ever been stronger. We started seven underclassmen on both sides, and our seniors are playing well, and we're really getting better."

Hatton completed 14 of 33 for 101 yards to lead the Indians, who lost 51-12 to Great Crossing on the same field six nights ago.

Seniors Isaac Krebs (six tackles, including two for loss) and Saylor (five stops) highlighted the Cardinals’ defense.

We just started playing with an attitude,” Colvin said. “Once that we found out that we could compete with some of the best offenses in the state, we got some swagger to us. If we just keep that up and intensify it, it's only up from there. I can't wait to go to Louisville. I can't wait to go to Lexington after that. I'm fired up.”

Scott County solidified the No. 2 seed in the district playoffs – setting up an almost certain rematch Nov. 5 against Great Crossing – and will tune up with trips to Ballard and Lexington Catholic the next two weeks.

McKee noted that the Cards' record and the cadence of its season to date is identical to 2018, when SC stormed to a spot in the Class 6A title game.

This football team tonight would be five, six touchdowns better than the team on opening night,” he said. “We've had some teams where the growth potential wasn't that good. This team still has a lot of room for growth. Now, our schedule's tough. Ballard is very good with several Division I offered kids.”

The game was moved up a night due to forecasts of severe weather on Friday evening. SC also was scheduled to play last Thursday against Grant County, which forfeited due to COVID-19 protocols.

We don't like skipping out on games, because we like to grow from what we've done,” Hamilton said. “But it helped us to have more time to practice to get everything that we need sharpened up.”

“I appreciate our principal and our district leadership getting the game changed to tonight,” McKee added. “I think there are going to be a whole lot of folks (Friday) at 7:30 that are like, whoa. We had a really good crowd tonight I thought. We pulled it off in 24 hours.” 

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