In the strangest of football seasons that saw both teams lose two weeks to quarantine, Scott County and Great Crossing freshman teams still found a way to meet twice and split the city's ninth-grade bragging rights.
SC evened a six-week-old score with GC, churning out two early scoring drives and hanging on for a 14-6 victory in the “Freshman Super Bowl” Saturday morning at Birds’ Nest Stadium.
Jacob Fryman notched the scoring runs of six and five yards for the Cardinals. The fullback, used sparingly in a 20-0 loss to the Warhawks on Sept. 28, carried 30 times for 205 yards in the payback win.
“Hopefully we can play this every year,” said SC varsity coach Jim McKee, who took the ninth-grade reins this week and led the Cards to victory. “The first game gives them something to work for all summer, and the second game gives them a reason to keep working.”
Fryman was named Chick-fil-A offensive player of the game for SC, while Dylan Scolf, who logged a sack and a fumble recovery, earned Bluegrass Orthopaedics defensive player of the game laurels.
Great Crossing, which hoped to back up what was the Warhawks’ first football win over the Cardinals at any level, fought back in the second half on the legs of fullback Kasen Colbert and quarterback Vince “Tre” Dawson.
Colbert followed Fryman over the century mark with a 47-yard scamper down the sideline to start the second half. He wound up with 137 yards on a dozen carries and was also the Warhawks' leading tackler.
Dawson extended the drive with a 21-yard QB draw and finished it with a sneak.
“This game is going to be special as it continues to grow,” GC varsity coach Ricky Bowling said. “It’s going to be a big source of pride for both programs.”
Ellis Huguely blocked the extra point to keep it an eight-point game with 6:43 remaining in the third quarter.
GC toppled Fryman a yard shy of the marker for a key turnover on downs late in that period, but Scolf’s sack of Dawson returned the favor with 7:27 left in the fourth.
The Warhawks had one final shot for the tie when Elijah Fryman scooted 25 yards, piggybacked by a facemask penalty at the end of the run that put the ball on the SC 30,
Victor Zacarias’ sack on the next play was a game-changer. SC held with the help of an intentional grounding call and another incomplete pass on fourth down.
Luke Valencia picked up a first down that allowed the Cards to seal the deal in victory formation.
It was Fryman’s work up the middle that freed up those occasional east-west gains. The fullback accounted for all but 41 of Scott County's total yards.
“I don’t think they were expecting that,” McKee said of the game plan, which closely resembled SC’s traditional varsity Wing-T sets.
A.J. Wands joined Scolf with a first-half fumble recovery for the Cards.
Rylan Dykes, Jack Herald and Elijah Fryman made pivotal stops after SC drove inside the 5-yard line and threatened to make it 21-0 early in the second quarter. Fryman was selected as Clark’s Pump-N-Shop defensive player of the game.
“We took some penalties there where we should have put the game away,” McKee said.
McKee filled in for Scott County freshman coach Aaron Hall, who was still isolated from the team after its collective two-week break due to COVID-19 officially ended Thursday.
“I would like to thank all the parents for such great support throughout the season,” Hall said. “To say this season has been a challenge would be an understatement. Our crowd has been bigger than (that of) every team we played this year. I love this team, and I wish I could have been there (Saturday). Shout out to the young men who showed up every day to get better.”
Colbert, whose longest run was a 56-yarder late in the first half, scored Oser Paint and Flooring offensive MVP honors for GC.
Huguely saved the touchdown at the end of that run, and Wands recovered an errant option pitch on the next play to keep the Warhawks scoreless at intermission.
“This team has made so many positive strides for this program, and I was honored to be along the ride,” GC freshman coach Nick Shoffner said. “We faced a lot of adversity this season, These boys never backed down.”
The Warhawks had trouble climbing Jacob's ladder in the first half.
Jacob Fryman gained 134 of his Cardinal yards before the break. Jacob Blair and Jacob Romero each joined Scolf with an early tackle for loss to lead SC, which out-gained GC 107 yards to three in the opening quarter.
Coincidentally, GC's freshmen were coming off a two-week shutdown when they defeated SC the first time around. Colbert scored twice in that victory.
The loss ended the Warhawks' frosh campaign at 3-2.
“We have a lot of work to do this offseason, but this class of top-tier athletes will make a lot of noise across the state in the next three years,” Shoffner said.