It was the classic case of moving from the penthouse to the outhouse for the Harrison County Thorobreds this past Friday night.
Two weeks ago, after a slow start, the Breds enjoyed a big second quarter and romped past the Bourbon County Colonels, 49-14. All but the first two minutes of the second half was played with a running clock after Harrison County extended its initial lead to 45 points.
One week later, the tables were turned on the Thorobreds. On Friday night, the Thorobreds were victimized by a pair of big plays by Lexington Catholic on third-and-long situations in the first quarter and trailed 14-0.
After a big 80-yard TD strike from quarterback Van Isaac to wide receiver Malcolm Thomas narrowed the gap to 14-7, the Breds suffered one of the biggest overall collapses in school history over a stretch of six minutes.
When the smoke cleared in the second quarter, Lexington Catholic had racked up 37 more points and led by the whopping score of 54-7 at halftime. The Knights added a third quarter score for the final margin of 61-7 as the entire second half was played with a running clock.
“We fell apart in every phase of the game during that stretch,” said head Coach Aaron Stepp. “Defensively, offensively and special teams were equally as inept during the second quarter.”
In spite of the lop-sided final margin, Stepp saw a silver lining within the dark clouds of defeat.
“Really, in the first quarter, we were the most physical of the two teams. We were physically beating up on Lexington Catholic, to the point that their quarterback wanted out of the game.”
After Harrison County went three and out on its first possession of the game, LexCath took over on its own 45 yard line. Three times during that possession, the Knights converted on third-and-long situations, the last time scoring a TD on a third and 12 from the Harrison County 30 yard line.
After another three and out by the Breds, LexCath took over on the Harrison County 40 yard line after a Bobby Feeback punt. After two plays lost 10 yards back to the 50 yard line, the Knights struck again. This time QB Nic Ward hit receiver Will Letton in stride deep down the right side for the TD.
Poor kick coverage by the Breds after the Thomas TD gave the Knights possession on the Harrison County 31 yard line. The Harrison County defense continued its solid play on this possession, refused to allow the big play, and forced LexCath to settle for a 29-yard field goal by Lane Pumphrey.
With 9:17 to play in the second quarter, a LexCath punt pinned the Breds on their own one yard line. After a short pass to Aaron Newby seemingly gave the Breds some breathing room out to the four yard line, running back Josh Moss was trapped in the end zone for a safety and a 19-7 lead.
“That play was designed to be run inside, but Josh decided to bounce it to the outside and just got caught,” explained Stepp.
On the Feeback punt right after the safety, Ryan Least returned the kick 61 yards for another TD and a 26-7 lead.
On the Breds second play on their next possession, a Newby fumble was recovered by LexCath and two plays later Ward hit Letton for another TD pass, this time from 25 yards out.
Two possessions later, Benton Hupman returned an Isaac interception 20 yards for another score and a 40-7 lead.
“It really was an amazing sequence of events that led to that scoring flurry and there wasn’t much we could do to stop it at that time,” said Stepp. “The bottom line is we are much better than we showed and will learn from that experience. We will not make those same mistakes again. If we play them again in the playoffs, I think we will play a much better game against them.”
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According to Harrison County statistical guru Jim Swinford, who also doubles as WCYN’s football analyst, the 61 points given up by the Breds on Friday is the third most points given up by the Breds in school history.
In 1974, the Breds were beaten by Somerset, 62-14, and in the 1999 playoffs Highlands beat the Breds 62-26.
The 54-point margin of defeat is the worst in Harrison County history. The previous record was a pair of 49 point losses, to Danville (49-0) in 1977 and to Highlands (49-0) in the playoffs in 1993.
The 37 points allowed by the Breds in the second quarter eclipses the old mark of most points allowed in one quarter. In 1972, the Breds allowed 33 points to Boone County in the fourth quarter.
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In spite of one of his poorer passing efforts statistically, Van Isaac moved into second place all-time among Harrison County passers in terms of passing yards. He completed just 10 of 29 attempts and was intercepted three times on Friday night, but his 170 passing yards moved him past John Hampton and into second place on the all-time list. Isaac has now passed for 3,290 yards in his career. Bill Faulkner is the Breds all-time passing leader with 6,009 yards.
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Harrison County returns to the friendly confines of Ingles Stadium tomorrow night as they entertain Pendleton County in a key district game. The Breds are 1-0 in district play and a win tomorrow night over the Wildcats will assure the Breds of at least one home playoff game in the post-season this year.
The Wildcats are 0-5 this year, losing to Grant County, Newport, Henry County, Franklin County and Ludlow. They were defeated by Franklin County two weeks ago in their first district contest, 40-14. Kickoff tomorrow night will be at 7:30 p.m.