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Taylor County used a "secret" special-called meeting on Thursday night and a strong second half to post a 26-12 district win over Garrard County on Homecoming and Senior Night at Thomas Porter Stadium.
"We blew them off the ball and dominated the game," Cardinals' head coach Rod Turpin told his team in the end zone after Friday night's triumph.
"You just beat the 10th ranked team in Class 3A football," Turpin continued. "Destiny's in your hands which means a No. 2 seed and a home play-off game against the No. 3 team in the other district.
"Tonight, you found out how good you can play."
The Cardinals (4-5 overall and 3-1 vs. district foes) led 7-0 after a Cody Newton two-yard run in the first quarter.
Newton, who lost a fumble on his first carry, rebounded to finish with 232 yards on 37 attempts. He entered the contest with 164 yards on 32 carries, 113 of those yards coming against Campbellsville on Sept. 4.
However, Garrard County (3-5, 2-2) used a pair of big plays to lead 12-7 at the intermission.
On the second play in the second period, Tyler Ray and the Golden Lions executed a fake punt to perfection and 58 yards later trailed only 7-6.
Ray also tallied the second score when he caught a pass from freshman Billy Abney in the left flat and raced 33 yards to pay dirt.
Taylor County had the ball before the half but Turpin convinced offensive coordinator Brandon Gupton to not risk anything in the less than favorable field conditions since the Cardinals would start the second half with the pigskin.
The conservativeness paid off as Taylor County marched 67 yards in 10 plays with Newton carrying five times, fullback Levi Smith thrice and quarterback Lance Turpin twice, including the final six yards into the end zone for a 13-12 Cardinal cushion.
Taylor County was ready for the next Ray fake punt and needed to go only 44 yards, all by Newton, to take a 20-12 advantage on Newton's 33-yard scamper around right end and Tim Giessler's second point-after boot of the night.
The Cardinal defense held Garrard County in check during the second half and used a Newton 34-yard run to set up Smith's three-yard burst with 1:45 left in the contest.
While the Cardinals do control their own play-off position, a loss at Wayne County on Thursday would probably mean a three-way tie for second and Taylor County could fall back to a No. 4 seed under the tie-breaker criteria.
Unbeaten Somerset (9-0) will be the No. 1 seed in Class 3A, District 5 while Taylor County, Garrard County and Wayne County are assured of play-off berths and Casey County and Jackson County are not.
A win by the Cardinals on Thursday at Wayne County means Taylor County would probably host the winner of the Estill Coutny at Powell County tilt. Those teams hook up this Friday.
A loss at Wayne County, means Taylor County would probably travel to Breathitt County, Estill County or Powell County on the first week of the play-offs, Friday, Nov. 6.
Taylor County does have its off week on Friday, Oct. 30.