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Taylor County took advantage of an early turnover to take a 6-0 advantage. But, it was all Russell County after that as the Lakers posted a 54-14 romp in the last game of the fourth annual Forcht Bank Bowl at Campbellsville University on Saturday night.
“They sure have some weapons,” admitted Taylor County head coach Eric Graves. “I didn’t see that same team when they scrimmaged Marion County (a week earlier).”
The Cardinals had led 6-0 when Connor Fair hit Russell County receiver No. 31, forcing a fumble which was recovered by TCHS’ Cooper Hall.
After a Dylan Bright seven-yard run and a 14-yard pick-up by TCHS quarterback Hunter Christie, Brandon Williams tallied from a yard out.
Russell County, which won its first 11 games a season ago before being eliminated by Boyle County in the Class 4-A playoffs, needed less than two minutes to take the lead for good.
Laker QB Blake Ellis, the last of a long line of stand-out athletes from the family, scored on a two-yard keeper and Mason Short’s point-after kick made it 7-6.
TCHS fumbled the ensuing kick-off and seven seconds later Russell County used a 45-yard pass play from back-up quarterback Austin Smiddy to Lee Cox to make it 14-6.
The Lakers added two more scores in the first period with Ellis and running back Evan Fletcher each rushing for over 100 yards in the contest.
The Cardinals answered in the second frame when as Jarrett Benningfield’s 21-yard run set up a Williams’ tally from three yards out.
Hunter Christie’s keeper on the conversion cut the TCHS deficit to 28-14.
However, the Lakers added another score before the half, two more in third quarter and another TD in the fourth to start the continuous, running clock with 6:47 left in the tilt.
“We’ve got to improve a lot,” Graves admitted. “And, how much we do will determine what kind of season we have.”
The Cardinals visit Casey County tomorrow before being the host team in next Friday’s cross-town battle with Campbellsville at Campbellsville University.
Lakers 54, Cardinals 14
Forcht Bank Bowl at Campbellsville University
Russell Co. 28 7 12 7 — 54
Taylor Co. 6 8 0 0 — 14
TCHS — Brandon Williams, 1, run (kick blocked) RCHS — Blake Ellis, 2, run (Mason Short kick) RCHS — Lee Cox, 45, pass from Austin Smiddy (Short kick) RCHS — Short, 50, interception return (Short kick) RCHS — Elllis, 1, run (Short kick) TCHS — Williams, 3, run (Hunter Christie run) RCHS — Evan Fletcher, 25, run (Short kick) RCHS — Ellis, 8, run (kick failed) RCHS — Fletcher, 30, fumble return (kick failed) RCHS — Wesley Fletcher, 1, run (Short kick)
First downs 13 8
Rushes-yards 36-288 37-86
Passing 5-9-1 2-9-1
Passing yards 97 31
Total yards 385 117
Penalties-yards 5-63 628
Punts-avg 0-0 7-34
Fumbles lost 3 3
TCHS individual statistics
Rushing — Dylan Bright 11-50, Jarrett Benningfield 3-23, Colton Harris 8-23, Brandon Williams 5-11, Hunter Christie 8-(-7), team 2-(-14). Passing — Christie 2-9-1 for 31. Receiving — Benningfield 1-16, Logan Perry 1-15. Fumble recoveries — Cooper Hall, Jack Miller, Chase Turner. Interception — Harris.