Casey County earns first win of year in convincing fashion
Published 11:36 pm Friday, September 13, 2019
One team entered Friday night’s matchup between Casey County and Russell with no wins and one entered with no losses. After the final horn sounded, that was no longer true as the Casey County Rebels earned their first win of the season 34-19.
“It does feel great. The kids — they really deserve it. They’ve given great effort all year long and in practices,” Casey coach Steve Stonebreaker said. “It’s tough to go a stretch without a win but this team has great attitude and give great effort. I enjoy going to practice with them every day. So the coaching staff continues to work hard for them and they continue to work hard for us.
“We’ve played a really tough early season schedule. Two of our first three games were against state semi finalists last year. That got us ready to beat an undefeated team tonight.”
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The first half was all Rebels.
Elijah Pitman took a short opening kick off for a great return to set up CCHS in scoring position immediately and it didn’t take long for Reese Brown to cross the goal line for a 4-yard run
The Rebels defense got a four-and-out on the ensuing drive to give the ball back to the offense. The first play of the drive was a deep strike via a trick play where Micah Pendleton took a fake reverse and connected with Gunner Floyd to put the ball on the goal line. Cody Publow scored via the run on the next play.
“That’s something we installed Monday as part of the game plan for this week. It was a jet sweep pass. Micah Pendleton is someone who can throw the football a little bit,” Stonebreaker said. “We just wanted to run a stop and go on the edge, and give Micah the opportunity to go down field. We were able to connect on it and get down to the one yard line. It was a big score for us at that point in the game. And trick plays always give you a psychological edge too.”
A Russell fumbled snap on a fourth down gave the ball back to the Rebels and again it took two plays to score. After Brown connected with Pendleton for a 47 yard gain to get the ball to the 16-yard line, Brown got his second rushing TD via a 16-yard scramble that saw him jump over a defender.
“Reese plays hard week in and week out. He does a great job with his effort consistently. It’s his first year as the full time starting quarterback,” Stonebreaker said of the senior. “He’s done a really good job for us as far as being a leader and having the effort at a level that we can win with.
“He’s somebody we really count on because he’s one of our best runners and obviously we want to get the ball in the hands of our receivers. He’s somebody that’s got to make plays for us.”
The Lakers scored their only touchdown in the first half on an interception off of Ethan Willoughby on his first pass on a fourth and 13. C.J. Vonfumetti took the pick 77 yards for the score. But that was the only momentum that Lakers could muster in the first two periods of play thanks in large part to the play of the Casey defensive front.
“The defense got after it. Our guys up front have done a great job for us three weeks in a row,” Stonebreaker said.
Casey immediately answered back with a sustained drive capped off by an eight yard fade completed to Pendleton for a TD to end the half.
The Lakers came out of the locker room at half time hungry, and applied the midgame adjustments expertly to come rushing back.
Dillan Bland took a sweep right and bolted 31 yards to the end zone on the opening drive, and after the Casey offense failed to answer, Bland took another run for a 2-yard score to close the gap to within a touchdown.
“They made a little adjustment with their sweep plays in the third quarter for a couple of series,” Stonebreaker said. “We made an adjustment with our defensive ends and they had to go away from that. You have to give our ends credit for being able to execute on the fly and make those adjustments on the fly.”
But the Rebels would put the game away when Reese Brown sneaked in from the goal line for his third rushing TD — and fourth total — on the game.
After that, it was all about stopping the Lakers and running the clock out, which Casey did effectively.
The win is the first this season for Stonebreaker’s team, but continues a winning streak against Russell County that is now at six years. The Rebels travel to McCreary Central next week for a 7:30 p.m. kick off.