FIVE IN A ROW: Lincoln survives thriller at LaRue

Published 1:08 pm Thursday, October 4, 2018

HODGENVILLE — The first-ever meeting between Lincoln County and LaRue County turned out to be a thriller.

Friday night on the Hawks’ home field, the two teams fought down to the wire before the visiting Patriots claimed the 14-13 victory.

“It’s always good to get the win, but we didn’t do the things …. we didn’t deserve to win that football game,” Lincoln coach Spencer Crutchfield said. “Those guys, they outplayed us all night. We just luckily had a couple breaks that went our way.”

Email newsletter signup

Lincoln, which has now won five straight games, never led Friday until just 97 seconds remained in the game. Darius Napier, who rushed for 159 yards on 12 carries, earned most of those yards on the first play of the Patriots’ next to last possession of the night, cutting down the left sideline and scooting 94 yards to the end zone to put Lincoln up 13-7. The Loren Melton point after kick made it 14-7.

But there was no resting on the lead.

LaRue’s backup quarterback Daillis Cox captained a short TD drive. After an incomplete pass, Cox ran for first-down runs of 10 and 19 yards then capped off the 55-yard drive with a 26-yard touchdown pass to Hayden Waddle. A victory celebration after the score resulted in a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct call against the Hawks.

Crutchfield questioned game officials after the ball was set up at the original spot for the point-after try. After much debate, the penalty was marked off and LaRue went for the win with a two-point attempt from the 18-yard line. But Lincoln’s pass pressure caused Cox to fumble the ball and the attempt failed.

“We stepped up when we had to and that’s the key,” Crutchfield said. “I asked those guys, ‘What are you made of?’ And they stepped up and did what they had to do.”

The Patriots would have to withstand one last challenge by the Hawks, though, before time expired.

With just 55 seconds to play, LaRue recovered the onsides kick and was in excellent field position at the Lincoln 31. A 15-yard run by quarterback Connor Baker got the Hawks down to the Patriot 16. After a fumble, a spiked ball and an incomplete pass, LaRue faced 4th-and-15 at the 20. Cox stepped back for a pass and Waddle pulled in the ball, however, he was just out of bounds on the catch and Lincoln took over on downs.

Now, the celebration was on. The Lincoln fans started to spill out of the stands headed for the field as Patriot quarterback Bryson Yaden took a knee to end the game.

“I’m proud of them,” Crutchfield said of the Patriots. I’m never going to be mad at them for a win, but I want them to understand we have a lot of room for improvement.”

It looked like Lincoln (5-1) would be the team taking the early lead after LaRue (4-3) went 3-and-out on the opening possession. Napier fielded the punt around the 15-yard line and returned it 85 yards for a score. Unfortunately, a block in the back penalty against the Patriots negated the run.

“We block a kid in the back, and we did,” said Crutchfield. “We have to clean things up. I told these guys at the end, I said, ‘You can’t have that against great teams.’ You’ll shoot yourselves in the foot and beat yourselves. I felt like we tried to beat ourselves tonight. We had way too many penalties. It was ugly football, but we’ll definitely take the win.”

The penalty was not the first for Lincoln and would not be its last as the Patriots were flagged 12 times in the game for 95 yards.

“You can blame it on penalties. People are going to say that, but we overcome that if we clean things up,” Crutchfield said. “We’ve got to do things better. We’ve got to do things the right way.”

Russell Young, who had 49 yards and a touchdown on eight carries for LaRue, capped off his team’s second drive with a 5-yard scoring run for a 7-0 Hawk lead with 4:20 left in the first quarter. Silas Taylor booted the point after kick.

The score remained unchanged until the 3:12 mark of the third quarter when Yaden connected with Levi Daugherty for a 19-yard touchdown pass. Melton’s point after kick deadlocked the game at 7-all.

The tie held until the final 97 seconds when Napier broke on his long TD run and Melton added the game-deciding extra point kick.

The Patriots kick off district play this Friday night as they travel to Pulaski County. With district games with Southwestern and South Laurel to follow, Crutchfield says it is crucial for the Patriots to “clean up” play.

“We definitely have to clean a lot of things up because, if we don’t, the teams we’re going against now – that scoreboards going to be flopped in a big way,” he said. “So, we have to clean a lot of things up and we have a lot of work to do come Monday.”

Lincoln forced three LaRue fumbles and got possession on two. Joron Beasley and Hunter Combs each had a fumble recovery.

Defensively, Combs led the Patriots with 12 tackles, eight solos and four assists. Napier and Nick Harris each had eight tackles, with Napier getting five solos and Harris, four. Dylan Burchfield and Darren Griffin finished with seven tackles each. Burchfield had four solo tackles and Griffin had three. Sawyer Carrier had two tackles for losses and Joron Beasley had one.

at LaRue Co.
Lincoln 0 0 7 7 – 14
LaRue 7 0 0 6 – 13

1st Qtr
LaRue: 4:20 – Russell Young 5-yard run (Silas Taylor kick).

3rd Qtr
Lincoln: 3:12 – Levi Daugherty 19-yard pass from Bryson Yaden (Loren Melton kick).

4th Qtr
Lincoln: 1:37 – Darius Napier 94-yard run (Melton kick).
LaRue: :55 – Hayden Waddle 26-yard pass from Daillis Cox (2-pt. Conversion failed).

Game Stats
LC LaRue
Rushing 20-163 49-263
Passing 4-12-0 2-10-1
Yards 51 20
Total Off./Yds. 32-214 59-283
First Downs 4 16
Fumbles/Lost 1/0 3/2
Penatlies 12/95 5/50

Individual Stats
Darius Napier: 12 carries, 159 yards, 1TD.
Dylan Burchfield: 6 carries, 6 yards.
Bryson Yaden: 2 carries, (-2) yards.

Jerimiah Belton: 14 carries, 100 yards.
Anthony Adkins: 19 carries, 86 yards.
Russell Young: 8 carries, 49 yards, TD.
Daillis Cox: 2 carries, 29 yards.
Connor Baker: 5 carries, 8 yards.
Team: 1 carry, (-9) yards.

Bryson Yaden – 4-12-0, 51 yards, TD.
Darius Napier – 2-30 yards; Levi Daugherty – 1-19, TD; Sawyer Carrier – 1-2.

Connor Baker – 1-7-1, (-6) yards; Daillis Cox – 1-3-0, 26 yards, TD.
Hayden Waddle – 2-20 yards, TD.