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Pats shot down by Rockets

MT. VERNON — The Lincoln County High School football team stumbled in its final regular season game Friday night on the road, falling 26-7 to the Rockcastle County Rockets.

The Patriots, who open Class 4A postseason play at Wayne County, dropped their last five games of the regular season to fall to 3-7 overall. The Rockets, who host Estill County in Class 3A action, won six of their last seven games to improve to 7-3 overall.

Lincoln coach Spencer Crutchfield was reduced to vacant stares at times on the sidelines Friday as he was not thrilled with the Patriots’ lackluster play.

“I told them this is probably the most disappointed I’ve been. Not just because we got beat, but because the way things were done and the lack of effort that was given at points,” said Crutchfield. “I’ve always said I’m not ever going to have that complaint. That’s not who I want to coach and that’s not these kids. They always work hard. That’s what’s disappointing. We may have got our butt beat in a game but its not been because of a lack of effort. I think tonight it was a lack of effort.”

Crutchfield wasn’t just pointing fingers at his team, either.

“No, that’s on me. That’s my fault. I’ll take the blame for that,” he said. “As head coach, if I don’t have my team ready to go, then that’s my fault.”

Lincoln, which managed just 145 yards total offense against Rockcastle, sputtered on each of its first seven possessions of the game. The Patriots made it to the Rocket 47 on their first possession before turning the ball over on downs. After going 3-and-out on its next two possessions, Lincoln looked destined to score after Rockcastle fumbled a punt and Nick Harris was there for the cover at the Rocket 18. But that drive would also end on downs. Harris, who completed 9 of 22 pass attempts for 105 yards, was intercepted on the next two possessions before the half. Then, Lincoln’s first drive of the second half ended on downs.

Rockcastle, which finished with 315 offensive yards, put up the game’s first score in the first quarter and added another score in both the second and third quarters to expand its lead to 20-0.

After going 3-and-out on their opening drive, the Rockets hit paydirt on their second drive. After completing two first-down passes to Christopher Mink (26, 13 yards), Noah Parkey, who completed 7 of 9 pass attempts for 137 yards, capped off the 65-yard, nine-play drive with a 14-yard touchdown run. Mitchell Buckner added the point after kick to make it 7-0 with just 1:42 left in the first quarter.

Time was quickly ticking away on the first half when the Rockets scored again. Mink set Rockcastle up with a short field after intercepting a Harris pass and taking it down to the Patriot 29. Seven plays later, with just 1:01 left in the second quarter, Zach Taylor scored from the 3-yard-line to put Rockcastle up 14-0 at the half.

After turning the opening drive of the second half over on downs, Rockcastle’s offense was back on the move after Lincoln returned the favor. The Rockets took over on their own 35 and needed nine plays to reach the goal line. Parkey tallied his second score of the game from 3 yards out to make it 20-0, Rockets, with 1:44 to play in the third quarter.

“You’ve got to give those guys credit,” Crutchfield said of Rockcastle. “They are a solid football team and they made plays when they needed to and we didn’t. We let that kind of roll over and affect us in negative ways.”

Lincoln finally broke onto the scoreboard on the first play of the fourth quarter. The Patriots took over on their own 32 late in the third and were helped along by a 30-yard first-down pass from Harris to Clayton Davis and a first down off a Rockcastle penalty. On the drive’s seventh play, Harris carried the ball in from the 13. The Loren Melton kick made it 20-7 with 11:54 to play.

Lincoln had little opportunity to cut further into the lead, with Rockcastle answering the Harris TD with the game’s longest drive of the night. The drive just covered 56 yards but it took the Rockets 17 snaps to cap the drive. Mink, who led the rockets with 56 yards rushing on 16 carries, scored from the 1 to make it 26-7 with 3:50 to play.

The Patriots’ final possession ended on downs and the Rockets then took over and ran out the clock.

“Tonight we weren’t ready and that’s my fault. I’ll take the blame for that. But things will change,” Crutchfield said. “I told these guys, ‘We’re going to figure out who wants to be here and who wants to do things the right way and we’re going to play those guys.’ Us being not ready is on me and I’ll get that fixed. I can promise you that.”

On the defensive side of the ball, Cody Miracle led the way for Lincoln with 10 tackles, including eight solo tackles. Sean Maddox and Robert Bowman both had nine tackles, with six solos.

at Rockcastle Co.

Lincoln 0 0 6 0 – 26
Rock 7 7 6 0 – 21

Scoring
1st Qtr
Rockcastle: 1:42 – Noah Parkey 14-yard run (Mitchell Buckner kick).

2nd Qtr
Rockcastle: 1:01 – Zach Taylor 3-yard run. (Buckner kick).

3rd Qtr
Rockcastle: 1:44 – Parkey 3-yard run (Kick failed).

4th Qtr
Lincoln: 11:54 – Nick Harris 13-yard run (Loren Melton kick).
Rockcastle: 3:50 – Christopher Mink 1-yard run (Run failed).

Game Stats
LC RC
Rushing 18-40 57-178
Passing 9-23-2 7-9-0
Yards 105 137
Total Off./Yds 41-145 66-315
First Downs 5 17
Fumbles/Lost 1/0 4/1
Penalties 2/20 5/35

Individual Stats
Rushing
Lincoln
Nick Harris: 13 carries, 38 yards, TD.
Zack Hazlett: 1 carry, 4 yards.
Dylan Burchfield: 4 carries, (-2) yards.

Rockcastle
Christopher Mink: 16 carries, 56 yards, TD.
Noah Parkey: 15 carries, 52 yards, TD.
Zach Taylor: 14 carries, 36 yards, 2TDs.
Matthew Chasteen: 10 carries, 25 yards.
Landen Broaddus: 2 carries, 9 yards.

Passing/Receiving
Lincoln
Nick Harris – 9-22-2, 105 yards; Clayton Davis – 0-1-0.
Clayton Davis – 5-73 yards; Justin Bryant – 1-16; Zack Hazlett – 2-11; Rafe Shelton 1-5.

Rockcastle
Noah Parkey – 7-9-0, 137 yards.
Landon Dillingham – 3-78 yards; Christopher Mink – 3-57; Jacob Loudermilk – 1-2.