By Chris Parsons / The Endzone Staff
WHITLEY COUNTY — Despite a 21-14 loss to Bell County Friday, Whitley County head coach Jim Black was pleased with his team’s effort, especially compared to last week’s 56-14 loss to Madison Southern.
The Colonels took an early lead, but a stalled drive coupled with a pair of injuries to an already depleted Whitley County offensive unit was the difference in the game. When all was said and done, Black was complimentary of his squad after the loss.
“I give all the credit to the kids in this one because they played like warriors out there tonight,” Black said. “I think the fans saw a well-played football game and I think our kids played inspired football the entire game.
“I have to take the blame for this one because I made some bonehead decision out there in some crucial situations,” he added.
Things took a strange turn on the opening kickoff when Whitley County’s Nathan Jackson was carted off the field after suffering a severe elbow injury, delaying the game for 15 minutes.
The Colonels managed to put the delay behind them as they put together a 12-play drive to go ahead 7-0 on a four-yard touchdown run by Austin Hooper.
Bell County answered right away when Peyton Collett connected with Benn Collett for a 73-yard touchdown strike to tie things up at seven apiece.
The injury bug struck the Colonels for the second time in the game on the next drive when Hooper had to be helped off the field when he suffered an ankle injury, leaving Black’s squad without its top two running backs with Zack Mills already out of the game due to gall bladder surgery last week.
Despite the injury, the Colonels drove the ball down the field with a 13-minute drive, capping it off with a quarterback keeper by Austin Ysidro from two yards out to put Whitley County on top, 14-7.
The Colonels had a chance to stretch the lead when they recovered an onside kick, but they were forced to punt on a three-and-out, leading to a two-yard score by Bell County’s Chase Woolum to tie things up at 14 apiece.
Whitley County squandered another opportunity when the Bobcats fumbled on the Colonels’ five-yard line, but another three-and-out forced Black and company to punt the football away.
Bell County took advantage by driving 52 yards, capped by a 20-yard touchdown run by Austin Caldwell with 1:45 to play in the third quarter.
Both teams’ offenses stalled from that point as the Bobcats held on for the win, improving to 2-1 on the season.
The loss sends Whitley County to 0-3 on the year as they gear up for next week’s showdown with Rockcastle County. Black said he hopes to have Mills back in the mix and will have to wait and see regarding Hooper’s condition.
“Like I said, we’ll get back at it Monday and try to get the guys ready for Rockcastle County,” Black said. “Hopefully we’ll get healed up and be able to put some of our kids on the field.
“We played a lot better this week and I think we’re improving as a football team,” he added.
The Colonels tallied 214 yards of offense, with 178 yards on the ground, but were hit with eight penalties for 60 yards. Bell County had 287 yards of offense, 193 of which came on the ground.
Whitley County falls to 0-3 after losing to Bell County Friday
By Chris Parsons / The Endzone Staff
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