By Denis House / The Endzone Staff
BARBOURVILLE—Chris Crawley-Goodman rushed for 155 yards and three touchdowns as Mercer County ended Knox Central's season with a 31-14 win in the opening round of the Class 4A playoffs.
“It's not the way we wanted to go out,” Coach Scott Russell said. “Sometimes things are stacked against you. We had a bunch of guys out, that played a part in it. But that's football and Mercer County is a good football team.”
In the end the Panthers (6-5) had no answer for Crawley-Goodman, who broke off long runs of 18, 44 and 35 yards as he carried the ball 26 times for the Titans (7-4).
It would be Mercer County striking first thanks to a fortunate bounce on a punt that hit a Knox Central player from behind and the Titans were able to recover on the 36 yard line. Four plays later, Crawley-Goodman carried it in from 18 yards out, and with 45.4 seconds left in the first quarter, Mercer County held a 7-0 lead.
Knox Central answered right back with a 10-play drive that covered 68 yards and was capped off when Jonathan Gist scored from 16 yards out. The two-point conversion was good, and with 7:59 left in the half, the Panthers now held an 8-7 lead.
After the Knox Central defense came up huge with two sacks on Crawley-Goodman, one by Dee Castle, the Panthers took over on the 36. But on the first play from scrimmage, quarterback Matthew Barger was intercepted by Crawley-Goodman, who returned the ball to the Mercer 42. That turnover resulted in a 22-yard field goal by Travis Fox, and with 39 seconds left in the half, the Titans had regained the lead, 10-8.
Mercer's first possession of the second half ended after only four plays when Andrew Johnson intercepted a Crawley-Goodman pass and returned it to the 28.
Knox Central then put together a eight-play drive that resulted in Gist scoring from one yard out. The try for two failed, and with 7:16 remaining in the third quarter, Knox Central had retaken the lead, 14-10.
But that would be all the offense the Panthers could muster on the night. Mercer answered right back with a Crawley-Goodman touchdown with 3:38 left in the quarter for a 17-14 lead. He would score two more times, one from one yard and the other from two yards out, to make the final 31-14.
“We got knocked down and hopefully that will help us understand what it takes to get to the next level,” Russell said. “But I'm proud of the team. They played hard.”
Knox Central finishes season with a three-game losing skid
By Denis House / The Endzone Staff
- Local Sports
The Williamsburg Yellow Jackets are partying like it's 1987! That was the last time the Jackets won a game in the 13th Region Tournament, and they ended the 27-year drought with a 47-44 win over the heavily-favored Knox Central Panthers on Thursday night.
Les Dixon's Daily Region Pick'Em
When it comes to picking region tournament games, it’s not an easy task to say the least. This is the most parity that I’ve ever seen in the 13th Region Boys and Girls Tournaments.
If Clay County’s play during the first game of the 13th Region Tournament is any indication of things to come, Robert Marcum’s squad could be well on its way of capturing their second straight 13th Region championship.
The Way it is
Since I’m picking Corbin to pull off the upset against Jackson County today, I figured I’d give my top five upsets dating back to 2005-06 when the 13th realigned and welcomed both North and South Laurel high schools to the mix.
Tony Pietrowski’s Corbin Redhounds have been favored during the past two first round 13th Region match-ups, and have been upset both times. Corbin is hoping things might change a bit this time around.
Barbourville will have hands full against Bell County today
Dinky Phipps’ Barbourville Tigers are looking for their first 13th Region Tournament win dating back to 2006’s tournament when they defeated Clay County in the regional semifinals.
Like It or Not
There’s an elephant in the room at this year’s 13th Region Tournament, and really in basketball in general, and I guess I’ll be the first one to point it out (publicly with my name attached to it).
Chris' Daily Region Pick'Em
With the first three days of opening round games in the books, I can honestly say I'm not surprised that I'm 4-2 overall when it comes to my pick'ems record.
You can never count out the Clay County Lady Tigers when it comes to the 13th Region Tournament.
Les Dixon's Daily Region Pick'em
After going just .500 during the girls games, things are going to get even tougher when it comes to picking the 13th Region Boys Tournament games.
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