By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
MORRISTOWN, TENN. — For 12 minutes, it looked as if the Whitley County Colonels were going to hang with Tennessee power Morristown West, but the Trojans didn’t want any part of that and used their pistol formation, no-huddle offense to perfection to knock off the Colonels, 42-13, in the Citizen Tribune Kickoff Classic.
After seeing Morristown West jump out to a 7-0 lead (three-yard score by Isaiah Dial) on its opening drive by driving 68 yards in 12 plays, the Colonels responded with a 17-play, 78-yard drive that ate up more than seven minutes on the clock and was capped off by quarterback Austin Ysidro’s six-yard run to the end zone to make the score, 7-6, heading into the second quarter.
But just when it looked as if the Colonels were going to go toe-to-toe with the Trojans, Morristown West broke the game open.
Trojan quarterback Will Gardner threw a screen pass to Zach Pell, who raced 82 yards, giving his team a 14-6 lead with 11:40 remaining in the second quarter,
Morristown West scored again on its next possession after Gardner hit Alex Smith with a 23-yard completion that set up Calvin Smith’s seven-yard touchdown run to paydirt with 5:11 left in the first half, while giving the Trojans a commanding 21-6 lead at halftime.
“They are a very good football team,” Whitley County coach Jim Black said. “I felt very good at halftime — but we came out in the second half and, I mean the wheels fell off and bam, it was over.”
Despite trailing by 15 points after two quarters of play, Whitley County had put up solid offensive numbers in the first half, rushing for 133 yards, while totaling 171 yards during the game’s first 24 minutes.
Lamar Brown’s squad put the game away in the third quarter, though, taking advantage of a Whitley County turnover, as Smith scored from 19 yards out, increasing Morristown West’s lead to 28-6 with 11:01 remaining in the third quarter.
The Trojans added another rushing touchdown (11-yarder by DeAndre Delaney) six minutes later and led 35-6, and Delaney’s 63-yard run to the end zone padded his team’s advantage to 42-6 early in the fourth quarter.
The Colonels managed to get on the scoreboard late in the game, as Jacob Paul scored on a four-yard run with 1:33 remaining in the game.
Morristown West finished the game with 449 yards on offense, including 249 on the ground, as Gardner led the way with 200 passing yards while completing 11-of-17 pass attempts. Delaney had 121 yards rushing and Smith finished with 62 yards on the ground.
“Defensively, they found some holes and we made some mistakes,” Black said. “They exploited them and that’s what good teams do. Communication is the key — but I mean overall, believe it or not we improved.”
Whitley County finished the game with 316 yards of total offense, as Ysidro led the way with 99 rushing yards and 39 passing yards.
“We are just so inexperienced,” Black said. “I mean, we’re getting there — offense is a strength and that’s what we’re trying to rely on.”
Things don’t get any easier for the Colonels this week with a road game against Madison Southern, who won its season-opener by defeating Rockcastle County, 42-13.