By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
Whitley County Colonels head coach Jim Black typically likes to test his team in the early part of the season with a tough schedule.
They were tested and theN some Friday, dropping a 49-20 decision to Russell County at home to fall to 0-1 on the young season.
The Colonels’ defense gave up 230 yards on the ground and 154 yards through the air en route to the loss, but the game wasn’t a total bust.
Offensively, Whitley County was able to showcase a high power attack, but miscues and turnovers cost Black’s team in the end.
“They were a good team, but we compounded the issue with some of our special teams plays,” Black said. “We had some opportunities to get back in it, but a bad snap and bad kickoff return, so I’ll take credit for those.
“When you play good teams, and Russell is a very good team, you’ve got to make plays,” he added. “We did make some plays, but we were in the hole when we made them.”
For the Colonels, Boston Bryant led the way on the ground, tallying 128 yards on 22 carries, while Austin Ysidro racked up 74 yards on 11 carries. Freshman Zack Mills tallied 78 yards on four carries and a touchdown.
Whitley County’s Tilman Jackson had a coming out party, throwing for a 48-yard touchdown on a halfback pass to Cody Lewis and forcing a fumble late in the game.
“The only thing that makes me mad about Tilman is he didn’t play his sophomore and junior year,” Black said. “He’s a smart kid and plays hard and you can’t ask for anything else out of him.”
The Lakers got the scoring started in the first quarter when Blake Ellis scored on a 57-yard pass from Barton Mann to make the score 7-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The Colonels botched a punt attempt on the next possession, setting Russell County up with excellent field position at its own 12-yard line.
The Lakers needed just one play to punch it in as Mann scored on a quarterback keeper to push the lead to 14-0.
Whitley County drove the ball the length of the field on the next drive, but fumbled on a fourth and goal from the two-yard line with a chance to cut into the lead.
The Lakers took advantage, scoring on just three plays as Nick Britt scampered in from 24 yards to make the score 21-0 with 5:00 to play in the half.
The Colonels finally got in the scoring column on the next drive on the halfback pass from Jackson to Lewis to cut the lead to 21-7, but the excitement would be short-lived.
Russell County’s Evan Fletcher picked up the squib kick and took it 74 yards for the score, making the score 28-7 at halftime.
Whitley County struck first in the second half after driving the ball down the field before scoring on a 11-yard run by Mills to cut the gap to 28-14.
The teams traded touchdowns on the next two possessions as Britt scored from 12 yards out and the Colonels’ Josh Nichols scored on a 54-yard run to make the score 35-20.
From that point, the Lakers did all the scoring as Britt added a 23-yard touchdown run to make the score 42-20 and Lucas Whittle scored from 55 yards out on an option play to close things out at 49-20.
“Our kids fought back and they didn’t quit,” Black said. “We had a little letdown at the very end of the game.
“Most of our mistakes were mental errors,” Black added. “Most of the others were coachable things and we’ll get better because we are a young team.”
The Colonels will play Rockcastle County next week at home.
Colonels open regular season play with 49-20 loss
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