TIMES TRIBUNE (CORBIN, Ky.)
By Chris Parsons / The Endzone Staff
WHITLEY COUNTY — Whitley County’s 28-9 loss to Rockcastle County could be summed up in two words when all was said done — missed opportunities.
The Colonels gave up 21 of Rockcastle County’s 28 points in the first half and didn’t give up the final touchdown until late in the fourth quarter, but Jim Black’s team couldn’t mount any kind of offense in the second half.
“This was an extremely tough loss for us as a team because we had opportunity after opportunity and we just couldn’t capitalize,” Black said. “The big thing was that we spotted them 21 points in the first half and then we have to try and fight to come back.
“They got the first touchdown basically on blown coverage and it just went downhill from there,” he added. “It’s frustrating right now and it all comes back to me because we weren’t mentally prepared at the beginning of the game. It takes mental preparation to succeed and we weren’t mentally prepared for this game.”
After the two teams traded punts, Rockcastle County got on the scoreboard with 3:38 to play in the first quarter when Chance Ansardi scored on a nine-yard touchdown run to put the Rockets on top, 7-0.
The Rockets extended their lead after Kyle Denny intercepted a pass by Whitley County’s Luke Woods, leading to a 14-yard touchdown strike from Cory McPhetridge to Kyle Harper, which made the score 13-0 after a failed conversion by Rockcastle County.
It looked like Whitley County would claw back into the game when Austin Ysidro broke free for a 45-yard touchdown run, trimming the deficit to 21-7 with 7:35 to play in the second quarter.
Black’s squad had a chance to cut into the lead again after an interception by Ysidro gave the ball back to the Colonels on their own eight-yard line.
Whitley County used seven plays to drive to Rockcastle County’s eight-yard line before they turned the ball over after a fumble by Woods, ending the scoring threat.
The Colonels forced a fumble as time wound down in the second half, taking advantage of the extra possession in the form of a 39-yard field goal by Alex Conlin as time expired in the first half, cutting the Rockets’ lead to 21-9.
Neither team managed to do much offensively until Rockcastle County scored on a 26-yard reception from McPhetridge with 6:05 to play in the game, pushing their lead to 28-9.
The Colonels turned the ball over on downs on their next possession as Rockcastle chewed up over four minutes of clock as time wound down in the final period. Whitley County got the ball back with six seconds to play and almost symbolic of the way things went in the game, Woods threw an interception on the last play of night to end things.
The Colonels will be back in action next week as they host Clay County and Black said the preparation for that game can’t start soon enough for his Colonels.
“We had some guys in some different positions than they’re used to and then you put them out here at game speed, which makes it tougher,” Black said. “The kids did what we coached them to do on the football field, but it just wasn’t good enough.
“Our scout team did a good job of getting ready, but we just have to do a little bit better job of getting ready during the week,” he added. “We’ll start now and try to get ready for next week and hopefully we can do a little bit better.”
Whitley County rushed the ball 34 times for 111 yards, while passing for 81 yards, giving them a total of 192 yards of offense. The Rockets ran the football 29 times for 109 yards, but were 12-for-17 through the air for 196 yards.