TIMES TRIBUNE (CORBIN, Ky.)
By Chris Parsons / The Endzone Staff
BEREA — Strange and unexpected things are not all that uncommon in high school sports and Friday’s game between Lynn Camp and Berea was no exception.
A late goal-line stand by the Lynn Camp defense put the Wildcats in position to tie the game with less than two minutes to play, but head coach Phil Russell’s offense ran out of steam on the final possession as they fell, 34-26.
Failing to score on the Wildcats’ final possession isn’t what surprised Russell about the loss. The loss itself was the surprise for Lynn Camp’s head man.
“Our gameplan was a shutout for this game and I felt like if we executed we could to that,” Russell said. “I thought if we got 28 points we’d give ourselves a pretty good chance to win the game.
“We gave up way too many plays on defense and we got behind the eight-ball a few too many times on the offensive side of things,” he added. “The bottom line is hats off to Berea because they played hard tonight and they just wanted it more than us tonight.”
Berea wasted no time getting on the scoreboard on its first possession when Jason Strong scored on a one-yard scamper to put the Pirates on top, 8-0.
Lynn Camp responded with a six-yard touchdown by Keanu Nolen to trim the lead to 8-6 and again with a 61-yard touchdown pass from Nolen to Tyler Reynolds to take their only lead of the game at 12-6.
Berea not only answered on its next possession, but it did so in similar fashion, when quarterback Dalton Gadd hooked up with Deondre Tate for a 30-yard touchdown pass to put the Pirates on top, 14-12, at the end of the first half.
Both offenses were quiet until Berea stretched its lead to 20-12 on a four-yard touchdown with 12 seconds to play in the third quarter.
Lynn Camp cut into the deficit when Nolen scored on a 17-yard run with just seven seconds gone by in the final period, making the score 20-18, setting up a wild finish.
Berea’s Joshua Lamb returned the ensuing kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown to put the Pirates back on top by eight points, 28-18, with 11:38 to play. The Pirates struck again on their next possession to stretch the lead to 34-18 on a 37-yard touchdown run by Strong with 7:56 to play in the contest.
The Wildcats made it a one-possession game, at 34-26, on a 37-yard touchdown pass from Nolen to Reynolds with 6:22 to play, setting up Lynn Camp’s late defensive stand.
Berea drove down the field to the one-yard line, but couldn’t punch it in on a fourth and goal, giving the Wildcats possession with 1:32 to play and 99 yards to go if they were to tie the game.
Lynn Camp completed a pair of passes early in the drive, but three straight incomplete passes ended any chances of a win as Berea took over on downs, picking up the 34-26 victory.
“We just didn’t execute when we had to and that’s the difference in the game,” Russell said. “We had too many guys standing around watching other guys make plays instead of trying to make the plays themselves.
“Like I said, they wanted it more than we did and that’s why they won,” he added.