When do-it-all quarterback Trenton Cutwright threw no less than three arm tackles for a 55-yard touchdown run that gave Bryan Station a three-touchdown lead in the closing seconds of the first half on Friday night , anyone claiming to have dreamed up a comeback for centuries to keep Scott County undefeated is probably lying.
Well, either that or fully invested in the Cardinals locker room, where SC was certainly knocked down but not destroyed, as the good book says.
“We settled in halftime,” Scott County coach Jim McKee said. “I said let’s take the opening drive and go score and see what happens. Just the overall mental resolve (it took). I’d like to know the stats of a team scoring in the last 30 seconds of a game. a half to take a three-touchdown lead that lost.
Sophomore speedster Ali Hamdiyah rushed for his first varsity touchdown at the end of the walk that put SC on the board, and he added another with 5:54 remaining in the game to put the Cards in top for good in an unlikely 21-20 triumph over battle-tested but stunned and still winless defenders.
Paul Garner and Luke Valencia sandwiched Cutwright’s interceptions around Hamdiyah’s second stay in the end zone, anchoring a defensive lock that hid Bryan Station for 33 yards overall after intermission.
“Walking into the locker room, we were like, we can’t go to bed,” Garner said. “We are a good football team. It’s a very good football team. We went out, played Scott County football in the second half and turned it around.
Ejected by Station’s alleged simulation of its instant tally, Scott County (3-0) was whistled for nine false start penalties midway through the third quarter.
McKee challenged his senior-dominated offensive line to get tougher mentally.
“We were a little rusty after the bye week. Of course, we always trained very hard, but we had these mental errors. The second half we came out effective,” said senior guard Nate Hall, the Cards’ only two-way starter. “As an offensive line, we were missing in the first half. He told us we had to go out there and blow everybody up, and we had to score on the first record.
Logan Jones, who blocked what turned out to be a crucial extra point after Cutwright’s back-breaker, returned the 38 yards in the second half into Bryan Station territory (0-3) at 47.
After an illegal block wiped out a first down and left SC with third and 11, Andrew Hickey hit Ellis Huguely with an 8-yard strike to set up a chain run from Thomas Feickert, who collected his own fortuitous rebound . To grope.
Two more procedural penalties essentially erased three solid runs from fullback Jacob Fryman (17 carries, 104 yards), but Hamdiyah – having received full medical clearance just hours before the game after missing the first two weeks due to a an injury – broke the 14-yard drought. a way.
“It shocked their defense because they kicked us out in the first half,” Garner said. “Then our defence, I think, we took them down three and got the ball back, and it was our moment to shine.”
A key ingredient in the comeback: Two booming kickoffs from sophomore Cristian Rodriguez that Bryan Station misjudged, twice leaving the Defenders pinned with a starting field position inside their 15.
SC quickly silenced one of those possessions and fed Station, with several of their players now cramping, a quick and steady diet of Huguely and Fryman.
The Cards again took a break recovering their own fumble on a sweep, and Hickey repeated his third clean throw to Isaac York before a 16-yard run from Thomas Feickert on the fourth and fifth as time expired in the third . trimester.
“It all starts with the offensive line,” Hall said. “You have to fire them, and of course with our weapons, even if we don’t fire them, we have some of the best players in the state. They won’t stop no matter what, even if they have five guys on them.
Huguely capped that 15-play, 61-yard grind with a 2-yard dive, again on fourth down.
Seizing the momentum, SC went for the two-point conversion, and Huguely circled and rocked a jump pass from Hickey to make it 20-14.
“Our defense played very well tonight,” McKee said. “We played pretty well in all three phases of the second half. It’s one big team. We lean on each other. »
Rodriguez’s kick and a tackle from Antonio Frye kept the Defenders in shock. After a procedural penalty backed the Defenders to their own 9, Cutwright telegraphed a shot into the left flat.
Garner whipped it with the receiver’s back turned and paraded into first position for the go-ahead score at 16.
“I saw the quarterback looking my way the whole time, and I just stayed with my man, and when the ball was in the air, it was mine,” Garner said. “We were aiming for turnover, and I think we got two of those tonight. It’s good for us.
“When Paul Garner picked that pass, it was a big momentum there,” McKee added. “Paul probably took a big step forward like any guy on our team. The difference between good and excellent is right there. It’s six inches between your ears, and Paul is in a good position mentally.
Two points through the middle by Feickert and a hard-nosed catch by Huguely along the home touchline set the stage for Hamdiyah’s walk-in. Ian Stanley scored the most important extra point.
Bryan Station had two modest chances to spoil the party down the stretch, but Kareem Graham-Booe threw Jeremiah Mundy-Lloyd for a fourth-and-one loss, and Luke Valencia then picked Cutwright to seal it.
Hall, who had 1½ of Scott County’s four sacks, noted that the key to slowing Cutwright, who accounted for 157 of his team’s 225 total yards, was not chasing too hard.
“We knew he was good. We knew we had to prepare really hard for this, so we set things up where we wouldn’t rush,” Hall said. “We were taught to contain well. I give our coaches props for this, without them we certainly couldn’t have contained it.
Penalties first sabotaged SC in their opening drive after long runs from Hamdiyah and Fryman immediately escorted the Cards into the red zone.
Garner then forced a fumble, but Station fell on it to grab another break in a scoreless first quarter. Cutwright broke the ice on a bare 5-yard bootleg with 10:45 left in the half.
Just over two minutes later, Jaiden Shegog jumped a wheel road, took off Hickey and raced 70 yards the other way for a score. McKee took the blame.
“We drifted away from who we are and what we do in the first half,” he said. “The game action doesn’t work until the running game works. If I’ve ever done a worse job than as a coach in the first half, I can only think of the year last against Franklin County.
The hole widened despite back-to-back sacks from Jacob Blair and Graham-Booe and Cutwright being pulled out by Valencia on a fake punt.
Dahvon Frazier partially blocked a Rodriguez punt, allowing enough time for Cutwright to cruise down the visiting sideline.
“Man, he’s an athlete. He’s one of the fastest guys we’re going to face all year. We have done our best. We spotted him a lot,” Garner said. “It was a killer, but we didn’t fold. We came back and we fought. I’m proud of this team. We are fighters, man. I love playing with this team. Every day we go to training, we work hard and we deserve everything we get.
With a dozen tackles combined, SC defensive stars Elijah Adams and JaSante Harmon were also instrumental in the rally.
It was the third straight fourth-quarter comeback in a suddenly sensational streak that SC dominated for two decades. Scott County won 7-6 on a blocked extra run and then a touchdown in the latter stages of 2020. Cutwright returned the favor with a TD scrimmage in the final seconds for a 25-20 verdict last September.
Bryan Station has now played and lost against three of the state’s flagship programs – Frederick Douglass, Boyle County and Scott County – in succession.
“To do the things we want to do, we have to play four quarterbacks, but I couldn’t be prouder of them. It was one hell of a game of football,” McKee said. don’t play with someone, you play for someone. That’s what we preached and preached. We still have a long way to go, and I know who is on the road, but we will continue to cook here and continue to improve.
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