By DOUG EADS
Despite the fact Southwestern already owned a victory over its arch-rival Pulaski County — 15-7 in overtime two weeks ago — the Warriors came into Friday night’s Class 5 A playoff opener mired in a three-game losing streak to PC in the playoffs.
However, that all changed thanks to the final 12 minutes in Friday’s clash.
With the two teams knotted up at 7-7 in the fourth period, Max Brainard booted a field goal and Giddeon Brainard added the back breaker, rushing for a huge, big-time touchdown to put this one away for the Warriors, as Southwestern topped Pulaski County for the second time in two weeks with a hard-fought, 17-7 win over the Maroons.
When the two clubs met two weeks ago, the Maroons held a slim, 16-14 advantage over the Warriors all-time in this series.
After Friday night, Southwestern had knotted things up at 16-16 all-time in games between these two fierce rivals, but more importantly, Jason Foley’s club had punched its ticket to next week’s district championship game.
Tanner Wright put the Warriors on the board first in this playoff rematch, thanks to a 15-yard run straight up the gut early in the second frame.
The Warriors took that 7-0 lead into the intermission, thanks in large part to Pulaski County’s struggles on offense.
The Maroons were inside the red-zone on two occasions in the opening half of play, yet came away with ZERO points. And that would come back to haunt Johnny Hines and crew.
Missing its starting quarterback — Drew Polston — along with the top two receiving targets — Jake Sloan and Grant Oaks — the PC offense struggled for much of the game.
Yet, the Maroons had their chances.
A Tristan Cox 3-yard run for a score late in the third period knotted this one up at 7-7 headed into the fourth period of play.
In that final frame however, thanks to a huge play on special teams, it was a 26-yard field goal from Max Brainard that put Southwestern back out in front of the Maroons at 10-7 early in the final stanza.
Later in the frame, it was Cox picking off a pass from Southwestern quarterback Blake Burton, setting up the Maroons with a first and ten at the Warrior 43-yard line.
However, PC couldn’t punch it in due to yet another missed opportunity inside the red zone.
And, it would be Giddeon Brainard who would make the Maroons pay big-time for their offensive woes.
The Southwestern running back broke through a hole and sped away from the Maroons defense for an 83-yard touchdown scamper late in the contest, that all but put this one away for the Warriors.
PC got the ball back but couldn’t move it, and the Warriors — for the second time in two weeks — had defeated Pulaski County on the Maroons home turf, this time by a final count of 17-7 with the stakes much higher.
With the loss, Pulaski County finished the 2019 season with a 7-4 record, by losing its final three games of the season.
For the Warriors, Southwestern ran its record to 6-5 on the year, and won its fourth game in a row.
Southwestern advances to the district title game with the win, and the Warriors will be on the road again next Friday night playing for a district championship against the Whitley County Colonels in Williamsburg.
Whitley County won its opening round game of the Class 5 A playoffs last night with a 21-20 victory over North Laurel.
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By DOUG EADS
When Al Gover and the Campbellsville-Somerset University Tigers took to the road for the first time of the young season last weekend, the local team left almost half of its roster at home.
Missing two starters — Keelan Kennedy and Titus Ransom — along with some other key reserves, Gover and the Tigers found themselves in deep trouble late in the contest.
Playing at Boyce College in Louisville, CU-Somerset trailed the Bulldogs by 12 points with just under eight minutes left in the game.
No worries however, Gover’s club — albeit with a depleted lineup for this contest — refused to fold.
Freshman Deion Finnison poured in a team-high 21 points, while freshman guard TC Wright added 19 points, helping the Tigers get off the mat to rally for a thrilling, 91-90 win over the Bulldogs, to even their record to 1-1 on the season with a big-time win.
“We had some kids step up and make some big plays on Saturday,” pointed out coach Gover.
“We had some kids out for that game, but I told the kids that we had that this was their opportunity to set up, and they did just that,” continued the CU-Somerset head coach. “Now, we know that we have some kids that are on our bench that when we need them to step up and make a contribution, they have proven they are capable.”
The Tigers — missing six players — only trailed Boyce College 45-42 at the intermission, however the Bulldogs attempted to put Gover’s club away in the second half.
CU-Somerset trailed in this one by double figures for much of the second half, but the Tigers would not go away, rallying several times from double-deficit deficits.
Gover’s club hit on 7 of 25 attempts from behind the three-point arc for the contest, but the Tigers made their hay down in the paint, outscoring Boyce by a whopping, 54-38 margin inside, which enabled CU-Somerset to stay within striking distance of Boyce College.
“I was very disappointed in our season opener against Marian in the fact that I didn’t think we competed in the second half of that game,” Gover stated.
“At Boyce College, we faced a ton of adversity, but we kept competing,” added the Tigers coach. “It was their season opener, they had a full gym, and a very loud crowd right on top of us, so our kids had a lot to overcome, but they never quit competing hard, and they overcame it all. Anytime you can get a big win like that on the road, it’s a nice win indeed.”
TJ Owes added 13 points in the win for CU-Somerset, while Kenyan McKee added 12 points, and Trevon Cooper chipped in with 10 points.
CU-Somerset — 1-1 on the season — will return to action this weekend, playing in the Bluefield State Classic in West Virginia.
The Tigers will face Bryant and Stratton College in their first game of that event on Friday night.
CU-S 42 49 — 91
BC 45 45 — 90
CU-SOMERSET — Finnison 21, Wright 19, Owes 13, McKee 12, Cooper 10, Johnson 9, Thomas 5, Hurt 2.
BOYCE COLLEGE — Benham 26, Nauert 15, Kirby 10, Billings 10, Alexakos 10, Quinley 5, I. Gibson 5, Crawford 5, Turner 2, Kays 1, J. Gibson 1.
By DOUG EADS
Most all football coaches will tell you they want their team to be playing its best when the playoffs begin.
Well, mission accomplished for the Southwestern Warriors.
Almost a month ago, Jason Foley’s club was hip deep in a sea of mediocrity with a sub-par 2-5 record.
Today as the post season is getting set to get underway, the blue and orange Warriors are red-hot.
Southwestern won its third game in a row last Friday night, with an impressive, 37-6 beatdown over visiting Madison Central.
And, it was a complete team effort.
Quarterback Blake Burton connected on 8-13 passes for 115 yards, which included a TD pass to wide out Mason Hibbard.
Tanner Wright scored a pair of rushing touchdowns, gaining 129 yards on only 5 carries.
Austin Barnes and Chase Doan also scored TD’s on the ground, while Hibbard led the Warriors in receiving with 3 catches for 74 yards and a TD.
This week, the Warriors will open the Class 5 A playoffs and will seek to win their fourth game in a row, but it won’t be easy.
Southwestern will travel across town to take on arch-rival Pulaski County — a Maroon team that Foley and crew just defeated less than a couple of weeks ago in overtime by a final score of 15-7.
PC leads the all-time series over the Warriors at 16-15, and the Maroons are 3-1 all-time against Southwestern in the playoffs, taking down Southwestern in 2014, ’16, and ’18 in regional title games.
Can the Warriors make it four wins in a row and end their playoff skid against PC, or will the Maroons continue their dominance over Southwestern in the post season?
Stay tuned Friday night for the answers to the above questions in what should be a great playoff game between two outstanding teams.
If you can’t make it to the game at PC Field, tune in to iHeartRadio of Somerset on LAKE 102.3 FM, as yours truly and Adam Bray will have all of the coverage, beginning with our pregame show beginning at 7:15 p.m.
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By DOUG EADS
Al Gover and the Campbellsville-Somerset University Tigers came into the 2019-20 college basketball season with high aspirations, however the local team took one on the proverbial chin to open season number two as a collegiate basketball program on Monday evening at Somerset Christian School.
Taking on a very good and established NAIA program in Marian University out of Indianapolis, Indiana on Monday night in the season opener, coach Gover knew his club had a tall order in front of it, and boy was he right.
The visiting Knights led the homestanding Tigers by just nine points at the intermission, 47-38, but Marian put things in another gear after the intermission, outscoring Somerset 68-35 in the second half.
As a result, it was the Tigers falling to 0-1 on the season, coming up on the short end of the scoreboard in their opener by a whopping 42 points, losing to Marian University by a final score of 115-73.
“They whipped us good tonight,” Gover lamented immediately following Monday night’s contest.
“It was just a nine-point game at halftime,and you go in feeling pretty good about yourself, and then you go out in the second half and you don’t compete very hard, and I just don’t understand that,” added the CU-Somerset head coach. “This game is about competition, and if you don’t compete, there’s no reason to play.”
Competing is exactly what Gover’s club was able to do early on.
Despite the fact that Marian’s dynamic duo of Christian Stewart and Sterling Brown was prolific from behind the three-point arc, Gover’s club hung tough early on.
Titus Ransom tallied 13 of his 20 points in the opening half for CU-Somerset, and despite trailing for the entire half, Ransom’s long three-point bomb just before the horn sounded ending the first half had the halftime deficit under double figures at 47-38.
In the second frame however, this one was all Marian.
Cameron Wolter went to work on the inside for the Knights, and he led everybody in scoring with a game-high 25 points, as CU-Somerset had no answer for the big man down in the paint.
Brown and Stewart remained hot from the outside in the second period, while Christian Harvey came off the bench to score all 15 of his points for Marian University in the second half of play.
Freshman guard TC Wright fought hard to keep the Tigers within striking distance of the Knights, scoring 15 of his team-high 24 points after the intermission, but it would not be enough down the stretch, as Marian put its foot on the gas pedal over the game’s final eight minutes,rolling to the 42-point win over the local club.
“Our competition doesn’t get any easier, and it’s something that we’ve got to continue to work on, and that’s learning howto play and compete hard each and every time we go out there,” pointed out coach Gover.
“Of course this was a tough opponent to start out the year with, but you still have to go out and compete hard, and that means you do it on each and every possession, both offensively and defensively,” added the Tigers head coach. “We practice hard, and we get after it, but when you have a night like this in the second half, you walkaway kind of scratching your head.”
The Tigers — 0-1 on the season — will try to bounce back this Saturday, as Gover and CU-Somerset will travel to Louisville to take on Boyce College at 2 p.m.
MU — 47 68 — 115
CU-S — 38 35 — 73
MARIAN UNIV. — Wolter 25, Brown 22, Stewart 18, Harvey 15, Langkabel 11, Nwankwo 10, Gohmann 7, Taylor 5, Heady 2.
CU-SOMERSET — Wright 24, Ransom 20, Kennedy 10, Cofer 5, Hurt 4, Finnison 4, McKee 2, Owes 2, Cooper 2.
By DOUG EADS
It’s been called one of the most — if not the best — high school football rivalries in the state of Kentucky, and that was never more apparent than last Friday night.
Southwestern and Pulaski County added another historic chapter in this most compelling rivalry in a game that was an instant classic.
This one had a little bit of everything, but when the dust had settled, it was Jason Foley’s Southwestern team upending and upsetting homestanding Pulaski County by a final count of 15-7 in overtime.
This one turned out to be a defensive struggle, with both teams having their fair share of difficulties inside the red zone.
Southwestern drew first blood in this one, thanks to a 34-yard TD pass from quarterback Blake Burton to senior wide receiver Xavier Streeter on the first drive of the football game.
Devin Tolson would help PC fight back, scoring on a 5-yard run late in the first period tying this one up at 7-7, and that would be it for scoring in this one until overtime.
In that extra session, Tanner Wright’s 1-yard run on fourth and goal gave the Warriors a 13-7 lead, and Giddeon Brainard followed that up with a two-point conversion run for a 15-7 lead.
At that point, the Warrior ‘D’ stepped up, holding PC on downs on a fourth and goal pass from Kaleb Adams intended for Jake Sloan that fell to the ground.
At that point, a wild celebration ensued for a Southwestern team that improved to 4-5 on the year with the win, while PC had its seven-game winning streak snapped, as the Maroons fell to 7-2 on the year with the gut-wrenching defeat.
PC quarterback Drew Polston was knocked out of the contest late in the first half, but he completed 6-9 passes through the air for 74 yards before leaving the contest.
Adams led PC with 32 yards rushing on six attempts, while Grant Oaks — who also left the game with an injury — led the Maroons with 3 catches for 46 yards.
Meanwhile, the Warriors were led on the ground by Wright, who rushed for a game-high 96 yards on 13 carries and a TD, which turned out to be the game winner.
Burton meanwhile connected on 10-16 pass attempts through the air for 109 yards and a TD pass.
With the win, Southwestern closed the gap with Pulaski County in the all-time series, with the Maroons still holding a slim, 16-15 advantage over the Warriors in 31 games between the two.
The Warriors will close out the regular season on Friday night at home against Madison Central, while the Maroons will host Tates Creek in their regular season finale.
Both games are set to kick off at 7:30 p.m.
If you can’t make it to the PC–Tates creek game, tune in to LAKE 102.3 FM, as yours truly and Adam Bray will have the call, beginning with the pregame show at 7:15 p.m.
By DOUG EADS
After beating and banging on one another all throughout the preseason, the Campbellsville-Somerset Tigers went on the road on Thursday night to Union College, to take on the Bulldogs in their one and only scrimmage of the preseason.
And, head coach Al Gover had to like what he saw from his team for the most part.
Sophomore guard Titus Ransom scored 13 of his team-high 15 points after the intermission, Keelan Kennedy chipped in with 12 points, and newcomer Deion Finnison added 11 points, as the Tigers prevailed in the scrimmage by a final score of 59-47.
The scrimmage — whittled down to only 10 minutes in the second half — gave the Tigers their first opportunity to go up against an opponent, and the CU-Somerset squad showed some positive glimpses of what is to come this season.
Gover and crew led this one 39-27 at the half, playing some pretty good basketball in the opening 20 minutes of play.
Both coaches agreed to trim the second half down to only a 10-minute period, and it was homestanding Union that looked to take control of the contest at that juncture.
The Bulldogs began the second frame with a 9-0 run, to re-take the lead over CU-Somerset 38-37, but that’s when Ransom and company went to work.
Somerset responded to that run by Union, and that was a key takeaway from the game for coach Gover — his team faced adversity, and answered that adversity with a big-time comeback of its own.
“Our guys really responded there after giving up the lead to start the second half, and I was very pleased with their effort,” stated Gover.
“When Union started making its run and began to put some pressure on us there to start the second half and got us down one, our kids responded and fought back and regained their composure,” added the Tigers coach. “We made a couple of big plays, got the lead back, and kept it, so I was really pleased with that.”
The Tigers — in their inaugural year of college basketball last season — began the year by dropping their first 13 games of the season, but responded big-time by going 8-6 over the last half of the 2018-’19 season.
Last season concluded with a third place finish in the Christian College National Invitational Basketball Tournament, and Gover and company will be looking to build upon that this season.
The Tigers open the season next week, and the first game out of the shoot is going to be a monumental task for the Tigers, as they will host Marian University out of Indianapolis.
Last season, the Knights went 28-8 on the year and advanced all the way to the Final Four of the NAIA National Basketball Tournament.
The Knights come into this season without their top three scorers from that Final Four squad from a year ago, but nonetheless, Gover says this is going to be a tough opener for his basketball team.
“It’s a tough opener for us, but you do need to play good people early to see where you are,” pointed out the Tigers head coach.
“Hopefully, we compete hard and we play hard, and we’re going in thinking we’re going to win the ballgame,” Gover added.
The CU-Somerset–Marian University game kicks off the Tigers season on Monday night, October 28th at Somerset Christian School beginning at 7:30 p.m.
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By DOUG EADS
Earlier last week, Pulaski County head coach Johnny Hines learned that his sensational sophomore quarterback — Drew Polston — had been lost for the season with a shoulder injury suffered in a 15-7 loss to Southwestern.
Compounding matters for Hines and the Maroons, several other key Pulaski County players were going to have to be held out of the regular season finale against Tates Creek to nurse some injuries and try to get healthy before the playoffs began. Not exactly the perfect Senior Night situation.
And, visiting Tates Creek rolled into PC Field on Friday night and took full advantage of both of those scenarios.
Luke Duby — the Commodores outstanding quarterback headed to Cornell University next season to continue his football career — simply torched the PC defense on Friday night from the opening kick until the final horn.
Duby threw five touchdowns against the Maroons, completing 27-40 pass attempts for 537 yards, sending PC down to a second consecutive defeat to end the season, with an impressive, 38-7 victory over the Maroons.
And, Duby made it look very easy.
The Tates Creek senior threw a pair of TD passes in the opening half of play to Elliot Bryant — 14 and 8 yards respectively — and the back breaker for PC was an 87-yard scoring toss late in the first half to his go-to guy, Miles Thomas.
Osvaldo Vasquez added a 27-yard field goal late in the first half, and PC was in big-time trouble at the intermission, trailing the Commodores 24-0 on Senior Night.
Offensively, with guys like Grant Oaks and Jake Sloan out, not to mention the absence of Polston, the PC offense found the going very tough early on and for much of the contest.
With Kaleb Adams at the helm of the Maroons offense, PC struggled to move the football, gaining only 78 yards of total offense in the opening half of play.
In the second half, things didn’t get any better for Hines and crew.
Duby threw two more TD passes — a 70-yard strike to running back Matthew Underwood out of the backfield, and another score to Thomas — this time going for 62 yards.
That gave Tates Creek a commanding, 38-0 lead at that juncture and a running clock, as Pulaski County was heading to loss number two in a row at the end of the 2019 high school football season.
The Maroons were able to avoid the shutout, thanks to a 6-yard TD pass from Adams to running back Tristan Cox, with 8:50 remaining in the game, but by that time, this issue had long since been settled.
For the contest, the Commodores rolled up 596 yards of total offense on 61 plays, while PC gained only 132 yards of total offense for the game on 45 offensive snaps.
With the loss, Pulaski County ended the 2019 regular season with a 7-3 record, but the Maroons will limp into the post season mired in a two-game losing streak.
And, it certainly won’t get any easier for Hines and company in round one of the Class 5 A playoffs this coming week.
In a rematch of the game that Polston was lost for the season with that shoulder injury, arch-rival Southwestern will roll into PC Field on Friday night for a big-time, first round post-season matchup between the county rivals.
The Warriors won the first meeting against Pulaski County two weeks ago in a thriller, defeating the Maroons and snapping PC’s seven-game winning streak with a 15-7 win in overtime.
With that win, the all-time series between these two now stands at 16-15 in favor of the Maroons.
Kickoff for Friday’s game is set to get underway from PC Field beginning at 7:30 p.m.
If you can’t make it to the game, you can tune in to LAKE 102.3 FM on Friday night at 7:15 p.m. with the pregame show, as yours truly and Adam Bray will bring you all of the exciting action on the Don Franklin Family of Dealerships Game of the Week.
By DOUG EADS
One of the best rivalries in the state of Kentucky in high school football renews on Friday night at PC Field, as the homestanding 7-1 Pulaski County Maroons will square off against arch-rival Southwestern.
The Warriors are 3-5 on the season, but are coming into tomorrow night’s contest with some much-needed momentum, coming off of last week’s 38-20 win over South Laurel.
This has been a great rivalry throughout the years, as PC has won 9 of the last 13 meetings, including last season’s win at Southwestern, and the regional title game at Pulaski County.
Thanks to those two wins by the Maroons last year, Pulaski County leads the all-time series over Southwestern by a 16-14 margin heading into this week’s game.
Warrior head coach Jason Foley — his first year as a head coach in this rivalry — says he knows ahead of time just how big a challenge Friday night’s game with Pulaski County is going to be for his team.
“Pulaski County has a very solid veteran and senior laden team,” stated Foley.
“They have had a good year up to this point, and they have won some tight games,” added the Warrior head coach. “Defensively, they are strong in the box with their ‘D’ line and linebackers leading the way. Offensively, their passing game is strong, with long, tall receivers that can make plays vertically and across the middle of the field as well.”
The Maroons have had the best in this series of late over Southwestern, knocking off the Warriors in regional championship games in 2014, 2016, and again last season in 2018.
In 2014, Southwestern defeated Pulaski County in the regular season, but the Maroons avenged that loss five weeks later in the regional title game on their way to a Class 5 A State Football Championship.
PC head coach Johnny Hines is 13-11 all-time as the Maroons head coach in this series, and he says when these two get together, one thing is for certain — throw the records out the proverbial window.
“Alabama and Auburn have ‘The Iron Bowl’, Michigan has Ohio State, USC has Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Texas have ‘The Red River War’, and the ‘Sunshine State’ has Florida verses Florida State,” pointed out coach Hines. “This game is all of that and more in south central Kentucky.”
“This game is always the game of the year,” Hines continued. “Southwestern is an immensely talented team, and they always are. The have great players and they will come over here on Friday night planning on winning this game. This is one of the greatest high school football rivalries around, and it’s been great to have been part of it for the past 25 years.”
Kickoff for the Pulaski County — Southwestern football game is slated to get underway from PC Field on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
If you can’t make it to the game, yours truly and Adam Bray will have all of the coverage on LAKE 102.3 FM, with our pregame coverage getting underway at 7:15 p.m.
By DOUG EADS
The Campbellsville-Somerset University Tigers are coming into year number two as a collegiate basketball program with very lofty expectations and high aspirations.
And why not?
Al Gover’s club went 8-6 over the second half of last season — its inaugural year as a college basketball program — which included a third place finish at the end of the season in the Christian College National Invitational Basketball Tournament.
With several players returning, and a very good mix of incoming freshmen with an abundance of talent, the future looks very bright for CU-Somerset.
On Tuesday night, Gover and his team unveiled a glimpse of things to come for the upcoming season with CU-Somerset’s annual Maroon and White night at Somerset Christian School, and afterwards, the Tigers head coach came away very pleased with what he witnessed from his team.
“We’ve definitely got a lot of things that we need to work on, but I thought our kids played very hard in front of a crowd for the first time,” stated a very happy coach Gover.
“I thought we had a few jitters tonight, and I think some of the guys tried to do a little more than their capable of doing at times,” added the Tigers head coach. “For the most part though, I thought they played pretty well, especially offensively. Defensively, we’ve still got a lot of work to do.”
The Tigers open the 2019-’20 college basketball season this coming Monday night, October 28th at 7:30 p.m. at Somerset Christian School, against a very good Marion University out of Indianapolis.
Gover says while he knows that game is going to be a very stern test out of the gate for his club, he can’t wait to get year number two underway for the upstart program.
“We’ve been beating on each other for awhile now, so we’re looking forward to getting a chance to beat on somebody else,” pointed out Gover.
“Marion’s coming in as a very highly touted team, so it’s going to be a very good home opener for us, and I hope to see a big crowd out here at Somerset Christian School next Monday night,” Gover added.
Tipoff for the Marion game is set for Monday night at 7:30 p.m.