By JAMES BROWN
Glasgow Daily Times
Monroe County football head coach John Petett took a moment to look over his team. The Falcons, huddled close together in the north end zone, had just dropped a heartbreaking 18-13 decision to the two-time defending Class 3A state champion Central Yellowjackets Friday night in the Kentucky High School Athletic Association State Playoffs.
Trying to find the words to say, Petett told his players that he was proud of how they battled against one of the premiere high school football programs in the state. He told them how proud he was of the way the players represented themselves and the program. And, he told them how much he loved each and every one of them.
Unfortunately, for the Falcons, their season had come to a close one game shy of the state championship game for the third time in five years.
“We hung with the champs tonight,” said Petett. “We had the champs on the ropes. I am so proud of the kids and how they responded. We came out and battled. We’re up 13-6 in the first half and had a chance to score right before the half.”
The Yellowjackets showed just why they’re one of the top teams in the state by scoring two touchdowns in the second half to claim the hard-fought victory.
Trailing 13-6 heading into the third quarter, Sydney Tedford capped a 53-yard scoring drive with a one-yard run around the left side. Teford, who came on early in the game to replace regular starter Tae Shawn Gibbs, moved the ball down the field behind big bootleg runs around the right side. The Idris Kera extra point after the score was no good and the Yellowjackets were within one at 13-12 with 5:45 to go in the quarter.
Later in the fourth period, the Yellowjackets took the lead for good when they drove 87 yards for a touchdown. Stevon Beason, who ran for more than 100 yards on the night, capped the scoring drive with an 11-yard scamper. The extra point was no good again and Central led 18-13 with 8:58 to go in the game.
“We didn’t know if we had the talent to be here tonight. And the kids showed we do belong here,” said Petett. “We told them at halftime the hardest part of the game was over because we proved we belonged here, we belonged in this game. I told them it was time for us to go out and win the game (unfortunately,) it just wasn’t meant to be tonight.
“Central is a very good football team and they made adjustments in the second half. We gave up a couple of points in the second half and they shut us out. They made some big plays and the rest is history.”
The Falcons had total control of the first half of the action. After holding the Yellowjackets on the first possession of the night, Monroe County drove 77 yards on eight plays for a touchdown. Chad Wilson found Mason Kilmon in the left corner of the end zone for a 15-yard scoring strike. Bryan White’s extra point was good and the Falcons led 7-0 with 5:37 to go in the period.
The Yellowjackets answered, taking the next possession 72 yards for a touchdown. Central pounded the ball up the middle of the Monroe defense for big gains. Teford capped the surge with a one-yard touchdown run. The PAT was no good and the Yellowjackets were within striking distance at 7-6 with 1:01 to go in the first period.
After an exchange of possessions, the Falcons got back on the scoreboard with 5:01 to go in the second period. Petett went with his battering ram, better known as Jacob Hodges, and the Falcons methodically moved the ball down the field. Wilson rambled into the end zone for the touchdown. White’s extra point was blocked and the Falcons were up 13-6 heading into the intermission.
The Falcons had the ball late in the fourth quarter, but turned it over on downs when they failed to convert a fourth-and-long. Central ran out the clock.
“Listen, we’re not going to second guess anything. What if we’re not here? What if we don’t score the 13 points? We can say ‘What if’ all night long,” Petett said. “We’re here, we battled and we got beat (by the two-time defending state champions) by five points. My hat is off to Louisville Central. They made plays in the second half and we didn’t.”
As Petett broke the huddle after the game, he told the 20 seniors on this year’s team to stand up and be recognized.
“This group of seniors has been great ambassadors for the program. I told them tonight after the game they’ve made the program better than it was when they came,” Petett said. “Now the bar has been set very high for the Monroe County football program. We will continue to battle and hopefully we will be back here next year in the same situation.”