GLASGOW — For one half of football Friday night, the Class 2A Monroe County Falcons played a back-and-forth affair with Class 3A Hart County.
But after falling behind by 10 points, the Falcons scored the final 28 points of the contest and defeated the Raiders 40-22 in the first game of the Trojan Trail Turf War at Barren County High School.
“I told them at halftime that I thought we had the momentum, even though we were down,” Monroe County coach Billy Joe Murphy said following the Falcons’ first win of the season.
“I told them you have an opportunity now to come out and build on that momentum, and I thought we did that.”
Peyton Knudson scored three touchdowns for the Falcons, and quarterback Curtis Petett threw for two scores in the win.
After Monroe County(1-1) pushed the ball into Hart County(1-1) territory on the initial drive of the game, Devin Roten intercepted a third down throw and nearly returned it for a touchdown.
On the next play, Hart County quarterback Hayden Belden broke multiple tackles and scored on a four-yard run. The two-point conversion gave the Raiders an early 8-0 lead.
But the momentum would only last as long as the ensuing kickoff. Monroe County sophomore Knudson returned the kick 91 yards for a touchdown to put the Falcons on the board.
After three penalties, two against Monroe County and one against Hart County, the two-point conversion failed and the Falcons trailed 8-6.
The Falcons stopped the Raiders on a fourth down play near midfield on the next possession.
After it appeared Monroe County’s next drive would stall, Petett lobbed a pass toward the sideline on a third down play just before he was tackled by a Hart County defender. The pass was hauled in by Knudson for a first down.
Petett completed back-to-back passes on the next two plays to Wade Thompson to move Monroe County inside the red zone.
Monroe County senior Jholdi Brooks finished the series with a five-yard touchdown run, and Monroe County led 12-8 with 2:06 to play in the first quarter.
The next Hart County drive appeared to stall when Jameson Petett exploded through the left side of the offensive line for a sack on third down.
Roten lined up to accept the snap for a punt, but instead of booting the ball, he sprinted around the right side for a 22-yard gain that gave the Raiders a new set of downs.
After Julian Barbour and Dustin Butler picked up big gains on the ground for Hart County, Belden capped the drive with a short touchdown run and Hart County led 15-12 early in the second quarter.
On the next drive, Belden scored again, but this time it came on defense. Belden picked off a pass and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown. Hart County led 22-12 with 8:44 to play in the first half.
Monroe County showed poise and responded with 13 play, 85-yard drive that concluded with a Jameson Pruitt touchdown run. Pruitt also scored on the two-point conversion, catching a short pass from Petett, and the Falcons trailed 22-20, which would be the score at the half.
Bryce Baxter ended Hart County’s opening drive of the second half when he picked off a pass at the Monroe County 32-yard-line.
The Falcons took a risk on a fourth down play from their own half of the field on the next possession, and it paid off for Monroe County.
On a fourth down and nine to go for the first down, Petett connected with Brooks on a fade route along the sideline. Brooks hauled the pass in and trotted the rest of the way for a 54-yard touchdown strike that gave Monroe County a 28-22 lead following the two-point conversion.
The Falcons wouldn’t trail again, and they would add more points to ensure the victory.
After Hart County and Monroe County failed to score any points on their next possessions, the Raiders took over deep in their own territory following a Falcon punt.
On the first play of the drive, Hart County fumbled and the Falcons recovered at the Raider 22-yard-line.
The Falcons moved the ball to the 14-yard-line where they faced a fourth down. They were pushed back to the 19 following a penalty, Petett again found Knudson with a 16-yard completion at the three-yard-line.
The Raiders pushed the Falcons back on two straight run plays to bring up a third down from the six-yard-line, and Hart County will hold but a penalty call gave Monroe County a first down.
After the Falcons were moved back on a holding call, Petett connected with Knudson for a 17-yard touchdown pass and the Falcons took a 34-22 lead.
Hart County pushed into Monroe County territory on the next possession, but a fumble ended the drive with 6:26 to play in the game.
Monroe County removed a sizable chunk of the remaining clock on its next possession, punting the ball back to Hart County with 1:35 to go
Knudson then sealed the game with a 24-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Murphy said he was pleased with how his team responded after falling on the road to Clay County(Tennessee) in the Falcons’ season-opener.
“I challenged them all week to be the most physical team on the field,” Murphy said. “I think if you look at this week and last week, it was a completely different ball club. Last week, a lot of our guys were shell shocked, because they don’t understand what it takes to play football on a Friday night.”
Hart County will travel to Green County next Friday, while Monroe County will play at Glasgow.