Pioneers stop Casey

August 31, 2003|MARTY WARREN

HARRODSBURG - It was supposed to be a showdown between two of the area's best running backs, but if you don't have the ball its hard to prove to anyone what you can do.

Casey County's Rex Delk and Harrodsburg's Mark Dunn gained yardage with relative ease last week against their opposition, but the Pioneers' ball-control offense here Friday kept Casey's offense off the field and limited the number of times Delk touched the football during the Pioneers' 12-7 win over the Rebels.

Harrodsburg started the game with a 14-play, eight-minute drive before settling for a 27-yard field goal by junior Adam Gray. The Pioneers were their own worst enemy during the drive, being penalized five times for 25 yards. Dunn, who rushed for 342 yards and five touchdowns during the opening 34-6 win over Western Hills last week, ran for 26 yards during the drive and senior quarterback Mariqus Brown connected on two pass attempts for 24 more yards.


The Pioneers played keep-away during the period while holding onto the football for close to 10 minutes and ran 16 offensive plays compared to only four for Casey in the entire first period.

"It was nice to come out and put points on the board early," Harrodsburg coach Terry Yeast said. "(Adam) came out for the team two or three weeks ago and finally got all of his practices in. We feel like we have another weapon now instead of having to go for it every time on fourth down."

By controlling the football, Harrodsburg kept its defense fresh and kept Delk and the Casey offense off the field. Delk, who ran for 179 yards and three touchdowns last week against Harrison County, touched the ball only seven times during the first half and gained 28 yards.

"We felt like we played defense the whole first half," Casey coach Andy Stephens said. "It didn't seem like we could get out of our end of the field, either. They had great field position while our backs were against the wall the whole half."

Delk injured his ankle on a running play late in the half and did not return during the first series of downs to begin the second half.

The Pioneers took advantage of a fumble recovery late in the first half to put three more points on the board. Shane Webb recovered Delk's fumble at the Rebels' 21 and freshman Brandon Brown raced 20 yards down the left sideline to the Casey 1-yard line.

However, Harrodsburg fumbled the next two snaps and that backed the Pioneers up to the 10-yard line before Gray connected on another field goal, this time from 28 yards out to give the Pioneers a 6-0 lead with 1:13 to play in the half.

"Given the situation, the defense played real well the first half," Stephens said. "It was nice to have given up three points on two occasions when they were poised to score in the first half. They shot themselves in the foot several times in the first half with penalties and that helped us out."

Yeast was at a loss about why the Pioneers committed so many mistakes.

"That surprised me more than anything," the Harrodsburg coach said. "We had only three penalties the entire game last week. We are usually pretty disciplined."

While the Casey defense was keying on Dunn's every move, it was a little-known freshman that came through with the play of the game. Cory Jackson broke through the right side of Casey's defense and outran everyone to the end zone for a 63-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter to give Harrodsburg a 12-0 cushion.

"That was the play of the game," Yeast said. "We have to give some of our younger guys an opportunity when we need to rest Mark. He hit the hole hard and I was extremely proud of him."

"It was an inside play and we just overpursued the play," the Casey coach said. "We lost our focus on what we were doing and ran right by the ball carrier."

Casey finally got on the board with 3:20 to play following a short Harrodsburg punt. The Rebels went 49 yards in nine plays and Delk, who returned after a 52-minute lightning delay in the third quarter, scored from 1 yard out. Dustin Perkins' kick closed the scoring.

"I'm disappointed because I felt like this was a game we could have won," Stephens said.

"We feared Delk and (Blake) McGinnis all week," Yeast said. "But we did a nice job of controlling the ball and they were never really a factor. This was a nice win for us."

Central Kentucky News Articles