Defense sets tone as Pioneers win 39-20

August 22, 2004|MARTY WARREN

HARRODSBURG - Harrodsburg's defense forced eight turnovers and sophomores Brandon Ford and Cory Jackson rushed for over 100 yards apiece here Friday night in the season opener against Western Hills.

The Pioneers scored early and often, then held off a late rally by Western Hills to post a 39-20 victory at Alvis Johnson Field.

Ford gained 162 yards and scored four times while Jackson rushed for 103 yards on 16 carries.

However, it was the defense that set the tone for this game. The Harrodsburg defense forced fumbles on the Wolverines' first two series and the Pioneers scored after both miscues. The defense scored twice, once on a fumble recovery by Demarkus Masterson and once on an interception return by Ford late in the game that secured the victory.

"Our defense was excellent," Harrodsburg coach Terry Yeast said. "We missed a couple assignments on the option, but they were outstanding for the most part."


And the offense was just as good.

The Pioneers wasted little time getting on the scoreboard by going 54 yards in just five plays. Ford's 29-yard reception was the big play in the drive that ended with a 6-yard run by Ford just 2 minutes, 43 seconds into the contest.

Freeman Edwards' fumble recovery set up a 16-yard scoring toss from Edwards to Shane Webb and Masterson's 45-yard fumble recovery for a score gave the Pioneers a 19-0 advantage with 5:47 to play in the quarter.

"We wanted to jump on them quick and then control the clock and we did a nice job of doing that after the first quarter," Yeast said.

The Wolverines scored on their next series when quarterback Charles Keene raced 43 yards on an option play. Harrodsburg came right back to score as the period came to a close when Ford raced around right end for an 18-yard touchdown and a 26-7 lead.

Twelve players played most of the game for Pioneers

Harrodsburg, which played just 12 players most of the game, began to tire in the third quarter when Western Hills featured fullback Chase Napier. He rushed for 46 yards on the Wolverines' first two drives of the half and his 2-yard scoring plunge pulled Western Hills to within 26-13 entering the final stanza.

The visitors pulled within 26-20 as the fourth quarter began when Tyler Combess took a perfectly executed pitch on the option from Keene and raced 78 yards to paydirt.

That forced Yeast to have a little heart to heart talk with his team.

"We began to tire some and sometimes you have to fight through some adversity," the Harrodsburg coach said. "I got on them pretty good to start the fourth quarter and they responded to my challenge. I'm proud of the fact they didn't give up."

Following the score, the Pioneers went 68 yards in just five plays, once again highlighted by Ford's 44-yard run. Three plays later, he scored his third touchdown of the night from 14 yards out.

Yeast was surprised when told Ford and Jackson both rushed for 100 yards.

"Wow!," Yeast exclaimed. "I don't know how long it has been since we had two runners go over 100 yards. Ford was outstanding and Jackson had to battle through cramps at times.

"Another sophomore (Edwards) ran our offense and threw the ball well enough that we had some balance in our offense. I've told them all summer that I am depending on them a lot to run the club, and they did a nice job tonight."

Ford put the finishing touch on an excellent all-around effort when he picked off a pass two plays after his third score and returned the theft 36 yards to paydirt.

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