Casey loses opener

August 22, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

LIBERTY - This was not the way Kyle Long wanted to make his return to game competition.

The Casey County senior quarterback was hit, harassed and pressured from the start by East Jessamine's defense Friday in a 45-6 loss in the PBK Bank Death Valley Bowl.

"I don't know what happened," said Long, who was sacked four times and thrown for losses on three more running plays. "At times we did some good things, but at other times we just did not do enough. We never had a chance to run our offense."

Long couldn't do anything but watch last season after injuring his knee in Casey's final preseason scrimmage. He knew he would have an inexperienced team around him, but he still thought Casey would fare better than it did against East Jessamine in the season-opening game for both teams.


"I guarantee you our line is going to get better one way or the other," Long said.

Casey coach Andy Stephens hopes so. He was visibly upset with his team's play and let the Rebels know it after the game.

East Jessamine rushed for 416 yards and added 130 more in the air while amassing 26 first downs. Casey was limited to 61 yards rushing - Long had 39 yards on 20 carries - and 100 yards passing.

"It was a poor, poor performance," Stephens said. "We had no support from our underclassmen. We have a lot of sophomores that have to play, and they've got to play better than they did tonight. They just are not getting it done. They are just immature guys and they are not helping like we need."

Stephens had to suspend two starters for disciplinary reasons, a severe blow to Casey's already shaky depth.

"We had about nine players going both ways and five or six that hardly came off the field," Stephens said.

The coach and team have also dealt with an allegation of sexual harassment during the bus ride to Morehead Aug. 14 for a scrimmage.

"It's been a distraction," Stephens said. "Somebody is out there trying to cause a distraction. Someone wants to give the football program a black eye. I've investigated the situation and I'm satisfied with what I found. But it probably was difficult for our players to play and listen to all of that."

Jaquars dominate the line

The biggest difficulty, though, was East Jessamine. The Jaguars used their size advantage to dominate the line and senior quarterback Adam Richey directed a potent running game.

Richey carried 11 times for 79 yards and two touchdowns and also completed six of seven passes for 107 yards and another score.

Tailback Rex Hager rushed for 210 yards and two touchdowns.

"We just couldn't stop them," said Long, who was named Casey's most valuable player in the game.

Quadri Caldwell turned a short pass from Richey into a 44-yard touchdown on East Jessamine's second possession. The Jaguars followed that with a six-play, 65-yard drive that included runs of 23 and 9 yards by Hager before he tallied on a 6-yard run.

East built a 28-0 lead with a six-play, 75-yard drive - all on the ground - before Casey finally scored when Long's deep pass was deflected by East Jessamine's Matt Whitley into the hands of Brandon Raney. It turned into a 59-yard scoring play.

Raney had three catches for 84 yards.

"Kyle looked decent most of the game after not playing for a year," Stephens said. "He's always played hard, but he wasn't timid coming back off that injury.

"Raney is going to be a legitimate receiving threat all year. I was pleased with how he played. Actually, a lot of our seniors played well. We just have to get them more help."

East Jessamine quickly turned its 31-6 halftime lead into a 46-6 advantage on a 28-yard scoring run by Hager and 23-yard touchdown run by Richey after Hager had gained 57 yards the previous play.

"East Jessamine is a good team," Stephens said. "They had about 70 players and we played 15. It was more of less like David versus Goliath going into the game, and Goliath certainly won this one.

"We don't want Goliath to win any more, but we really have to get to work harder and have more players decide that they want to be serious about football. We didn't do many things right tonight. We can play a lot better, but we have to want to play better as a team. We'll find out next week just how much we want that to happen."

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