Pioneers take their time to beat Casey

August 29, 2004|MARTY WARREN

LIBERTY - In Terry Yeast's tenure as head coach at Harrodsburg, the Pioneers have produced big play after big play. With dwindling numbers on his roster this year, however, he has stressed the importance of time management.

The Pioneers gave their coach just what he wanted after recovering a fumble at the 1-yard line late in the first quarter and driving 99 yards to score to grab a 15-0 advantage. Harrodsburg went on to defeat host Casey County 24-12 Friday night.

Despite three blocked punts by senior Travis White that gave Harrodsburg excellent field position, Casey's defense rose to the occasion to keep the Pioneers out of the end zone on the ensuing possessions.

However, for the second straight week, Harrodsburg made the plays defensively to also stifle Casey's offense enough to pull out the win.


"Our defense stepped up again tonight," Yeast said. "I don't know if I have ever seen anyone get three blocked punts in one game. (Travis) was just amazing and in a zone all night. It didn't matter who tried to block him, he just kept right on coming."

As it turned out, Casey coach Andy Stephens said missed assignments kept anyone from blocking him all night.

"They put a man to the inside of our guard and we blocked the man outside instead," the Casey coach said. "We discussed the play on the sideline and it was just a lack of concentration that we will need to get corrected before we play next week."

Micah Ball's interception return to the Harrodsburg 14 gave Casey excellent field position after the Pioneers' first series of downs, but the Rebels returned the favor when Harrodsburg sophomore Cory Jackson picked off a Kyle Long pass in the corner of the end zone to end the threat.

"We expected Casey to throw a lot of passes in Raney's direction, and I thought Cory did a great job on him all night," Yeast said.

Three plays following the interception another Harrodsburg sophomore, Brandon Ford, broke free down the right sideline and raced 71 yards to paydirt. Adam Gray tacked on the PAT with 9:41 to play in the first quarter to give Harrodsburg a 7-0 lead.

Ford had 120 yards in first quarter

Ford gained 120 yards in the first quarter and finished the game with 179 yards on 18 carries.

"Brandon just continues to get better," Yeast said. "I was also pleased with the way Cory and Shane (Webb) ran the ball for us, especially on our long drive when we wanted to chew up a lot of clock. We don't have a lot of size up front but Travis, Chris Sheron, Richard Reilly and Robert Artis continue to move people off the ball and open huge gaps for our running backs."

Casey threatened to score immediately following the Pioneers' score. Taking over at their own 40, the Rebels alternated carries by Long, Josh Swango, Ricky Marrapodi and Tristan Harris to reach the Harrodsburg 1-yard line only to lose the ball on a fumble.

"We had chances to score throughout the first half and had excellent field position, and when you don't score it seems to put more pressure on our defense," Stephens said. "Our offense is my biggest worry right now. We had chances to score twice in the first half and came up empty."

The Pioneers then had their first sustained drive of the year by going 99 yards in 18 plays, taking more than seven minutes off the clock, to score their second touchdown of the night. Ford had a run and a catch of 25 yards each during the drive, and Jackson raced 17 yards to the 1 before Ford crashed over for his second touchdown of the night. Shane Webb ran for the two-point conversion to give the Pioneers a 15-0 lead at the half.

White's blocked punt enabled Harrodsburg to get a safety and lead 17-0 before Casey finally reached the end zone. Raney's 34-yard catch and Marrapodi's 24-yard run were the key plays in an 80-yard, nine-play drive that ended with Long's five yard run to trim the lead to 17-6.

Jackson scored from 21 yards out to begin the fourth quarter, and Casey answered a missed 35-yard field goal attempt by going 80 yards on two pass plays to score. First, Long connected with Marcus Patterson for 34 yards before connecting with Raney on stride for a 46-yard scoring play.

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