Ford leads Pioneers to victory

QB injures knee

October 17, 2004|GARY MOYERS

HARRODSBURG - Harrodsburg clinched a berth in the Class A playoffs Friday with a tough 37-27 win over Owen County, but the Pioneers paid a high price with the loss of their starting quarterback.

Sophomore Freeman Edwards injured his knee playing defense late in the first period, and the preliminary reports indicated a torn knee ligament that could sideline him for the remainder of the season.

"Oh, man, it's a tough, tough loss for us," Harrodsburg coach Terry Yeast said. "It's tough for our team, and it's tough for Freeman. He loves football, he loves our football family, and this is going to be very hard for him.

"And it means our coaching staff will work some hours this weekend coming up with someone who can throw the ball for us. This will mean a major change for our offense."


Sophomore running back Brandon Ford stepped behind center to replace Edwards, and essentially put the Pioneer offense on his back. He carried the ball 19 times for 344 yards, and scored four times on runs of 74, 28, 70 and 16 yards.

"Brandon had one amazing game," Yeast said. "We worked last week on getting all our backs more involved in the offense, but Owen brought so many people through the lanes we were unable to spread the ball around more. He just has that knack of making defenders miss, and once he gets clear he's gone. He carried our offense tonight."

Pioneers lead 25-0

Harrodsburg (6-2, 2-1 district) used its big-play offense in the first half to sprint to a 25-0 lead, hitting paydirt on its first drive when Cory Jackson zipped 29 yards after a short Owen punt.

The Pioneer defense came up big on Owen's next series, blocking a 25-yard field goal attempt, and Ford did a speedy dance through the defense with a 74-yard touchdown run that in-cluded several broken tackles.

Two plays later Edwards suffered his knee injury while assisting on a tackle.

The Pioneers missed a golden opportunity in the early part of the second period when they fumbled the ball away on a second-and-goal from the Owen 3, setting the tone for a night in which they would lose two fumbles and incur 16 penalties for 130 yards.

"Mistakes really, really hurt us tonight," Yeast said.

Ford scored his second touchdown with 4:36 to play in the half after another short Owen punt gave the Pioneers the ball at the Rebels' 27. His 28-yard scoring run on second down gave Harrodsburg an 18-0 lead, which jumped to 25-0 three minutes later after Richard Reilly recovered a fumble at the 28, setting up a 3-yard score by Jackson.

Owen drove 85 yards in six plays and scoring on a 9-yard pass from Aaron Sutherland to Josh Juett with only three seconds left to play.

"We were in great position there, even after giving up the late touchdown," said Yeast. "But that third quarter almost turned into a nightmare."

Owen rallies

Owen recovered a Pioneer fumble at the Harrodsburg 20 to open the second half, and scored three plays later on a 2-yard plunge by Sutherland. The game got even closer minutes later when Shane Webb's punt was blocked after a high snap, and Sutherland hit Cam Logan for 24 yards and a score to close the gap to 25-20.

Ford then tossed a dagger into the Owen comeback hopes with a 70-yard burst for a score to put the Pioneers up 31-20 with 9:15 to play in the third.

Owen (1-7, 0-3) marched back down the field to gain a first-and-goal at the 1-yard line and ran straight into Pioneer linebacker Travis White - four straight times. White made the stops on Juett up the middle, thwarting the scoring threat.

"Travis played most of the second half with one arm," Yeast said of his senior linebacker. "He kept telling me he could play and wouldn't come off the field. He made some big, big plays."

Webb came up with the next big defensive play for the Pioneers, picking off a Sutherland pass at the Owen 43.

Owen came right back with a long completion to Logan that looked like it might go for a touchdown, but Ford closed the gap and made the tackle, stripping the ball from the receiver in the process before recovering the fumble and returning it to the Owen 23.

Ford scored again on a 13-yard run with 4:23 to play, then Owen tallied on a 45-yard pass from Sutherland to Logan with 4:04 to play.

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