Edmonson County's football team, the #2 seed in Region 2, was noted for its explosive offense but it was the Wildcat defense that stood tall with a 21-0 shutout win over Webster County. Edmonson improved to 7-4 and will move to Paducah this Friday to tangle with the Blue Tornado.
Webster ended its season with a 3-8 mark, much improved from the 0-11 season a year ago.
"We certainly played better (tonight) than we had to end the season but we just couldn't sustain anything on offense and we had some penalties that really hurt," stated second-year head coach Matt Kettler. "But I'm proud of the kids that hung in there the entire year and battled. They helped us set the groundwork for turning the program around and becoming successful again."
Edmonson took the opening drive of the game 77 yards for a touchdown, highlighted by a 40-yard TD run from Richard Burton. That 7-0 lead stood throughout the first quarter as the Webster defense looked equal to the task for an upset.
An interception by Derrick Douglas halted one Wildcat drive at the WC 5-yard line. Webster also withstood a ECHS drive at the 29, batting away a pass in the end zone on a fourth-and-9 play.
Webster's best offensive possession of the first half came at the beginning of the second quarter. The 12-play drive started at the WC 29 and moved all the way to the EC 32. Clay Putman and Jamey Kennada both had strong runs in the series along with pass completions from Landon Harting to Putman and Laken Benson.
But the drive stalled as Edmonson held on a fourth-and-3, regaining possession at their own 34. The Wildcats quickly moved inside the 'red zone' and looked to score but another strong defensive stand by the Trojans turned Edmonson away on a fourth-and-3 the WCHS 17.
Webster missed a golden opportunity to tie the game late in the half after Zach Martin recovered a fumble at the ECHS 15. After a five-yard pass from Harting to Benson, the Trojans couldn't break through the Wildcat defense and were forced to try a 27-yard field goal from Kyle Welshans. The kick was block and the Wildcats had preserved the shutout with less than a minute remaining in the half.
"That was critical, not getting points on the scoreboard in that situation," Kettle stated. "We dropped a pass in the end zone and then let them sneak through and get a hand on the kick. If we score right there and got into halftime 7-7, it's a totally different game and I think we gain the momentum."
Webster managed just 68 total yards in the first half while the Wildcats earned 189 yards and dodged the bullet of two turnovers. Edmonson quickly snatched the momentum to open the second half with a scoring drive after another stalled WCHS possession. A 22-yard touchdown run from Burton pushed the lead to 14-0 on ECHS's first possession of the third quarter.
Webster's last scoring threat of the game came after that touchdown on an 81-yard drive that began on its own 15. The drive took up almost eight minutes of the period and traveled all the way to the inside the 10 yard line. A motion penalty pushed the Trojans back five yards and that proved to be costly. Edmonson stopped junior quarterback Landon Harting short of the first-down marker by just inches on a fourth-and-8 run.
"There's a big difference in fourth-and-3 and fourth-and-8. That motion penalty really hurt," Kettler added.
An interception by EC's Matt Caudill and return for a touchdown was called back on a penalty but the Wildcats tacked on their final score of the game on the possession as quarterback Josh Milam ran it in from 24 yards outs to extend the lead to 21-0 with 5:18 left in the game.
The Wildcat defense forced two more Webster turnovers in the final quarter to secure the shutout victory. It was Edmonson first playoff victory since 1998. Webster was limited to just 168 total yards in the contest while the Wildcats piled up 409 total yards, 365 coming on the ground.
Posted by Karen Orange - iSurf News
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